January 16, 2014
This week has just been… Blah, I guess is the right word for it. I don’t know if it’s the stress from work. (Which is total stressing me out because my DD Committee did NOTHING while I was on leave. I don’t care that they admit it freely. It still leaves us MONTHS behind.) Or the fact that Sofia would have been four months old. Or what. I do know Paula is having a rough day, too. (Her son would have been four months old today.)
Or maybe it’s the news. Even feel good stories have that bit about the little girl dancing or, you know, whatever, and all I can think is that my little girl never got the chance. And then I start crying.
I have been thinking, however, about the Victorian mores on mourning. And while I think mourning and grieving are two different things, they were onto something. Today, the DSM-V doesn’t even consider grief as a reason not to diagnose a patient with depression. I could be clinically diagnosed as depressed because I’ve been sad for more than six weeks. But we know why I’m sad. I’m sad because my daughter died. I’m sad because I’m grieving. Doesn’t matter. In the Victorian era, I’d still be wearing full-mourning garb. It hasn’t been six months yet. And then I’d still be in mourning, albeit half-mourning. It was expected that people would grieve for several months following the death of a loved one.
This is not to say that the Victorian mores on mourning weren’t oppressive. But we’ve become so afraid of sorrow that today’s mores on mourning are oppressive in the opposite direction. It’s no longer okay to still be sad after six months. It’s no longer okay to still be grieving. (I’m speaking, of course, of society in general. I think that most friends would say that it’s okay to still be grieving. But those who don’t know a person who is grieving will respond with a “why aren’t you better yet?”)
Where did this come from? I’m afraid to say Downton Abbey. Or more specifically, the costuming. Mary is in mourning this season. Or rather, she is now in half-mourning. And while, as I already said, mourning and grieving are two different things, we really need to stop being afraid of either of those processes. Yes, this week has been kind of blah, but that’s simply because I’m human.