One topic that has been addressed over and over again on this blog is the impact of grief on a person. Grief affects the emotional, physical, and psychological health of a human being. It does not matter who you are, what color you are or how educated you are, grief has a long term effect on all areas of a person’s life. The United States’s inability to discuss the effects of a grief has been pushing itself in to society’s consciousness though several major catastrophes. The most recent incident that has pushed grief to the forefront of our attention is the death and apparent suicide of Mindy McCready.
For the grief advocates Mindy McCready is a major tragedy that could have been prevented. Her death highlights all that is wrong with our society in the treatment of persons’ who have experienced deep grief.
An article from news reports that Mindy’s boyfriend killed himself on January 13, 2013http://music.yahoo.com/blogs/our-country/mindy-mccready-boyfriend-commits-suicide-david-wilson-181011934.html.This loss would have been devastating for Mindy especially when it happened at her home. She would have been reminded every time she walked out on her porch of his death. Another article quotes court documents that states she had been in bed for three weeks instead of taking care of herself and her children. http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2013/02/18/country-singer-mindy-mccready-dead-apparent-suicide/. Mindy had been treated for depression before her boyfriend’s death. The loss of her boyfriend would have deepened her depression. With this kind of loss her behavior of staying in bed for days at a time would not have been unusual. If she coped with her feelings before his death with drugs and alcohol, she would most certainly have started using after his death.
The most concerning part of this incident is the father’s reaction to her deep grief surrounding the loss of her boyfriend. The father’s expectations that she continue to behave as she did before he died is unrealistic. Unfortunately, it is very common in our society that after a death a person is expected to act as they did before the death. This expectation often causes more harm than good as demonstrated by what happened to Mindy McCready.
What is not clear from the article and what makes a person question the family dynamics in Mindy’s McCready’s life is the lack of family support. She did not have the support from family to help her care for her two children while she was having such a difficult time. She clearly had a father. He went to court to have Mindy committed and her children taken away by the police. Family support while a person is grieving is critical. There would have been a period of time that she would not have been able to care for her children. If she had family support it would have been unnecessary for her children to go into foster care.
It appears that the professionals involved in Mindy’s case must have felt that her substance abuse was associated with her grief. She was using drugs and alcohol to cope with her feelings. With the support of a treatment team she would have had the support to stop using and a caring ear to cope with the feelings of grief.
From Mindy’s perspective the loss of her children even temporarily would have been enough to overwhelm her coping mechanisms. It is easy to see how in her state of grief it seems like it would be easier to give up than continue to hurt the way grief hurts. That is the problem with grief. Because it is so deep and so painful it cannot be explained, only experienced. Mindy McCready’s death was so unnecessary. If only her parents, the criminal justice system, and foster care system would have been educated on what the real effects of grief are Mindy might still be alive today. For more information on grief and grief support groups contact: Angie Cartwright at the Grief the Unspoken at firstname.lastname@example.org.