Grief's Pain - Do You Wish You Could
Rent a Mourner?
By Harriet Hodgson
When there are big jobs to be done -- power washing the
deck, tilling a garden, painting a house -- Americans
rent big equipment. The job gets done quickly and the
equipment is returned. Recovering from the deaths of
four loved ones was a big job and I wished I could rent
a mourner, someone to feel pain for me while I pulled
Two loved ones, my daughter and father-in-law, died the
same weekend. The losses stunned me. Six weeks later my
brother died and I really wished I could rent a mourner.
Then, just as I was starting to emerge from the grief
haze, my former son-in-law died. My bright life turned
Renting a mourner may sound silly, but if you are
grieving you understand my feelings. You wish the pain
of grief would go away. You wish you didn't have to do
your grief work. You wish you were done with grief.
Wishful thinking, however, is not a healthy way to cope.
In fact, avoiding emotional pain can be harmful.
The University of Wisconsin in Madison explains the pain
of grief in a Website article, "Good Grief: Healing from
the Pain of Loss." Many people misunderstand grief, the
article points out, and try to deny their pain. "But
feeling the pain helps the person to cope with the loss
and return to normal ways of living."
Mourning is a complicated process, according to the
article, and it cannot be rushed.
Beverly Chantalle McManus describes grief's pain ad
grief work in an Open to Hope Foundation article, "When
Does the Pain of Grief Ease?" Her article was written in
response to a widow's question. Instead of trying to
avoid pain, McManus thinks we should lean into it, even
wallow in it, to give a "broken heart its due respect.
The only reason we hurt so much, she continues, is
because we love so much.
Peter Griffiths writes about grief's pain in a "Daily
Herald" column, "Grief Pain Seems Unbearable." He says
the greatest pain in life is grief. "The intensity of
this experience can't be adequately expressed in words,"
writes Griffiths. People should not discount the pain of
grief, nor should the compare one person's grief to
another's. According to Griffiths, it is important for
mourners to cry, yell, wail or scream.
I have twin grandchildren and their parents were killed
in separate car crashes. Their father's death made them
orphans. The county court appointed my husband and me as
their guardians and concervators. Grieving while raising
teenagers is the biggest challenge of my life. Though I
cried buckets, I did not have the luxury of yelling,
wailing, or screaming. I didn't have the time, either.
So I rented mourner and it was me. You may do the same.
For we are the only ones who can truly mourn our loved
ones. Thankfully, the pain of grief lessens with each
passing day. We talk about our loved ones without
sobbing. Memories are comforting and we start to laugh
again. I can laugh, and you will too, about the idea of
renting a mourner.