Quotes on Aging and Mortality Related Issues

Dr. Earl A Grollman
- Explaining Death to Children
Dr. earl a grollman
Grollman's book

Writing on the Subject of:

Writing on the Subject of:

Quoting Fulton on how we deny death:
Sociology professor Robert Fulton asks,  "Is death dying in the United States?"  Memorial services take the place of funerals.  Whereas death was once regarded as inevitable, it is coming to be viewed as a result of personal negligence or other unforeseen accident.  Death is now a temporal matter that man treats much as he would and avoidable illness or physical stigma."

Quoting a study by Dr. Maria Nagy on children's reactions to death:

Dr. Maria Nagy studied 378 children between the ages of three and 10.  "She learned that between these ages children tend to pass through three different phases.  The youngster from three to five may deny death as a regular and final process.  To him, death is like sleep; you are dead, then you are alive again.  Or, like taking a journey; you are gone, then you come back."


Commenting on Naby's research on questions children ask about death:
"Between five and nine, children appear to be able to accept the idea that a person has died, but may not accept it as something that must happen to everyone and particularly to themselves.  Around the age of nine, the child recognizes death as an inevitable experience that will occur to him.  Nagy's investigation also demonstrated three main questions in the child's mind: "What is death?"  "What makes people die?"  "What happens to people when they die, where do they go?"

Quoting Dr. John Bowlby on the importance of morning:
According to Dr. John Bowlby of the Tavistock Clinic, London, each child experiences three phases in the natural grieving process.  The first is protest when the child cannot quite believe the person is dead, and he attempts, sometimes angrily, to retain him.  The next is pain, despair, and this organization.  When the youngster begins to accept the fact that the loved one is really gone. Finally there is hope, when the youngster begins to organize his life without the lost person.

On the importance of morning:
The inability to mourn leads to personal disintegration, the upshot of which is mental illness.  The line of demarcation between "normal psychological aspects of bereavement" and "disoriented morning reactions" is thin indeed, just as it is the division between "normality" and "neurosis."  The difference is not in symptom but in intensity.  It is a continued denial of realityk even many months after the funeral,
or a prolonged bodily distress, or a persistent panic, or any extended guilt, or an unceasing idealization, or an enduring apathy and anxiety, or an unceasing hostile reaction to the deceased and to others.

More on the importance of morning:
Parents intend it as a kindness when they shield the child from death, as they send him away to stay with a friend or relative and permit him to return only after the funeral.  They are dismayed by the suggestion that the child share in the service honoring the life and memory of someone close to him, yet recognized child authorities have come to the conclusion that not only is it correct to permit a child to attend a funeral, but from approximately the age of seven a child should be encouraged to attend.