Death + the Web Grief + Mourning

Grief Revisited

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A recent article in the New Yorker entitled “Good Grief”, by Meghan O’Rourke, delves into the subject of grief and grieving and asks the question “Is there a better way to be bereaved?”

The article revisits Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’ seminal work on the subject and seeks to examine the “stages of grief” in relation to new research on grief and mourning. The new research suggests that

Grief and mourning don’t follow a checklist; they’re complicated and untidy processes, less like a progression of stages and more like an ongoing process–sometimes one that never fully ends.

Interesting as well is that,

Searching or yearning, crops up in nearly all the contemporary investigations of grief. A 2007 study by Paul Maciejewski found that the feeling that predominated in the bereaved subjects was not depression or disbelief or anger but yearning. Nor does belief in heavenly reunion protect you from grief. As [another reasearcher, Bonnano says] “We want to know what has become of our loved ones.”

Popular culture is full of references to the ubiquitous five stages of grief as posited by Kubler-Ross. The latest issue of Adbusters, entitled “The Post PostModernism”, states that

Our upcoming issue explores the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance — and personal and planetary demise. Which stage are you in? Send your deepest insights and wildest notions to

Or this article from Reason regales us with

Therapists looking to study the five stages of grief—denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, in that order—need look no further than Washington Democrats struggling to come to grips with the fact that the health care overhaul they spent nearly a year crafting is now dead.

And then there is this icky YouTube video of a mother who taped her young daughter as she was told that her goldfish has died. The mother crafted a video of her daughter going through the “stages of grief” and set it all to a bad soundtrack comprised of a shitty song and the TV blaring in the background. Seriously? It reminds me of the mother who Tweeted her grief hours after her son’s drowning death, a questionable and hotly debated topic of late. However, in the case of the mother Tweeting, she was the one grieving in her own way; the “goldfish mother” is choosing to film her daughter as she is grieving over her beloved pet. Good grief!

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