Speaking Up About Grief

I am going to clue you guys in on a little secret:  here at WYG we talk about grief and loss.  A lot.  In the rest of our society?  Not so much . . .

Ok, this is not exactly a secret.  Death and grief are topics that simply make a lot of people uncomfortable.  When I say a lot of people, I mean almost everyone.  So we don’t talk about it.  Which is just a mean, vicious cycle, because by not talking about it we all become collectively more uncomfortable.  You lose someone and you feel isolated, alone, and crazy.  You feel like people don’t want you to talk about it, like people want you to get over it, like no one else gets it.  Lies lies lies!  In real life thousands of people are right there with you, all keeping their big mouths shut because they’re worried about making other people uncomfortable.

Then someone speaks up — someone who people know, who has an audience, who people listen to.  They speak up and acknowledge grief.  Why?  Who knows.  Where do they find the courage?  No idea.  But they do.  And it is amazing.  Their voice carries.  They send the message that grief is normal.  It sucks, but it happens.  They send the message that suffering in silence and ignoring grief isn’t making us better.  So what better way to spend this Friday than sharing three of our favorite big-names who have spoken up about grief, depression, and other tough topics.

Chelsea Handler

Chelsea talks about the loss of her brother and her mother.  She opens up about the difficulties of her grief first as a child, then later about losing her mother and saying goodbye.   We are sure it wasn’t an easy topic to talk about on national TV, but we are so glad she did.

The Bloggess

So, I am not going to lie, I am obsessed with The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson.  Obsessed.  If I listed all the reasons you guys may worry I am a stalker (I am not, I swear, but if anyone knows how I can make Jenny my best friend in real life please email me).   The Bloggess has more than 2 million visitors a month (because she is hilarious and smart and insightful and honest and if you don’t follow her blog you should).  What makes her truly amazing is that she speaks up about the stuff so many are trying their hardest to hide or avoid — depression, anxiety, self-harm, suicide, and the fact that sometimes you have to work to be furiously happy.   She covers all that between posts about small, taxidermied animals, a metal chicken named Beyonce, her haunted dollhouse, feuds with William Shatner, her cats, and Wil Wheaton.  Check out Jenny talking depression here.  Then check out her recent post on the loss of a friend to suicide.  Then cheer yourself up by checking out her amazing travelling red dress project.  And make yourself a Depression Lies bracelet.  Thanks to Jenny for talking about the stuff people don’t always want to talk about and reminding us that we are not alone.

Photo of Jenny on Katie Couric’s show talking about the travelling red dress.  Not a video, sorry!

the bloggess and katie couric

Joan Didion

I read this review of Joan Didion’s recent book, Blue Nights (about the death of her daughter) that complained that Didion dropped names too much throughout the book.  I found the irony of this incredible, because what I love about Didion, beyond her honest voice, incredible writing, and insight into her own grief, is that her willingness to write Blue Night and the Year of Magical Thinking were reminders that grief touches everyone.   Joan Didion wrote an incredible personal account of the loss of her husband and people loved it because it was real.  She is wealthy and famous and her grief is as real as the next person’s.  She doesn’t give us advice or answers.  She gives a glimpse into her grief.  One of these days I will get around to writing a review of both her books.   For now I will just say, thanks to Joan Didion for her honesty and her incredible writing.  Thanks for writing an honest book on grief that was amazing enough to win the National Book Award.  Thanks for a book that touched millions and has allowed people to see that grief touches even the rich and the famous in the same deep, dark way it touches the rest of us.


See Also:  Speaking Up About Grief Part II – Anderson Cooper, Lisa Nieme Swayze and Beyonce

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April 12, 2017

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