Nobody Wants to Talk About It
-Baby Boomers Face Grief
Baby Boomers are in for a shock!!! We may think that we
are prepared for the sadness that will accompany our parents’
death. In fact we are usually totally unprepared for this life
experience. To lose the people in your life that have always
been there and know you the best is a life-altering event.
I was sure that I understood the pain that would accompany
the eventual death of my mother. Professionally I was a nurse
and involved in palliative care and bereavement counselling
so I was sure that I was prepared. I was wrong!!
I quickly realized that this experience could only be described
as a total assault on your being. I became concerned about my
friends who had not yet experienced this pain.
This generation has had an enormous impact on many of our
cultural and societal norms. This will be no exception!!
Baby Boomers have had many advantages compared with previous
generations but limited experience with suffering the
consequences of events such as world wars and depression.
Grief causes physical and emotional pain. Baby Boomers have
come to expect instant pain relief in this fast paced society.
Unfortunately Baby Boomers will be facing this chapter in
their lives in a culture that does not give grief the
respect or validation it deserves. Grief is an emotion
that our society does not want to discuss. It has become
an “off limits” subject in our culture.
Finding someone to listen to you again and again and again
is a key element in getting through this difficult time.
This can be a friend or a counsellor – it really doesn’t
matter. Talking about our feelings is key to coming to
terms with our grief.
We have inherited the “stiff upper lip” of our parent’s
generation and have also been inundated with expressions
such as “get on with life” and “closure” and “getting back
to normal”. None of these expressions or attitudes helps
the grief stricken.
Losing a parent is a significant loss that is difficult
to describe to someone who hasn’t yet experienced it.
The expectation of those around us to be “back to normal”
takes an incredible amount of energy. The effort can be
People don’t want to see others in pain. But due to that,
we try to rush people through a process that follows its
own timeframes and requires time our culture finds difficult
We will never be the same after this life experience but
will eventually develop a new “normal” and learn to live
in a world without our loved ones. This process takes
time and patience from those that are close friends and
Hopefully the sheer numbers of Baby Boomers experiencing
this life event will change how our culture handles grief.
It is not well understood. Without that knowledge it
ecomes more difficult to navigate through this inevitable
and disturbing life experience. Regrettably grief follows
its own timeframes. You experience waves of grief even
months later when you least expect it.
There are positive elements of the grief process. As you
go through this process you can find your priorities are
different than before and there is an appreciation of life
that perhaps wasn’t there in the past. Hopefully many Baby
Boomers will experience some of these positive changes in
their lives and help to change the way our culture handles
Jane Galbraith, BScN, R.N., is the author of “Baby Boomers
Face Grief – Survival and Recovery”. Her work in the community
health field included dealing with palliative clients and
their bereaved families and has also assisted facilitating
grief support groups. She speaks to many organizations
including the Bereavement Ontario Network annual meeting
and the Canadian Palliative Care and Hospice Conference
in the fall of 2007.
Her book is available through the author directly at
firstname.lastname@example.org or www.amazon.ca.
More information about the book can be found at
www.boomergrief.blogspot.com or www.trafford.com/05-2319. .