Posted by John Chittock on November 16, 2001 at 13:49:36:
I left a brief message on this site some weeks ago when my wife was ill, but she has since died after a
very long and wonderful marriage. On looking at this site again I have been overwhelmed by the extent
of grief that is out there, and with so many reflecting just what I am going through. The experience is
quite indescribable - the pain, the sense of complete devastation, the impossibility of believing that your
loved one is no longer there. It is the most terrible thing that no one can imagine until they suffer it. We
regularly read or see on television stories of bereavement, of suffering of those who lost husbands and
wives on 11 September, or in conflicts of war - yet until you lose someone yourself, it tends to wash over
you; you think you know, you think you understand their suffering, you sympathise, but only when it
strikes in your own life can the dreadful agony of this really be recognised. In consequence, I feel that
bereavement is not regarded adequately in our society; it is the most dreadful thing that can happen to
anyone, yet it tends to be looked upon as one of those inevitable things in life without much further thought,
care or serious attention despite the kindness so often heaped upon the sufferers.
I am appalled at the extent and depth of suffering that I read on this website, and now I understand it
much more than I might have done before I lost my own dear wife. Something more should be done,
or attempted, to try to help. Just reading the words of other sufferers can, in the end, make you even
more depressed - discovering for example that your suffering will never completely go away.
So I have a practical suggestion. I note that this website seems mostly aimed at people in the USA, and
I am in London, England. But what I suggest I hope will be of interest to all, anywhere, albeit I hope that
the most active responses may initially come from others in the UK.
We need a website that is organised to cover the problem in a very comprehensive and helpful way (due
respect to this one for which we should all be grateful). A site that carries links to organisations, has
word-searchable sections categorised for specific situations, possibilities for social groups to come
together via the website and actually meet, a data base maybe on all aspects of bereavement and
those straws at which we clutch such as signs from our departed ones/faith/solid advice on coping with
the belongings of our lost ones, near-death experiences, etc.
If there is someone out there, ideally in the first instance in the UK, who is a website designer, thinks this
a good idea, is willing to do that part of it, as a writer/journalist/editor I can provide some related
expertise and we'd need a researcher. I would like such a site to also provide the means for widows
and widowers to meet each other (albeit initially in the UK but it can have geographical choices
designed into it). For meetings, even the occasional dinner, there can be a questionnaire to group
people by age bands (or indifference to age bands!), cultural backgrounds and interests, etc - inviting
and matching submissions from any who wish to attend organised social events. I even imagine
dinners in London where say 12 widows and 12 widowers - carefully matched from such website
submissions - may be held; they would surely provide some comfort and rare pleasure, maybe
one or two might leave at the end arm in arm?
If there is someone out there who feels strongly that this is worth pursuing, I will certainly help with my
own editorial expertise and maybe some seed money where needed. But only if you have a strong
commitment to doing this. It would require enthusiasm and a lot of hard work organising it all (but
maybe that would help in your grief - Carl Jung said "most of my patients are not sick but aimless").
It could become quite something. Let me know if you agree - we would have to meet initially in London
to discuss it (or even Suffolk where I also have a location).
Meanwhile, I join the long list of you all suffering, just wondering if I will ever get through to tomorrow,
finding it increasingly difficult to have any faith in the after life or the help of God - now I pray when in
the past this was a rare thing - but there has been nothing forthcoming to nourish my hope that my
dearest one is up there waiting for me. In the end, there is a risk of sinking into cynicism. I feel my
life has ended - we worked together for many decades, it was a charmed life, a wonderful marriage,
and I was blessed with the most dedicated and caring wife; what else is left now? Yes, we all need
help, desperately. The founder of Kodak, George Eastman, committed suicide in his 70s and left a note
saying "my work is done why wait?"; I feel like that since my dearest wife and I worked together - yet
Eastman wasn't even married so had suffered no loss there!
At least we are not alone, although ironically we only at the moment meet anonymously on the internet,
which is not good enough is it?
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