Last month the son’s of Princess Diana were all over the news for candidly speaking about their feelings regarding their mother’s death. Prince William being just 15 while his brother Harry was 12 at the time. The young boys were unable to comprehend and process their loss. They revealed how they had bottled their grief and struggled to cope. How they suffered and how the loss affected their lives. Prince Harry said ‘It’s OK to suffer, as long as you talk about it. It’s not a weakness. Weakness is having a problem and not recognizing it and not solving that problem.’ His brother William further confessed “The shock is the biggest thing, and I still feel it 20 years later about my mother.” The media in general lauded them for their candor.
Personally, I wish I had heard someone tell me this years ago when I lost my mother. I thought the feeling of loss, sadness and pain would go away but as the years went by the hollow in my heart just kept getting bigger and bigger, till finally I just could not see any way out. For those of us who are suffering emotionally it does help hearing that even the super privileged and successful are affected by traumatic life events like us common folk. That they too struggle to return to normalcy. It helps to know the steps they have taken to resolve issues. Most of all it eases the morbidness of thinking that we are the only ones having such thoughts and emotions, being the odd one. It is such a overwhelming relief to know that the feelings are normal and can be eased and healed.
I remember years ago watching the Oprah show where she shared her experiences of sexual abuse. All through the show I had tears streaming down my face, the relief of knowing that the horrible things done to me had also happened to her and that it was not my fault. The relief was enormous. I immediately felt lighter. That was the start of my healing, knowing that you are not alone. Hearing stories that echo our experiences, particular shame inducing ones are liberating. What better way to realize that there can be life beyond the trauma, than watching celebrities successfully navigate through their crises.
You are not alone)
Unfortunately, the celebrity culture tends to attract the worst kinds of vultures, ready to feed on the celebrity bandwagon for selfish and self serving interests. Most notorious are the politicians who are quick to profit from a vote generating cause. The British prime minister, Theresa May believes Prince Harry’s decision to open up about his mental health is a “really important moment” for Britain and she wants to put Mental Health Professionals in every school.
The question that pops up do children need professional to help them navigate life’s troughs. Where are the parents? Shouldn’t the experts be the option of last resort. Do the experts really help ease the pain of loneliness, lack of connection and love. Simple, things which should be part of every child’s life is now being parceled to the Mental Health Worker. Yeah worker! Noted psychiatric writer Theodore Dalrymple exposes ‘How we drive our children mad?’
Thinking back to my days of blackness and despair, I agree that losing one’s mother is very painful. But my loss became traumatic because of the abuse and rejection I experienced post my mom’s death. Maybe with one caring family member my loss would not have become pathological. So analytically speaking was the Princes’ loss exacerbated by the fact that their beautiful mother died in the arms of a man who was the family embarrassment. Something they could not discuss openly with any caring adult at home.
Let’s hope that unlike their mother who used the media to air the family’s dirty linen on national television, the two prince’s know when to shut up, particularly when there are other people’s feelings involved.