Liberating Losses: When Death Brings Relief
By Jennifer Ellison, Chris McGonigle
Da Capo Press, 2004, 240 pages
When someone dies, those left behind are expected to grieve. But, as taboo as it is to admit, not every death brings sadness. Labeled as "nontraditional grief response" by therapists and counselors, a positive reaction following a death is becoming more common, especially now that drugs and medical treatments keep people alive much longer than they and their families might wish. Sometimes we are relieved that our loved one is no longer suffering; at the other end of the spectrum, a death might finally free us of an abusive or unhappy relationship. In either case, the cultural expectation for sadness, loneliness and despair only adds to the guilt and conflict felt by many "relieved grievers."