In a review of Julian Barnes new book, Levels of Love, Hannah Furness writes how Barnes was disappointed in how friends reacted to his wife's death.
The author, a former Man Booker Prize winner, worked out precise details while grieving for Pat Kavanagh, his wife of 30 years.
In his new novel, Levels of Life, he writes for the first time about coping with her death from cancer, aged 68, in 2008, and attacks friends whom he believes were too cowardly to speak her name
He describes Kavanagh, a literary agent, as “the heart of my life; the life of my heart”.
He goes on to note: “Grief sorts out and realigns those around the grief-struck; how friends are tested; how some pass, some fail.”
He adds: “You might expect those closest to you in age and sex and marital status to understand best. What a naivety. I remember a 'dinner-table conversation’ in a restaurant with three married friends of roughly my age.
“Each had known her for many years – perhaps 80 or 90 in total – and each would have said, if asked, that they loved her. I mentioned her name; no one picked it up. I did it again, and again nothing. Perhaps the third time I was deliberately trying to provoke, being p----- off at what struck me not as good manners but cowardice.
“Afraid to touch her name, they denied her thrice, and I thought the worse of them for it.” Barnes, who has been known for more cryptic works, also admitted considering suicide after her death…..But he decided his end would be akin to a second death of his wife, since he was “her principal rememberer”.
Remember: A person who is grieving the loss of a loved one, likes to talk about the departed.
Where was Lt Schindler when they handed out common sense and decency?
An Atlanta woman is infuriated after police used Facebook to notify her of her 30-year-old son's death, rather than calling her or paying a visit to her home.
Anna Lamb-Creasey had been calling hospitals and jails for weeks, searching for her son Rickie, who went missing on January 25. She even posted a message on his Facebook page that read, 'Rickie, where are you? Love mom.
But it wasn't until February 14 that she discovered her son's fate, when her daughter opened a Facebook message from someone named 'Misty Hancock.' It was the same 'Misty Hancock' - whose profile picture featured Atlanta rapper T.I. - that had sent Lamb-Creasey a Facebook message on January 31.
But Lamb-Creasey had never read the message because the sender's strange name and profile picture led her to assume it was some sort of scam.
'I'm thinking it's just a fake,' she told wsbtv.com.
When Lamb-Creasey's daughter opened the message, however, she discovered it was regarding Rickie.
'Anna, This is Lt Schindler with the Clayton County Police Dept.,' the message read. 'It is important that I speak with you immediately. Call me at 678-***-****. Thanks so much.'
Click the link to see the Facebook profile of Misty Hancock.
Inexcusable behavior by the staff at Valdosta State University in Georgia. Imagine learning about your daughter's death or murder on Facebook
A mother and father from Lawrenceville, Georgia, were disgusted to first hear about the death of their 17-year-old daughter from a friend's post on Facebook. Freshman nursing student Jasmine Benjamin was found dead in shared dorm student area on November 18.
But staff at Valdosta State University didn't notify the parents of her death. Furthermore, the girl's mother, Judith Jackson, and her stepfather, James Jackson, still haven't got many more answers about how Jasmine died.
The family was shocked further when police explained that someone had killed Jasmine.
'To find out it was a homicide and that somebody actually murdered our daughter changed everything,' Jackson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 'It was like hearing the news all over again.'
And what to make of the school staff at Manchester High School in Connecticut?
A student in Connecticut drowned at his high school's pool after he lay on the bottom for 17 minutes while his classmates splashed and swam above him. Malvrick Donkor, 14, slipped below the water during a swimming class at Manchester High School on Wednesday. Surveillance video reportedly shows no splashing or struggling to swim.
He was only found after other students began to leave the pool after class ended and spotted him at the bottom of the deep end.
'There's no splashing, no flailing like you would typically think of,' a source who watched the CCTV tape told the Hartford Courant. 'He just slipped under water. Other kids were swimming over the top of him, not knowing he was down below.'
It is unknown how many adults were supervising the students and how the lifeguards never spotted Malvrick drowning.
The occasion of any death reminds that we are all mortal. Tradition and custom, based on accumulated wisdom gathered from ancient times up until the present day, has declared that we speak no evil of the dead. De mortuis nihil nisi bonum which translated literally means, Of the dead say nothing except good.
This does not mean that the lives of the dead are whitewashed. Facts about the dead and the consequences of their bad acts should not be made light of or hidden away. What should be hidden and suppressed from public expression are hateful emotions such as delight in someone's death, mocking or cursing the dead., callousness and cruelty.
One reason is that the dead are dead and can not reply and their families are raw, their lives torn apart with a gaping hole where their loved one was. Why add to their suffering?
Human decency demands that their immediate grief be respected. In the case of Andrew Breitbart, he leaves a widow, four young children under twelve, parents, in-laws, cousins, siblings and countless other close friends and colleagues.
This is especially true for political opponents. Even if you detest their politics, they are still human beings and fellow citizens, worthy of dignity and respect.
If you can not find one decent, kind thing to say about the dead, say nothing. Why expose a shrunken heart or bilious hate to the world for the momentary pleasure of a tweet. Everything lasts on the Internet. And those on the left who celebrated the death of Andrew Breitbart will be haunted by what they so recklessly and shamefully tossed on the internet.
They should be shamed. And so I am reposting some of their tweets.
The most influential tweet came from Slate's Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), who tweeted: "Conventions around dead people are ridiculous. The world outlook is slightly improved with @AndrewBrietbart dead."
AlmightyBob @AlmightyBoob : @AndrewBreitbart haha youre dead and in hell being a gay with hitler
Jeff Glasse @jeffglasse : Andrew Breitbart now enjoying afternoon tea with Hitler #goodriddanceyouhack
@darrenfiorello: Andrew Breitbart died? Is it wrong that I'm happier about that than when they got bin Laden and Saddam?
Scott On Da Rox @ridinchillwaves : RT GOOD RIDDANCE..fascist prick @Gawker: Andrew Breitbart Dead? gawker.com/5889586/
John Kapp @johnkapp : Andrew Breitbart was a racist, sexist, homophobe. Good riddance.
Gabriel @gabriel0923 : Andrew #Breitbart has died having been finally consumed by his revolting hatred! The world is better off without him!
Dufus @dufus : Did we cry when Hitler died? No.. #Breitbart see you in hell asshole
Natasha Yar-Routh @xiomberg : Andrew Breitbart is dead, good riddance to bad trash. He was a vile excuse for a human being
Dave Lartigue @daveexmachina : Andrew Breitbart has died. Honestly, good riddance. He helped poison the country where I live and we are better off without him.
Lalo Alcaraz @laloalcaraz RT @Mfusion66: RIP Breitbart? Nah, too good to be true
vtred @vtred1 : Good riddance to Andrew Breitbart - a McCarthyite nutcase.
Sean Paul Kelley @seanpaulkelley Andrew Breitbart has died: bigjournalism.com/lsolov/2012/03… If so, good riddance.
CpG @Crow1138 : I know it's wrong, but good riddance “@cnnbrk: Conservative blogger Andrew #Breitbart has died, attorney says. on.cnn.com/wkDt4g”
TahitiNut @TahitiNut : Forgive me, God, for I have sinned. I err on the side of being pleased with a death ... of Andrew Breitbart. Good riddance.
michael mayer @prisonforbush: Breitbart dead? D Good riddance. More republicans should follow his lead.
DAC @dac2527 : Satan calls Andrew Breitbart home... Good riddance!
Kate Witko @katewitko : Andrew Breitbart is dead at 43 from "natural causes". hrm yes I suppose wine is pretty natural. good riddance, asshole.
WeirdArchives @WeirdArchives : Looks like it's official. Andrew Breitbart is dead. Personally I don't like the guy, so good riddance to bad rubbish.
Scott On Da Rox @ridinchillwaves : RT GOOD RIDDANCE..fascist prick @Gawker: Andrew Breitbart Dead? gawker.com/5889586/
@Sttbs73 It is very hard to have sympathy for an evil person like Andrew Breitbart! I am done being NICE.
@CleverTrousers: Andrew Breitbart died! Today looks like it's going to be a GREAT day. #deadgasbags
@crmlqt: Andrew Breitbart is dead....one less racist!!!!!
@jawillie: The saddest thing about Andrew Breitbart's death is that he died such a douchebag.
Inglorious Basterdz @TheLibertyLamp : Andrew Breitbart destroyed lives based on LIES, I will not be some phony liberal and pretend condolences. ROT IN HELL ANDREW U BASTARD!
For some people, politics trumps all, even something as private as a family grieving the death of a two-hour baby before burying him. What shriveled hardened hearts.
Charles Lane on Rick Santorum’s baby--and mine.
The latest intra-pundit flap of Campaign 2012: a couple of my liberal colleagues have called Rick and Karen Santorum “crazy,” or “very weird” for wrapping and caressing the body of their baby, who died only two hours after emerging from 20 weeks in utero -- and taking it home for their children to see. These opinions provoked a conservative backlash.
Maybe it’s not too late for a teachable moment about neonatal death and stillbirth — and the special grief that these not-uncommon, but obviously insufficiently understood, tragedies inflict upon parents.
Nine years ago, my son Jonathan’s heart mysteriously stopped in utero — two hours prior to a scheduled c-section that would have brought him out after 33 weeks. Next came hours of induced labor so that my wife could produce a lifeless child. I cannot describe the anxiety, emotional pain, and physical horror.
I regret that, unlike the Santorums, who presented the body of their child to their children, we did not show Jonathan’s body to our other son, who was six years old at the time. When I told him what had happened, his first question was, “Well, where is the baby?” I tried to explain what a morgue is, and why the baby went there. It was awkward and unsatisfactory -- too abstract. In hindsight, I was not protecting my son from a difficult conversation, I was protecting myself.
Jonathan’s death was probably the hardest moment of my life. But actually touching his body was a source of comfort and the first step in going on with life. Not weird.
Jessica Heslam Our Bereavement is our own
A little while later, a nurse took her away and we never saw her again.
Those precious moments with my daughter — the only time I ever got to see and hold her — are cherished ones. That single memory of holding Grace brings me much peace.
Santorum lost a baby, too. His wife, Karen, went into premature labor when she was 20 weeks pregnant with their son and fourth child, Gabriel, in 1996. He had a fatal birth defect and died two hours after he was born.
The heartbroken couple brought their baby home. According to The Washington Post, the couple and their other children cuddled Gabriel, took pictures and sang him lullabies.
Santorum told CNN’s Piers Morgan in August that his wife, a neonatal intensive care nurse in Pittsburgh, had learned how important it was for siblings to see their lost brother or sister and include them in the family.
The Santorums’ actions are in line with American Pregnancy Association guidelines, which urge grieving parents to talk to and touch their stillborn babies — and for family members to spend time with them as well.
“It was a beautiful thing,” Santorum recalled. “It’s something that the older children do remember, and it did bring closure to them. Gabriel, even to this day, is still very much a part of our family.”
I was sickened this week when liberal pundits mocked Santorum as “weird” and “crazy,” and tried to use the tragedy to highlight his extreme right-wing views.
Some may not agree with Santorum’s ideology, but to ridicule a grief-stricken father for grappling with one of life’s most agonizing tragedies is the dirtiest of politics.
Mark Steyn Politics trumps Left's empathy
Lest you doubt that we're headed for the most vicious election year in memory, consider the determined effort, within 10 minutes of his triumph in Iowa, to weirdify Rick Santorum. Discussing the surging senator on Fox News, Alan Colmes mused on some of the "crazy things" he's said and done.
Santorum has certainly said and done many crazy things, as have most members of America's political class, but the "crazy thing" Colmes chose to focus on was Santorum's "taking his two-hour-old baby when it died right after childbirth home," whereupon he "played with it." My National Review colleague Rich Lowry rightly slapped down Alan on air, and Colmes subsequently apologized, though not before Mrs. Santorum had been reduced to tears by his remarks. Undeterred, Eugene Robinson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post columnist, doubled down on stupid and insisted that Deadbabygate demonstrated how Santorum is "not a little weird, he's really weird."
Not many of us will ever know what it's like to have a child who lives only a few hours. That alone should occasion a certain modesty about presuming to know what are "weird" and unweird reactions to such an event.
Santorum's respect for all life, including even the smallest bleakest meanest two-hour life, speaks well for him, especially in comparison with his fellow Pennsylvanian, the accused mass murderer Kermit Gosnell, an industrial-scale abortionist at a Philadelphia charnel house who plunged scissors into the spinal cords of healthy delivered babies. Few of Gosnell's employees seemed to find anything "weird" about that: Indeed, they helped him out by tossing their remains in jars and bags piled up in freezers and cupboards. Much less crazy than taking 'em home and holding a funeral, right?
Funeral homes are not the place for family arguments or fistfights.
A 'catfight' between two sisters at their mother's funeral broke out Monday following a dispute over missing jewellery.
Funeral home staff looked on in horror as the two women exchanged blows during a private visitation in a Texas funeral home.
Kilgore Police said Kimberley Lynn Briggs grabbed her older sister Debra Gail Goff by the hair and punched her several times.
The 45-year-old also shoved her sister to the floor before staff at the Chapel of the Radar Funeral Home managed to pull them apart.
It is believed a dispute over the whereabouts of their mother's jewellery was at the centre of their fight.
I don't care how estranged you are from your ex, common decency requires that you ex-spouse that your child has died.
The mother of a high school student who collapsed and died after a football game was only notified of her son's death via Facebook.
Jackie Barden wasn't told of her 16-year-old son Ridge's death at a high school football match because she was not listed as an emergency contact.
Her ex-husband, whom she is not on 'speaking terms' with and was the boy's emergency contact, also did not tell her.
I'm beginning a new category of funeral etiquette because there are so many people who have no idea how to comport themselves.
One never serves marijuana brownies at funerals, wakes or memorial services.
Lest attendees eat them unaware, fall sick, and have to be hospitalized like these three old people in Newport Beach, California.
The three old people, who all live in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, complained of nausea, dizziness and an inability to stand without assistance.
Huntington Beach Police said the tray of brownies was put out without any announcement about what was in them.
They were served a a tribute to the man who had died, who ate marijuana brownies.