Analysis Of Brief, Loss And Bereavement

953 Words4 Pages
Occasions of grief, loss, death and trauma are profoundly life altering. In memoirs of grief and bereavement, we see this again and again. Often memoirs of grief do little to paint an intimate portrait of the person who has died rather, the focus is generally centred on the perspective of the narrator. Invariably memoirs provide an account of the profound way grief alters their perception and experience of life after. They capture the psychosocial transition and identity crisis of grief, the disequilibrium triggered by incomprehensible and senseless loss of life and the immense change that ultimately comes to pass when navigating unchartered waters of bereavement. A familiar response to the death of a person the bereaved was close to is to experience an identity crisis and loss of self. Adding weight to this argument is the widowed Baker, who writes that his identity was so enmeshed with his wife that he deeply feared losing his own sense of self in her death (as cited in Cosic, 2017, para. 31-32). He continues, writing: "I might have been the historian in the family, but she was the archivist, the source of all my memories” (as cited in Cosic, 2017, para. 31). The loss Baker endured when his wife died surpasses the loss of one life, in losing her, his life partner, he suffered a crippling blow to his identity as her husband, losing the life they had built together and in a sense, losing his past that was inextricably tied to her. Freud too, prescribed to a belief in identity loss resulting from grief. In his work on mourning and melancholia he said that “not only does the loss involve that of a love object a child, parent, friend, or partner but also the loss of one’s subjective identification with the love object” (as cited in G... ... middle of paper ... ...d and I began. My own death, I thought, was perhaps the price I had to pay for deeply loving another — a suttee of the self on his funeral pyre. All the safety and security, all the sense of common purpose, meaning, and identity vanished. (2012, p. 2). Hence, the story of grief memoirs often observes a drive to reconstruct an identity that has been profoundly shattered by loss. As Fowler identifies, “the grief memoirist… seeks to make sense of the loss and to compose a new post-loss identity while recovering at least part of the former self” (2007, p. 529). Transformation, arising from grief is central to memoirs of loss in the restructuring of identity that occurs as the bereaved adjust to an unfamiliar new world. In the words of Bray, it is “the human potential for growth in the struggle though loss” (2013, p. 890) that is explored most frequently in grief memoirs.
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