Growing up it was always said that death is supposed to be a celebration of ones life. But, we find ourselves mourning their lost rather than celebrating their life, and remembering all the good memories shared. In Kate Chopin story “Story of an hour” she gave us a detailed description of how Mrs. Mullard reacted to the news of her husband death. Likewise, in William Faulkner story “A rose for Emily” another detailed description was given of Emily’s reaction to her father and her husband death. Death is not something that people take lightly. So, in this essay we are going to firstly discuss death itself, then compare Mrs. Mullard and Emily’s reaction to death and, lastly I’m going to share my own reaction to death.
Death is defined as “The action or fact of dying or being killed; the end of the life of a person or organism.” Most people, have failed to recognize the full significance of the impact of death on others life. It is to painful to face our personal mortality directly without protecting ourselves, therefore, some form of defense formation against the painful realization of death and dying becomes essential. But, when someone you know dies, it can turn your life upside down. Although death is one thing we all will face one day it’s still not something that is easy to accept. Dealing with death, particularly the death of someone you love, is one of the most emotional and stressful experience you can go through. Everyone reacts differently to death, and it’s normal if you feel like you’re riding on a roller coaster of different emotions. But, when all that wears off, you’re likely to start grieving. There are five ways persons can grieve, they are: Nomads (denial, anger, confusion), Memorialists, Normalizers, Activists, and Seekers. Grief is a continuing process of mourning through which one learns to live with loss.
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Denial is one of the most common reaction to death. Often after learning of the death of a loved one, especially a sudden death, survivors experience a feeling of shock, numbness and disbelief that their loved one is gone. To be confronted by the death of a loved one is so horrible and devastating that many individuals are unable to comprehend the overwhelming news. Therefore, in order to process the shock, many survivors will immediately disbelieve that a loved one has died. Denial was displayed in William Faulkner story “A rose for Emily.” Emily attempted to exert power over death by denying the fact of death itself. Her bizarre relationship to dead bodies of the men she has loved (necrophilia) is revealed. First, when her father dies. Unable to admit that he has died, Emily clings to the only, yet extreme form of love she knew. She gave up his body reluctantly. Then, when her husband homer dies, Emily refuses to acknowledge it once again. Although this time, she herself was responsible for bringing about the death. In killing Homer, she was able to keep him near her. However, Homers lifelessness rendered him permanently distant. Emily’s disturbing ways shows that denial is used as a coping mechanism for death.
Meanwhile, while Emily is still in denial, Josphine is over at Louise house breaking the news about her husband death in “Story of an hour.” A railroad accident had occurred and Louise husband on the train at the time of this fatal tragic accident. After hearing this news, she reacted with obvious grief. According to the story “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister arms.” Although her reaction is perhaps more violent than other women’s it was a normal one. Alone, however, Louise Mullard begins to realize that she is now an independent woman. A realization that enlivens and excites her. Even though these are her private thoughts, she at first tries to squelch the joy she feels. When she finally does acknowledge this joy, she feels possessed by it and must abandon herself to it as the word “Free” escapes her lips. Lousie’s life offers no refuge for this kind of joy, and the rest of society will never understand why she celebrated her husband death rather than grieve. Extreme circumstances have given Louise a taste of this forbidden joy, and her thoughts are, in turn, extreme. She sees her life as being absolutely hers and her new independence as the core of her being. Unfortunately, Louise new independence was quickly yanked away from her by the return of her dead husband. The forbidden joy disappeared as quickly as it came, but the taste of it was enough to kill her. According to the story “She died of heart disease, of joy that kills.”
Losing a loved one is like having the rug swept from under you. We make plans for the day, and do not think twice about how those plans can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I never thought much about it myself, until I was faced with the shock, and undeniable truth of my classmate death. I felt as if I was paralyzed, I felt that if I moved it would be real. I just had this blank look on my face. I had no reaction at first and I wanted to deny it, all of it. I kept saying to myself, no it is a lie, they made a mistake. To my complete horror I was wrong. I was standing outside of the clinic along with my other classmates and teachers watching him through the window, laying lifeless on the bed. Hearing “He’s gone” pierced my heart like daggers of ice. Next thing I know, I was standing there sobbing like theirs no tomorrow. Seeing him lifeless on that hospital bed shattered my heart like broken glass. The tragedy never goes away. You just learn how to cope with it and keep moving on.