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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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I was raised with a very matter of fact understanding of death and tragedy. Maybe because close family friends were in the funeral home business. Maybe it's because I am Catholic and had an established grieving process (with open casket wakes). Maybe it was because there were tragedies in the family and I learned when young how to cope from the adults around me.

I always knew that everyone dies eventually, tragedy will happen but 'This too shall pass' as my father often said (and he was always right).

When there was an event in my life that led to the descending of 'grief counselors' they made me very uncomfortable. There was 'forced sharing' and an almost creepy voyerism along with people saying that I wasn't 'processing appropriately' because I didn't emote as they expected and wanted.

It seems that there is an industry arising that profits off tragedy and that can only happen if they make every tragedy worse and worse. I agree with you, maybe they are really just trying to be the hero and that is how they are profiting - through their own emotional satisfaction.

@Martha Mary:

When there was an event in my life that led to the descending of 'grief counselors' they made me very uncomfortable. There was 'forced sharing' and an almost creepy voyerism along with people saying that I wasn't 'processing appropriately' because I didn't emote as they expected and wanted.

I agree with you 100%

It's a symptom of our society in general, isn't Mary M.? When you think about it, the "stiff-upper lip," grace-under-pressure, dignity, whatever you want to call it, of previous generations, has disappeared almost all together. Now it's about who can belly-ache the loudest, what male politician can cry on camera, or what extreme, nonsensical claim can be made about an opponent. It's a competition to appear so violently emotional over any disagreement, large or small, in order to stir up the emotions and turn off the brains of the viewer/consumer. Not in anyway to denigrate victims or those who truly grieve, but the culture of hijacking those feelings for gain is, as you said, a coming industry.

My dad didn't have many regrets about rearing his children on military bases (he was a career AF officer), but he did comment once that my brother and sister and I got a skewed view of life because everyone around us was young and healthy. He didn't think it was good for us not to have any old people around or to see that old people die of natural causes.

When he was dying of cancer, we had a going-away party for him at the hospice, where we drank my aunt Pat's Old Fashioneds (my dad's favorite) and talked about everyone he would see in heaven.

We mourned when he died, but I didn't want to talk about my grief with a stranger. I had plenty of family and friends who had known my dad and mourned with me.

Sometimes the rescuers are tragedy whores. What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship, and Love by Carole Radziwill:

"Tragedy whores don't feel the foundation break apart beneath their feet - the reeling blast of emptiness, though to watch them you might think so. They're voyeurs. They feed like coffin flies on drama, embroiled in virtual grief and the illusion of heartbreak. They all have stories they want to tell, insist on telling, proclaiming their link to tragedy. Emotional rubberneckers.
"I didn't like them at twelve, and I hated them at thirty-five.
"Suzanne's funeral was the Super Bowl of tragedies for Suffern Junior High. The church was standing room only; the young parents sat bravely in the front row beside the spitting image of their dead daughter. Everyone wanted a view. When the young and pretty ones die, the tragedy whores get seats up front. They love the melodramatic story. That the deceased had an identical twin sister still walking around was a windfall."

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