<![CDATA[ JOHN THE BOOKMAN - The Bookman\'s Musings]]>Sat, 28 Nov 2015 00:09:29 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[UNADDRESSED AND UNVALIDATED GRIEF]]>Sun, 08 Nov 2015 14:09:08 GMThttp://johnthebookman.weebly.com/the-bookmans-musings/unaddressed-and-unvalidated-griefAside from the world of books, bookselling, authors, and publishing, there is also another subject about which I am passionate. For reasons which will become clear, I am preoccupied with the lifelong effects of unaddressed and unacknowledged grief related to childhood loss of a parent (particularly a boy’s traumatic early loss of his father).

If only those had around me had shown an openness and honesty about death when I was seven! At that tender age, my 48-year-old father died of a heart attack on a Sunday, and I was back in school the next day, believing that the onus was on me to pretend that nothing of any importance had happened. From that blustery Sunday afternoon in March onwards, nobody – my mother, neighbors, teachers, the local Anglican minister – spoke to me with directness and honesty about this traumatic event. Sure, a few people might have bandied about some guarded euphemisms or ‘fairy tales’, but nothing more. Nor did I attend the funeral. Darkness had befallen me, and cast a pall over my life, but I had to ‘keep up appearances’, and appear to be (for my mother’s benefit) the rosy-cheeked boy who felt no pain.

In later years, I grappled with alienation, corrosive anger, substance abuse, severe depression, suicidal thoughts, and much dangerous and impulsive behaviour. At just short of the age of 50, I was saved through intensive psychotherapy and grief counselling, and will be taking anti-depressants for the rest of my life. Such were the consequences for me of traumatic childhood loss of a parent and unaddressed grief.