Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The grief that comes with aging

Based on: Halligan, M. (2001). Lapping. In The fog garden : a novel (pp.1-8). Crows Nest, NSW. : Allen and Unwin.

Growing older increases the risk of experiencing loss. 

The movement of the mind is like the lapping of waves. Some memories are intensified while others are erased; like the waves which ebb and flow, creating and removing, patterns on the sand. When one is grieving, one may observe commonplace activities in great detail. Halligan, after the death of his wife, was exquisitely sensitive to the sounds of the birds around his house and to the activities of children playing on the beach. His memory sharpened the images of his wife greeting him with a kiss every time he returned home and there is a painful intensity in the way he remembered always being comforted by the sight of his wife’s car even though it was of a colour that he detested. 

Grief can also be externalised. Halligan takes the large cathedral he used to frequent with his wife to be symbolic of the enormity of his grief. The analogy is apt.  Grief can be as complex as a cathedral with all its intricate sculptures and carvings and grief, like the cathedral, has a way of hushing and silencing interactions between people.  

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