Yesterday's post linked to an editorial by two well-credentialed psychiatrists with special interest in end-of-life care. Their studies led them to consider grief as "the state of emotional unrest and frustration associated with wanting what one cannot have."
The authors contrasted grief with "Acceptance, ...[which] may represent emotional equanimity – a sense of inner peace and tranquility that comes with the letting go of a struggle to regain what is lost or being taken away." (my emphasis)
Does this mean that at the end of life all Healthy Survivors must let go and accept death?
A constant theme threading throughout this blog has been that each Healthy Survivor forges and follows a unique path to (1) getting good care and (2) living as fully as possible. So, naturally, the answer is "no."
Indeed, the authors concur: "We are not suggesting that all dying patients...be implored to confront death with peace and equanimity, nor that complete death acceptance is a realistic goal."
So then, what? The authors suggest "that enhanced degrees of acceptance, and reduced grief, appear associated with less suffering, implying that there may be benefits to promoting acceptance."
Keep in mind that promoting acceptance is not the same as facilitating grief.
Also note that Healthy Survivorship sometimes demands a path that increases suffering, at least for a while. For example, undergoing adjuvant chemotherapy while in remission increases Healthy Survivors' physical suffering. Expressing grief increases Healthy Survivors' emotional suffering.
Next: Exploring normal grief versus prolonged grief.