Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Modern Loss: Vilomah

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and today, the 15th, has been designated a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or the death of a newborn.

We asked the Modern Loss community what words and phrases they use to illustrate this experience. The responses included "shattered," "homesick," "heartbreaking," and "searching." By far, though, the word with the strongest resonance is "vilomah," Sanskrit for "against a natural order." And, of course, this is the perfect term to describe the shattered dream of an eternal bond.

On this day and all others, we are sending love to all the vilomahs in our lives (and chances are great that you know more of them than you think). In this space, you will always be seen, heard and validated, and your lost loves will be missed by us all.


From Modern Loss

Friday, October 11, 2019

Jack Hamilton Says The Righteous Gemstones is a Comedy About Grief

The most hilarious and unexpectedly moving death scene you will see on television this year opens the season finale of The Righteous Gemstones, which airs Sunday night on HBO. The episode begins with a flashback to the death of beloved wife and mother Aimee-Leigh Gemstone, an unbearably sad moment for those present (her husband and three adult children) that rapidly descends into destructive chaos. The best slapstick has always been rooted in pain and a sense of cosmic injustice, and the scene, in all its uproarious brutality, finds the show’s characters processing death in a way that will feel familiar to anyone who’s lost a loved one: by flipping out and breaking shit.

Underlying the satire of megachurch Christianity is a hilarious but poignant portrait of a family coping with loss.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Linda Pasten on Grief

NOTE: Elizabeth Kubler-Ross said that there were five stages of dealing with your own death: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. But they are most often used in discussions of mourning, grief, and loss of loved ones, as in this touching poem from Linda Pasten, called The Five Stages of Grief



The night I lost you
someone pointed me towards
the Five Stages of Grief
Go that way, they said,
it's easy, like learning to climb
stairs after the amputation.
And so I climbed.
Denial was first.
I sat down at breakfast
carefully setting the table
for two. I passed you the toast---
you sat there. I passed
you the paper---you hid
behind it.
Anger seemed so familiar.
I burned the toast, snatched
the paper and read the headlines myself.
But they mentioned your departure,
and so I moved on to
Bargaining. What could I exchange
for you? The silence
after storms? My typing fingers?
Before I could decide, Depression
came puffing up, a poor relation
its suitcase tied together
with string. In the suitcase
were bandages for the eyes
and bottles sleep. I slid
all the way down the stairs
feeling nothing.
And all the time Hope
flashed on and off
in detective neon.
Hope was a signpost pointing
straight in the air.
Hope was my uncle's middle name,
he died of it.
After a year I am still climbing, though my feet slip
on your stone face.
The treeline
has long since disappeared;
green is a color
I have forgotten.
But now I see what I am climbing
towards: Acceptance
written in capital letters,
a special headline:
Acceptance
its name is in lights.
I struggle on,
waving and shouting.
Below, my whole life spreads its surf,
all the landscapes I've ever known
or dreamed of. Below
a fish jumps: the pulse
in your neck.
Acceptance. I finally
reach it.
But something is wrong.
Grief is a circular staircse.
I have lost you.

Monday, September 30, 2019

D.C.’s assisted suicide law leaves much to the imagination

[T]he lack of transparency in this report of the first full year of the D.C. assisted suicide program, as well as the lack of participation, call into question both its efficacy and its necessity. Any such program is susceptible to exploitation of vulnerable individuals, erroneous estimates of the end of life and the potential for abuse by those who perceive that an early death is always cost-effective compared to the hefty price tag that often accompanies continuing care. For these reasons and others, the D.C. Council should reconsider its obligations and its assisted suicide program. Palliative care benefits all of those patients dying in the district, not just a paltry but privileged few.

DC's Assisted Death Law has inadequate documentation

Friday, September 20, 2019