Tuesday, September 9, 2008

GRIEF EXHIBITIONISM


I understand that people mourn and grieve in different ways. Far be it from me to say that anyone’s method of coping with a profound loss of a loved one is strange or anomalous. However, I have to state for the record that if one of my loved ones dies in an automobile accident or by some other manner on a public roadway, I hereby and solemnly promise not to attach an array of stuffed animals and artificial flowers to the nearest utility pole. I will not staple up a picture of my loved one that, within a matter of days, will literally melt down the pole as it succumbs to the elements. I will not tack up a hand-lettered sign that I made with a permanent marker on a piece of construction paper that reads, “REST IN PEACE, BOO.”

I guess I just don't understand how folks find it cathartic to assemble a collection of stuffed animals and other memorabilia that will weather and mold within a few weeks and create an eyesore that will be allowed to remain for months or years because no one wants to be the one to disturb someone's public display of grief. That is just not the commemoration I would want to leave to someone I cared for deeply. Seeing dirty teddy bears, gnarled-looking dolls, and faded flowers permanently adhered to a pole would likely not assist me in the grieving process or allow me to conjure up positive images of my dearly departed. And if, God forbid, I should lose my life on a public roadway, I will come back and forever haunt every one of you who straps a janky stuffed animal or bargain-bin bouquet of plastic flowers to a pole in my honor. Oh yes, I will.

(The same applies for putting one of those ads in the paper with my picture and a sappy poem about your tears building a stairway to heaven to bring me back or some other missive publically lamenting your sorrow for me - - I can not be completely sure, of course, but I am fairly certain that once I am in heaven (God willing), I will probably not be reading the classified section of the Herald & Review. Pure speculation, of course.)

7 comments:

papadale said...

I try very hard not to stand in judgment of public displays of grief or affection, they both can get oh, so messy, that said, U B rite on girl!! sometimes, all that comes to mind is "What were they thinking?"

Uncle Doug said...

I'm with you on all of this. When I'm gone, I want all my family and friends to gather for pizza and beer and to tell funny/disgusting/odd stories about me. Then get rid of my ashes. No spending years on someone's mantel, thank you. And then, perhaps, a nice little plaque somewhere with a message like, "Doug's dead; there's no doubt about it".

Becky said...

Uncle Doug - Would a conga line at the wake seem inappropriate?

uncle doug said...

Conga line --- OK. Chicken dance --- never.

Julianne said...

I heart your Uncle Doug.

Julianne said...

My undying love for Uncle Doug aside, I disagree about this. Far be it for me to judge what loved ones do when they lose one of their own, especially a child. If it makes them feel better to take out a quarter page ad in the paper with some sappy poem on it or stake a 3 foot flower laden cross in the middle of the Interstate, so be it.

Michelle said...

Scott and I were completely amazed at the love of excess memorials at the cemeteries in Hawaii when we visited 5 years ago. I finally had to take some pictures of it and mysteriously, they didn't turn out. It also started to rain as soon as I started snapping pictures. I just wasted 5-10 minutes searching google for a picture of what we saw and I can't find one. The Gods are protecting the dead I guess. I know others must have taken pictures too.