Following on from Tim Clark’s post about grief, I am reminded of a piece by Janice Turner in last week’s Times about the hostile response to Jennifer Saunders’ announcement that she was free of cancer:
She was accused of “slating” survivors and her remark that some wore the disease “like a badge” distressed terminally ill women who scoffed: “Yeah, like we have a choice!” … Response from other former sufferers was loud and quite angry: how dare she think that she could ever be “free”.
Turner goes on:
A vast edifice of fund-raising and female bonding events has grown up around breast cancer to unite sufferers and the bereaved. A health journalist friend, who has interviewed hundreds of activists, says that for some the brush with mortality is so powerful, the solidarity and sense of common purpose so overwhelming, that they identify with the breast cancer movement long after they are well again. They never consider themselves “free”, so may feel betrayed by those who do.
The same applies to many bereaved people. The difference, though, is that some people get cancer; everyone experiences bereavement. For all its severity, it is also commonplace.