is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities in the field of death,
dying and transition for over twenty years. She invented this field using thanatological
literature from folklore as an area of legitimate discourse in the medical
community, after seeing walls in concentration camps in Maidanek filled with
pictures of butterflies drawn by children who had lost their families, homes,
schools, and everything. She died on August 24, 2004 but her Stage Theory lives
on forever, even as it points to our lack of knowledge about, and, by
extension, our inability to care for, the dying.
The death of a
loved one can impact every aspect of our lives. Everyday routines are disrupted
and may be a constant shrill remind of those we will love forever. There is
beauty and often mystery surrounding traditional mourning customs. With
increasing diversity in the US population, we may feel uncertain about these
practices. Every culture has its own traditions for death and mourning. To
better understand those around us, it is essential to appreciate the ways other
cultures honor their deceased loved ones and express their grief. The subjects
in Loss range from the Irish Famine and the Ottoman slaughter of Armenians
to the aftermath of the Vietnam War and apartheid in South Africa, problems of
partial immigration and assimilation, AIDS, and the re-envisioning of leftist
into the future by using what we saw in the past, considering "what is
lost" in terms of "what remains". The anthology of the politics
of mourning shows how melancholia lends meaning and force to notions of
activism, ethics, and identity. It is a strong yet profoundly disturbing
collection that forces the issue of inquiry into ourselves, posing questions in
areas we choose to ignore or mask making loss more productive than
pathological, more positive than negative, yet all the while derived of an
abstract that inevitably leaves us marked, insuperably and irreversibly.
Melancholia becomes the condition by which life is risked, by which the
questions of whether one can move, and with whom, and that we are framed and
incited by the irreversibility of loss itself. The distinction between
melancholia and mourning does not hold because there are inevitably experienced
by a configuration of simultaneity and succession. Loss will
provoke you and make you quite contemplative.
Kubler-Ross E: Death.
208 pp. Scribner. June 1997
Kubler-Ross E: Life
Lessons. 224 pp. Scribner. November 2001
Kubler-Ross E: Living
with Death and Dying. 192 pp. Scribner. June 1997
Kubler-Ross E: On
Death and Dying. 288 pp. Scribner. June 1997
Kubler-Ross E: On Life
After Death. 96 pp. Celestial Arts. August 1991
Kubler-Ross E: The
Wheel of Life- A Memoir of Living and Dying. Scribner. June 1998
2004 Sundeep Nayak
Dr. Nayak is an Assistant Professor of
Clinical Radiology in the University of California School of Medicine San
Francisco and his interests include mental health, medical ethics, and gender
studies. A voracious reader and intrepid epicure, he enjoys his keyboards too
much. He has been trying to understand the mechanism of grief for far too long.
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