Loss and Grieving
> 4/27/2006 8:25:08 AM

Loss of a spouse has traditionally been considered a devastating event. New studies have shown that it may not be as terrible to cope with as originally thought. A recent study actually shows some very interesting findings:

The Michigan team followed 1,500 couples over the age of 65, looked at the quality of their marriages and the effects on one after the other died.

Almost half said they had enjoyed their marriages but had been able to cope with the loss without much grieving.

Experts previously thought those with minimal grief lacked close attachment to their spouse or were in denial.

Deborah Carr, Rutgers University sociologist, who began the study while she was at the University of Michigan, said: "Forty-six per cent of the widows and widowers in this study reported they had satisfying marriages.

"They believed life is fair and they accepted that death is part of life." She added that many surviving spouses took great comfort in their memories.

"Taken together, these findings provide strong evidence that men and women who show this resilient pattern of grief are not emotionally distant or in denial, but are in fact well-adjusted individuals responding to the loss in a healthy way," Ms Carr said.

The findings are reported in a new book, Spousal Bereavement in Late Life, co-authored by psychologist Camille Wortman of the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

The research was funded by the National Institute of Aging in the US.

We believe, like the cited research, that the death of a spouse can be a difficult grief event but paradoxically the closer you were to your spouse the more you see the event as a natural progression of one’s life. The suffering of a loved one and their terminal illness is often met with “relief” that the pain is over. There is need to find purpose for the surviving spouse to go on. This “going on” is sometimes facilitated by therapy and medication. The “memories” of one’s spouse create a warmth around the death of the loved one and the sharing of them creates a debriefing that facilitates the process of “going on.”

We present here in video the poignant story of Alex and his struggle to go on as well as the memories he shares about his wife of 57 years. He represents the best about marriage and validates much about the cited research. He should serve as a model of living through in honor of your spouse. Don’t be surprised if you shed a tear but realize you cry for yourself and not for Alex.

We would also like to extend a special thank you to director David Licata for allowing us to use his beautiful film.  For more information about Tango Octogenario please check out the website here.


Going to share this with some colleagues. Very powerful!!!!
URL: http://drdeborahserani.blogspot.com/
Posted by: Deb 4/27/2006 12:55:08 PM

It seems that when people discuss grief the focus is on death. I was surprised by grief after my divorce--even though I was in an abusive relationship for over 14 years. Perhaps the focus now needs to shift to other losses . . .
URL: http://difficultpt.blogspot.com
Posted by: difficult patient 5/2/2006 7:54:47 AM

That's a really good point. Discussions on grief do focus very prominently on death, but there are other losses and circumstances that can be causes of grief--often intense grief. Truly, any mental anguish is defined as grief. I guess I would say, that if anything, the deployment of this word is merely a matter of semantics. Grief, depression, sadness, anguish, melancholy: these are all words that can mean virtually the same thing. As Alex demonstrates, it's how we handle these emotions that define us.
URL: http://www.treatmentonline.com/treatments.php
Posted by: Jon 5/2/2006 10:06:56 AM

Absolutely beautiful film, so very very poignant. When you take care someone's partner in the ER, you don't always have the opportunity to see, or know them as they are in their "regular lives". This will help me remember there is a history behind that relationship and that the partner/spouse also needs support while the patient is going through their illness.Bailar es vivir! How true!Thanks for sharing the video.
URL: emergiblog.blogspot.com
Posted by: Kim McAllister 5/4/2006 4:02:07 AM

Hi, Looking at tis on paper I can see the answer should be black and white. But when you feel you care for someone and love the life you are creating and the person you are sharing with actions are someties not so easy to follow through.For anyone who has gone through this or has been on one side or the other I would aprreciate some help with this matter please, any feed back would be greatly appreciated.Last November my partners wife committed suicide. we met in Jan. and began dating in Feb. By Mar he wanted to get married and share this with his family. I suggested we tell them in April we were dating and give them time to adjust. He is 55 I am 45. We both have 2 kids in their 20's. His kids were shocked and devastated. We still as of almost July have not met or spoken. My kids are fine with it. I am living with him amd we have made wedding plans forlater this year. His friends and my friends are in support. The problem is....He is hesitating on giving my an engagement ring until he tells his kids, he feels they are not ready to hear about it, he wanted to move his wife's tings out of the bedroom months ago but his daughter said she was not wanting to do that so he is waiting for her to be ready. So all her personal belongings are still in our bedroom (which seems like their bedroom) and the other day he referred to his late spouse to my former husbad and my children, as his wife.Now I get it that this has been fast, but I feel like he is in denial about being engaged more or less to another woman. I feel like cold water has beed thrown on my face and woken me upo to the fact that he is still in deep mourning and I have no business in that house nor has he any business asking someone to marry him when his heart is not totally in it. I know he cares about me nad loves me a great deal...and I think he just doesnt want to be alone. I dont want to be a crutch. Move? Stick it out? Thanks for your help, Laurell
Posted by: laurell 6/21/2007 7:45:18 AM

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