Tag: Grief

Miscarriage and Memory-Making: An Uneasy Relationship

When the Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman wrote about her miscarriage in early 2017, many readers praised the fact that this common, yet woefully misunderstood experience had been so candidly aired. Miscarriages do not elicit the type of kindly curiosity that ‘successful’ reproductive experiences often do, such as the pregnancy revelation, the swelling bump, or the… Read more →

Dutch Monuments for Stillborn Children

“He has been dumped.” Mrs. van Melsen tells me these words as we look down at the inscription on the monument at the graveyard near Sint Pieter’s church in the Dutch city of Maastricht that reads: “Silenced indeed, but never forgotten.” And then Mrs. van Melsen tells me the story of the stillbirth of her… Read more →

“Shock from Loss”: The Reality of Grief in the First World War

On October 24, 1918, fifty-eight-year-old Elizabeth was admitted to the City of London Mental Hospital by her husband.1 He stated that she had been suffering for the past fourteen months with “shock from loss of her two sons in the War.”2 He further explained that her younger son had been killed in action, and her… Read more →

A Historian’s Trip to the Graveyard

bardo, noun (In Tibetan Buddhism) a state of existence between death and rebirth, varying in length according to a person’s conduct in life and manner of, or age at, death. Origin: Tibetan bár-do, from bar “interval” + do “two.”1 For someone who spends their time obsessing over history, I don’t read much historical fiction. Given… Read more →

Option Whatever: The Corporatization of Grief in Sheryl Sandberg’s Option B

Two years ago, my husband Clayton was murdered. That summer, I wrote a lot in my journal. I felt angry at how so many people reacted to Clayton’s death. I wanted to memorialize our memories together. I wanted to remember through writing. I snarkily told my family I was going to publish my own how-to… Read more →

More Than Blood

We awoke to news of the carnage in Orlando. I had slept in — the first long, good night’s sleep after a hell of a week: a funeral, my 45th birthday, graduation, another funeral, and a graduation party. I woke up refreshed, but not for long. Several friends had already texted or sent me Facebook… Read more →

Enforcing Death Rituals after Miscarriage is Just Plain Cruel

The Indiana legislature claims it wants to protect unborn children and their parents. Last week Governor Mike Pence gave his blessing to a new bill aimed primarily at restricting abortion but also addressing miscarriage, explaining, “I sign this legislation with a prayer that God would continue to bless these precious children, mothers and families.” But… Read more →

We Grow Accustomed to the Dark

Unless we’re toiling away in an English PhD program, most of us don’t pause in our daily lives to read poetry — to read anything closely, really. We might scrutinize a job offer or rental contract, or devour a Facebook feed. Seldom, however, do we allow ourselves to pause over a verse, to wade into… Read more →

Premature Birth and the Right to Grieve

There are quite a few ways to experience loss of pregnancy. When I was expecting my own daughter, no woman ever warned me about what could go wrong during pregnancy and delivery. I was told to be wary of sharing the news of pregnancy until the end of the first trimester, but also that I… Read more →

Anne Bradstreet’s Elegies for her Grandchildren

Unless we’re toiling away in an English PhD program, most of us don’t pause in our daily lives to read poetry– to read anything closely, really. We might scrutinize a job offer or rental contract, or devour a Facebook feed. Seldom, however, do we allow ourselves to pause over a verse, to wade into a… Read more →