Remembering

Stacie M. Hurrle


Background

As I talked to Yvette, I could see sadness in her eyes. A little over a month ago she lost her grandfather. Before him was her other grandfather, her cousin, a great uncle, and a high school friend. Loss is obviously nothing new to Yvette, but I do not think it is something that ever gets easier.

Yvette is 22 year old, single female. She is a senior in college and is studying Criminal Justice. She is a lesbian of German Catholic descent. Pretty interesting mix I would say.

Interview

1. What kind of traditions and rituals do you have to commemorate a death?

"We have a funeral or showing. Then we go out to dinner or something."

>>What do you talk about?<<

"We just talk like we normally do, if the deceased comes up we will talk about it, but it is not the focus of our conversation."

2. What are some beliefs you hold that offer comfort in time of loss?

"Everything will always be okay. The pain will eventually go away. When one door shuts, another one opens. It helps if you can remember times you had with them."

3. What about beliefs that could add to the pain of loss?

"Never see that person again, never talk to them again, it is not fair that they died. I guess just a lot of selfish thoughts. I fear that I will never get over the pain of their death."

4.What are your beliefs about life after death?

"There is something after death. I believe in reincarnation.

5. How would you define healthy and unhealthy grief?

Healthy: "Mourn for the person and allow yourself time."

Unhealthy: "I believe grief is unhealthy if you cannot function in your daily life or if you do not grieve at all."

6. What is the relationship between your private grief and you public mourning?

"In public mourning you can do what needs to be done ever day. Private grief is the sadness you carry within you. Privately, you always have a little sadness inside."

7. How useful do you think group support is in facilitating successful resolution of grief?

"I think it would be really helpful. IT would give you a chance to be with other people who have dealt with the same kind of loss because friends might not really be able to understand. Talking about the loss would be a way to heal, to overcome."

What I Learned about Myself from the Interview

I am a 20-year-old, college student majoring in Human Development. I come from a middle class family. I am German and was raised Catholic.

Culturally, I do not have much to go on. IF I was still Catholic I could relate grief with that. As it is now, I have never had someone really close to me die. Talking to Yvette made me realize that it would be really had for me to get over a death because I really do not have a belief about life after death. I think that would make things a little easier.


Return to Cultural Interviews


Written for Grief in a Family Context, HPER F317, Spring semester, 1997.
(C) 1997, Stacie Hurrle. All rights reserved. Interested parties may contact her through the course instructor, at gilbertk@indiana.edu.