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01 October 2006 @ 11:23 am
Let's celebrate acceptance!  
Back to the letter in Salon from the woman whose friends weren't able to support her in preparing for her potential death--another good response:


Why won't the LW be unrealistic and ridiculously over-optimistic?

When I read the letter, and the subsequent LW's postings, I had several thoughts:

It is difficult for most people to accept their own inevitable demise. I wonder if the LW's acceptance of death is threatening to some people. They need her to deny so that they can keep denying.

As others have pointed out, I perceive our culture as celebrating the person who defies all odds and never quits. The person who accepts that he or she cannot do something, or can do it only at so much cost that it's not appealing, and moves past this does not inspire TV movies or stories in Reader's Digest.

Something else though for the LW to ponder: our culture also celebrates the friends who through inspiring stories and bossiness push the poor ill, discouraged, handicapped victim to some sort of success. The friends who perform the much more difficult (I think) task of listening and accepting do not inspire TV movies, etc, either. And I think there's this myth of the perfect thing that a friend can say that will make everything magically OK. You see this when a bereaved person has to hear over and over that their loved one died because it was God's will, that he/she is with God now and so on like maybe the bereaved will perk right up and go "Gosh! You're Right! I'm Not Upset Now!". My guess is that the friends are laboring under this delusion, trying to find the right phrase to keep the LW going because if he or she said just the right thing, it would magically breath new life into the LW's resolve to life. I do not want to denigrate the LW's friends in any way, but it is probably hard to realize that one is not going to perform the heroic and slightly dramatic job of Inspiring Friend to Stay Alive and is needed for the less dramatic job of Listening and Dealing With It.

LW: I admire the way you are handling the situation and the way you are handling the comments and occasional criticism by others.

-- psycprof