“Grieving is as natural as breathing, for if we have lived and loved, surely we will grieve. . . .”
Nancy Cobb meets death in the most vital of places–in the lives of everyday people–and in doing so has found a way to infuse this darkest subject with light. Her candor and refreshing perspective make the deaths of those she has loved–and death itself–a subject to explore rather than to avoid.
Cobb’s personal experiences become a point of departure for what amounts to a longer conversation about loss. In telling stories about encounters with grief, Cobb opens us up to our own experiences, and she encourages us to accept and honor the “divine intersections” where the living meet the dying.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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|Title of History eBook: In Lieu of Flowers|
|Release Date: 12-18-2007|
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|Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group|
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In Lieu of Flowers
Curiosity underscores every stage of life. Without it we would be a pretty dull bunch. Yet when it comes to death and grief, even the most curious among us clam up.
Carl Jung believed that "the negation of life's fulfillment is synonymous with the refusal to accept its ending. Not wanting to die," he wrote, "is identical with not wanting to live." In The Healing Heart, Norman Cousins concludes that "death is not the enemy; living in constant fear of it is." How can the rest of us become more accepting of their wise conclusions?
Perhaps, quite simply, by listening to our children.
Recently, I met a woman whose husband had died several years ago, just days after his fortieth birthday. Betsy said she and her husband had been "soul mates" from the moment they met until his death ten years later. They could communicate almost, she said, "without talking." And so it did not seem at all strange for her, as he lay dying of a brain tumor in the bedroom of their home, to curl up beside him "in spoon position," as was their habit, and ask him to give her a sign.
"You mean after I am dead?" he asked, his voice, a whisper.
"Yes," she said, "so I know that you're safe."
"But what if I can't? What if I'm not able to?"
"You'll be able to," she said. "I just have to believe you will."
He died a week later. After his body had been taken away, Betsy's two-year-old son came into their bedroom with her father, who was quite close to the little boy. This was a child who, Betsy said, "was an observer, a child who, save a word here and there, barely talked at all."
Suddenly, Betsy remembered...