A Personal Perspective on Birth and Death, by Robbie Davis-Floyd.
Click here to read this powerful, moving article. Not only is the author an eloquent wordsmith, but she flawlessly encapsulates what is the grief process.
Her daughter died as the result of a car accident — she was thrown from the car when it flipped several times. My father did as well. She writes of how she spent time with her daughter’s body at the hospital, even though it was badly cut, bruised, and broken. I wanted to see my father’s body, but they wouldn’t let me — said it would be better if I didn’t — better to remember him as he was in life, not how he looked in death. Sometimes I think they were right; sometimes I think they were wrong; most times I just don’t know. In a lot of ways, I envy Ms. Davis-Floyd for having had the opportunity to have that experience — that closure. In some ways, it seems to me as if my father isn’t really dead, but is just off on a long mysterious journey, that is the staple of soap-opera “back from the dead” plots. One day he was there, full of life; then he just disappeared, leaving only pictures and memories. Closed casket — could’ve been empty for all I knew; but I know he looked so bad that it wasn’t “suitable” for viewing.
I’m crying as I type this, though it’s been nearly ten years since his car wreck. What does this have to do with birth? Not much. The essay I linked to does — she uses birth imagery all throughout, in comparing birth to death. But what I’m typing now is just personal. Though I’ve never lost anyone close to me but my father — no children, before, during, or after birth — I believe this article may be of some benefit to some people who have. If nothing else, to realize that you are not alone in your grief.