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Caregivers Who Have Lost Someone
Freud's Grief After Loss Of Favorite Adult Child
Sigmund Freud had eight children. One daughter was deeply his heart's favorite and though they lived far from one another, after the daughter grew up and married, they kept close contact in writing. Long after this adult daughter's sudden death from Spanish Flu, Freud continued to grieve her loss. He had not been able to be with her as she passed. Here is an excerpt from something he wrote regarding this;
" . . . Nine years later, Freud sent a letter to Ludwig Binswanger in which he wrote: "My daughter who died would have been thirty-six today [...] We know that the acute sorrow we feel after such a loss will run its course, but also that we will remain inconsolable, and will never find a substitute. No matter what may come to take its place, even should it fill that place completely, it yet remains something else. And that is how it should be. It is the only way of perpetuating a love that we do not want to abandon.”
"Freud always wore a tiny locket with a photo of his daughter inside it, and he looked at it every so often. Nothing could take her place. He knew it and so do we. We know that the arrival of another person will never take the place of the one who has left us. And that’s the way it should be.
But we should also be aware that mourning will be softened and transformed into nostalgia. With the passage of time, whenever we remember the person who is no longer there, their memory will no longer evoke pain but instead a bittersweet feeling that can even be comforting for us.
Freud’s story drives home the fact that no matter how great the pain we feel today, acceptance and consolation will come in the end, with the reassurance of knowing that, although a loved one may have been taken from us, nothing can take away the moments we have shared together. And that is what we must hold onto."
It is difficult to see that clarity when looking down the dark tunnel after the loss of a beloved. May we all find consolation, acceptance and reassurance.