Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, tends to get a bad rap. People have called her "crazy" and point out that she spent some time in an insane asylum after her husband's death.
The modern bereaved parents in the exhibit, who are anonymous, describe a society that is in some ways even more uncomfortable with expressions of grief than it was 150 years ago.“I think society expected me to just move on,” says the mother of Jacob, who was murdered when he was 6. “I think it is still a surprise for some people that we still talk about her so freely,” said the mother of Abby, an only child who died at age 17 five years ago. “I think they are confused as to why we are still talking about her, assuming reflecting on her life, and death, only accentuates the pain.”[Callie Hawkins, a bereaved mother who works at the museum and helped to create the exhibit] encountered this discomfort when she presented the project to some colleagues. “Isn’t it going to make visitors sad?” they worried.Yes, it will, Hawkins replied. And that’s a meaningful experience.
There but for the grace of God and about 70 years difference in attitudes toward mental health go I.I know that just about all of us, from time to time, feel misunderstood by the people around us, and yes, there are days when I feel like I'm going out of my mind. I've even consulted a therapist from time to time. But so far, nobody's tried to commit me to an insane asylum. At least, not yet...
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While writing this post, I was reminded that today is International Bereaved Mothers Day. I don't have a lot to write on the subject, but wanted to acknowledge that "regular" Mother's Day can be difficult for those of us who never got to bring a baby home (to the point that I refer to that "other" day as "Voldemort Day" on this blog -- That Day Which Will Not Be Named, lol). Be kind to yourselves today, this week and next Sunday!