By Jeanne Safer
Read Online or Download Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life--for the Better PDF
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Extra info for Death Benefits: How Losing a Parent Can Change an Adult's Life--for the Better
The Birth of Hope Back in New York that night I found myself wandering around my apartment, gazing hungrily at the things that reminded me of her—the Navajo rugs, the old hat mold she used to display as a 0465072118-Safer:Layout 1 2/19/08 1:20 PM Page 35 My Death Benefit 35 sculpture, the quirky prints and African hangings—the atmosphere I had created, a combination of our sensibilities, that owed so much to her. They made me feel a little less bereft because they were imbued with her spirit. Though I felt surrounded by her presence in their presence, the universe seemed diminished without her.
Whether we were estranged or inseparable from our parents (or a combination of both) in their lifetimes, their deaths leave us truly alone—and truly in charge—for the first time. Parent loss gets much less attention than it deserves, but the positive effects of parent loss get practically none at all. Personal distress accounts for some of the blindness of researchers who are themselves anticipating or experiencing the very losses they would be investigating.
There must be some powerful reason why I considered the most disturbing of my own reactions “objective” fact, exempt from my own fundamental belief. This perverse and frightening version of the unquestionable Voice of Authority had all the hallmarks of the way my mother operated; she had to be implicated. When I looked for an explanation, I discovered why I assumed that nobody could console me. It was my way to preserve my mother as the center of my universe. She wanted desperately to provide basic security, but she couldn’t do it because she’d never had it; I doubt that her own mother had ever had it, either.