Frank Talk About Grief

I have to admit I just don’t understand how some people go through the grieving process. For me it’s a deeply personal thing and not something with which to involve the rest of the world outside of immediate family and close friends. When my mother died when I was 20 years old, I found all the attention surrounding the funeral to be more stress inducing than the actual loss itself. I was happy when all that was over. But hers was not a sudden and unexpected death. It was untimely — she was 43 — but she had been fighting the cancer for years.

I imagine sudden an unexpected is a different experience, and I’m sure burying a child is more difficult than burying a parent. But it’s very difficult to understand how grief could manifest itself in attention seeking behavior. For that reason, I don’t really understand Andy Parker, the father of the anchorwoman who was murdered on live television. A former candidate for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, he’s seemed to seek out the limelight in the wake of the murder of his daughter. He has vowed to take on the NRA. I can actually understand that, even I think the anger is misplaced. Someone’s bound to shove a camera in your face after a high-profile incident like this, and I can understand lashing out in anger, especially when the person responsible took his own life rather than allowing the victims family to get any sense of justice. But then he goes and demands to know why key politicians aren’t calling him, then stating later in another press interview saying he’s going to buy a gun himself. He’s been writing op-eds in the Washington Post. It’s been reported in the news Parker has been in contact with Bloomberg’s people and Giffords. It’ll be interesting to see if which group, if any, will pick him up.

At the risk of sounding completely cold hearted, this behavior strikes me as very odd for someone mourning. Perhaps I just don’t understand it. Everyone grieves differently. But I have been around more than enough grieving people in my lifetime to, I think, declare this a very strange way of going about it. I’ve seen people who use the opportunity of deaths, marriages, births, etc, and attempt to make such public events all about them. But we usually think of those people as insufferable boors, don’t we? I’m not saying that’s what we’re seeing here, but if this is one of many means of grieving, I sure would like to understand it. It’s very difficult to wrap my head around making a media spectacle, and blaming your own tragedy on millions of fellow Americans who had nothing to do with it, and who also believe it’s awful and senseless.

15 Responses to “Frank Talk About Grief”

  1. John Biros says:

    You would think he would place his anger with people who didn’t report the the guy made threats, was constantly harassing co-workers…basically being a pain in the ass to everyone…..instead of the object.
    The fact that he is going to buy what he wants to control, tells us that he thinks he is above everyone,and his thought process is off…as I would guess for someone who lost a child in a horrific way would be.

    Would he go after car companies if the guy ran them over during a man -in -the-street interview?

  2. Jay says:

    Many of the same things discussed with my fiancee yesterday. Read an article that said something like “5 days in…been in contact with both Mark Kelly and representative from Bloomberg”. I find that to be incredibly sad/creepy. I know about how grief can blind you, but this seems to be a level up from all of that.

    • Sebastian says:

      Yeah, I’ve never seen anything quite like this.

    • The_Jack says:

      And then there’s the op-eds.

      I know some people use writing to work through their grief but not in this style.

      And anything that is published such as a memorial poetry or something autobiographical, well… they often are edited and published months after the fact.

      So doing multiple opinion pieces and all within a week seems… odd.

  3. Weer'd Beard says:

    Martinez Recently stated that he didn’t care if any of his actions did anything:

    “But even if you told me right now that everything I do is not going to make a change, it wouldn’t stop me. I will continue to do this for as long as I have an opportunity.”

    It’s VERY early, his daughter isn’t even in the ground yet, so I’m not ready to make claims yet.

    Still with Martinez, Mark Kelly, Joan Peterson, Collin Goddard, the Phillips Family, and a few others I may not be thinking of seem to be blood dancing, especially given the vehemence with which they cite their loss when pressing laws that are completely irrelevant to the death of their loved one.

    The more they continue down this path, the more obvious it becomes that this is ALL about them, and their brush with tragedy is simply a means to an end.

    Hell Sarah Brady admits that she was strongly anti-gun long before Jim got shot…him getting shot was simply exposure and emotional leverage.

  4. Stephen says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about him. Within hours/days of his daughter’s death he was proclaiming himself a national leader of the anti-gun movement and the next “John Walsh” — who is also a TV star.

    All I can figure is that he’s always been fiercely anti-gun, possibly even imagining how he would react if a tragedy struck his family, so basically he was locked/loaded and safety off when the trigger event came.

    And since he’s a politician he probably has an instinct to grab the limelight and make the most of it.

    I still have trouble holding him in any respect for how he’s politicized/weaponized his daughter’s death to fight for the standard litany of anti-gun laws, even though none would have mattered, but every tragedy does generally put another face to the anti-gun movement. Thankfully we don’t have enough of them to overcome the rest of us.

    • Brad says:

      Yeah, his previous failed attempt at political office colors my judgement about his current actions. It is fair to be highly suspicious.

  5. Alpheus says:

    My father died when he was carrying laundry up stairs, and then lost his balance and fell down. As I was grieving, I wondered “Why did anyone allow my Dad to carry laundry?!?” He had a stroke several years before he died, so he wasn’t as capable of doing things as he had been before.

    Even as I had that thought, though, I knew it was wrong: although my Dad was less capable than he was before, he nonetheless appreciated doing at least some of the things he was able to do before. It would have been wrong to forbid him from as simple a pleasure as doing a bit of laundry!

    From this experience, I had a hint of why people who lose loved ones from “preventable” causes, often go on crusades to “save” lives. The problem, of course, is that these crusades often ignore the trade-offs that we all have to make, between safety and convenience…

    • Sebastian says:

      Thanks for your perspective. My mother died of cancer, which is just kind of bad luck. It’s not the same as someone who dies suddenly from a preventable cause.

  6. Brad says:

    Okay, with the Andy Parker gun-control editorial that appears in the Washington Post (BTW thanx for that link) I no longer give Parker any more benefit of doubt. It is one thing to rant in a live TV interview, it is quite another to put pen to paper and write in detail as Parker did.

    Andy Parker is the kind of trolling bigoted anti-gunner we have seen examples of in the past, exhibiting all the worst tendencies and dishonest methods we are all too familiar dealing with. Because real gun control of the type Parker wants won’t fly politically, he pushes specific legislation that even he admits would have made no difference in the murder which motivates him. But make no mistake, Parker wants “whatever it takes” to control guns. We all know what that means.

  7. TS says:

    “All we want to do is keep crazy people from getting guns. I guarantee you somebody’s got the answer for this.”

    He makes it sound so simple. Simple yes, easy no. It’s like saying all we want to do is keep alcoholics from being able to drink. Somebody must have a solution for that too, right?

    It’s utterly foolish to think we can prevent free people from obtaining a legal product- just because we selected them as people who “shouldn’t”.

  8. PJ says:

    You guys are just tip-toeing around an obvious possibility – that Andy Parker is just an asshole, and his daughter’s death did not make him any less so.

    One wonders what Alison Parker thought about her Dad.

    Anyway, this event certainly has provided a loud and clear example of how the media works. That’s why I usually call them the Ministry of Propaganda.

    • Sebastian says:

      Some things are best tip toed around in a public forum where our opponents have been known to lurk, but your point about the media is well taken.

  9. Dave says:

    Andy Parker seems to be a bit unhinged in his grief. I hope the Commonwealth of Virginia will report him as such to The NICS check folks so that he can be blocked from buying that gun. He is so over the edges about this that he might use the gun to kill someone himself.

  10. Paul Bead says:

    “Grieving is like drinking, it gives someone an excuse for behavior that they might be predisposed to, but normally would be inhibited, shamed, or guilted from doing. It excuses one from others; it excuses one from oneself.” – From the book, Secrets of Society’s Free Passes