I watched the season finale of the show Survivor last night and one of the women, “Sugar” as they called her, had lost her father 6-7 months prior to the taping of the show. Throughout the season it was not uncommon to see her crying, sometimes many times a day, for what appeared to be all sorts of reasons—she was a wellspring of tears. However, she regularly talked about the recent loss of her father and how it was affecting her.
But despite her openness about her grief, what amazed me was how completely intolerant her tribe mates were of her tears. They appeared to have absolutely no understanding of the bereavement process and showed utter disrespect and even contempt for her emotions that laid raw at the surface.
Of course, her grief over losing her dad was just one of many dynamics at play in the show, and I’m sure there could be much to say about her choice to go on the show during such a tender time in her life, but as I turned off the TV I was deeply saddened by our society’s inability to even minimally tolerate, much less offer understanding for the grief experience.
This show perpetuated one of the greatest fears of people who are deeply grieved—the fear that others don’t want anything to do with your sorrow. They don’t want you to rain on their parade. They don’t want you to remind them that life can be hard. They probably don’t mind if you grieve, they just don’t want to experience it with you.
Hence, grief isolates; our deepest, rawest, and most vulnerable places are not welcomed.
Watching Survivor last night reminded me how grateful I am for you, the people who have been following my blog…reading about my deepest, rawest, most vulnerable places, welcoming my sorrow into your lives, and regularly experiencing pain with me. I may not even know many of you personally, but it is truly a gift to this grieving mother. You may not realize how much your readership is one of my saving graces. Thank you for helping me not feel so isolated!