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Public outpourings of grief

(108 Posts)
janthea Tue 21-Jan-14 12:39:46

Does anyone else find these public displays of grief for a complete stranger distasteful? It now seems obligatory to cry and wail and leave momentoes for anyone who has died or been killed. It's always sad when someone dies, however they died. But surely the family and friends are those who are devastated by this and not complete strangers who claim to be 'shocked and devastated'. Surely the bereaved family would prefer to be left in peace to grieve by themselves.

Ana Tue 21-Jan-14 12:43:44

I agree, and I find it even more distasteful when mothers make their young children place flowers or teddies at the site.

janthea Tue 21-Jan-14 12:46:21

As the article says, the whole thing seems to have started with Diana. I remember seeing people on the news crying and sobbing as though she was a member of their own family. The children must have been very confused.

ginny Tue 21-Jan-14 12:51:06

I agree too. Yes, we can be shocked and saddened and feel sympathy with the families when these things happen. However, to put it bluntly we can't be devastated as it will not actually effect our lives. Why people take tiny children who never knew the other child (or adult) for that matter totally escapes me.

janthea Tue 21-Jan-14 12:57:45

There are many things was could devastate someone but not the death of a stranger. As ginny said, you would feel sympathetic and sad.

Tegan Tue 21-Jan-14 13:02:35

If you're goingto spend money on flowers or a teddy surely it would be better to give some money to a childcare charity of some kind? Maybe people are using things like this to offer up some sort of thanks for the fact that their child is safe. I wonder what social historians will make of it in the future [or now even]?

janthea Tue 21-Jan-14 13:07:17

Tegan Rather than giving thanks for the safety of their own children, I think the majority of them are just following the herd AND perhaps get their pictures in the paper or on television? hmm. Cynical? Moi?

rosesarered Tue 21-Jan-14 13:09:25

ginny they do it to draw attention to themselves, also there's a chance they may be 'on camera'. Complete idiots.
A pile of wet slowly rotting teddies and flowers does no good to anyone.
Yes, it did start with the death of Diana, and while thinking to myself at the time, poor woman , it was actually no more terrible than for any young-ish woman who died in a car accident and left children behind.I did meet her once, but didn't KNOW her and that is the difference.Yes, you can be shocked for an instant when somebody well known dies, but it's impossible to be devastated.
After that, it became commonplace to have OTT outpourings of grief, and now it seems to have become part of the national psyche , which is a bit worrying.Let it all hang out? NO, keep some of it in please!
So, to sum up, I agree with you totally janthea
My DH says the old adage [it's an ill wind, that blows nobody any good] and of course, the florists are doing nicely from all this.

Ana Tue 21-Jan-14 13:11:35

I think you're right, janthea. Some of them hover hopefully in the vicinity of whatever news reporter is covering the event, looking suitably 'devastated'...

tanith Tue 21-Jan-14 13:19:07

Janet Street Porter just said she thought it was distasteful on Loose Women but then sitting next to her was the Nolan sister (don't know her name) and she said that the one thing that gave her family comfort was seeing how many peoples lives she had affected and how so many of them lined the streets at her funeral... we all have a different view on these things and its what makes life interesting...

Personally I prefer to grieve in private and I think a nice letter of condolence is much more appropriate.

Riverwalk Tue 21-Jan-14 13:20:20

I can sympathise with people coming together in a community to commiserate and talk - it's human nature.

However there's absolutely no need for children to be involved - it must be very unsettling for them to see all the mums crying and knowing something awful has happened.

Tegan Tue 21-Jan-14 13:33:24

Mind you, it does hurt when something happens to a child near to where you live. A child in our village died of leukaemia many years ago; I didn't know the family very well, but I still feel sad when I think of him. I was incredibly upset when Diana died; it shocked me how I felt and I was relieved to find that other people were feeling the same way. I think so many of us related to her in some way, especially people like myself that were in an unhappy marriage or struggled with weight/image issues.

Rowantree Tue 21-Jan-14 13:38:43

I agree with what you've said, people. Mass hysteria doesn't help anyone and it doesn't help justice. A letter of condolence would be better if people feel the need to 'do' something. But what worries me far more is the knee-jerk reactions from some quarters to the mother. We don't know her story, we none of us know what the truth is. We need to keep an open mind until the truth is known, if it ever is, and let the law take its course. Thank goodness we have developed as a society beyond mob rule, otherwise some of those accused (in various cases) would be dead before they reached court! It's important to remember that she is innocent until proven guilty - whatever 'guilty' means....

wisewoman Tue 21-Jan-14 13:50:55

Whenever I see people laying flowers down as a tribute to someone they didn't know my first reaction is to shout at the tv "take the bloody plastic off"! I don't think florists do all that well on these occasions, it seems to be flowers from a garage or a supermarket in that awful plastic wrap. I know in the big scheme of things it is a small thing to be annoyed about but I must admit the thought of all those flowers dying in the plastic and having to be collected and dumped does make me mad. At least if it was just flowers they could compost them!! As for the teddy bears etc - well!!!! I am sure there are children who would love to have them.

Aka Tue 21-Jan-14 14:01:27

It's none of my business to criticise how anyone chooses to acknowledge the death of a young child. I do believe it fulfills some form of public need though.

Aka Tue 21-Jan-14 14:03:57

PS can't be added bothered to read the article by the DM

thatbags Tue 21-Jan-14 14:07:10

Well said, aka.

merlotgran Tue 21-Jan-14 17:08:28

You can't even say that it's an ill wind as far as florists are concerned because all the flowers will have come from garages or supermarkets.

Marelli Tue 21-Jan-14 17:18:02

Rowantree, I agree strongly with your post.

GillT57 Tue 21-Jan-14 17:55:49

I thought it sickening when people heaped piles of flowers and toys on 'Baby P grave.Considering how the poor little soul died, it would surely be more appropriate to give a donation, however small to an organisation such as NSPCC to try to stop these terrible things happening in the first place. I agree that it seemed to have started with the death of Diana, and I remember being astounded at the weeping and wailing by people who could not possible have known her, and as for the disgusting ' sea of flowers' the same time a friend lost her Father and she said she felt somehow cheated as if his death was irrelevant compared to hers.

Rowantree Tue 21-Jan-14 18:05:29

Too many people seem to have a morbid interest in death or murder.

Did it begin with Diana, though? What about Hillsborough? Weren't there flowers, scarves, notes and so on left there too?

I agree, GillT57 - I was astounded too. When's all said and done, a woman got killed in a car crash. Sad, but it happens..... and why not spend time and effort campaigning against drink driving, rather than wasting money on adding to the huge mountain of flowers and boosting florists' profit margins?

rosesarered Tue 21-Jan-14 18:06:59

AKA It's the public 'need' that is worrying! It's now become the done thing to weep and wail , or at the very least, lay down some tatty flowers.I read of any child's death with sorrow, particularly [as is usually the case] at the hands of a family member.The feeling is very voyeuristic somehow, the crowds in the street, not wanting to disperse in case they miss any excitement.

absent Tue 21-Jan-14 18:07:47

Started with Diana? Surely not. Must date back well before that. Some woman committed suicide at Rudolph Valentino's funeral – that was a pretty drastic display of grief about someone she didn't know.

rosesarered Tue 21-Jan-14 18:13:12

absent there are always deranged people about [Valentino's funeral] but in the UK it did seem to start with Diana. Sure, there were tributes for the Hillsboro' tragedy [if you say so, I can't remember] but that was not ONE person dying was it? A lot of people just LOVE acting in this sentimental way, it must give them a buzz.

ffinnochio Tue 21-Jan-14 18:17:55

It's called empathy - however it's displayed.