Although grief-stricken, Shaila manages to stay calm amidst the commotion; hence, she becomes part of the rebuilding of some people’s lives. If the story’s title sounds like a how-to guide on grief management, it indeed gives the readers some practical steps on how to deal with the loss and how to start all over again.

I recently read a short story entitled The Management of Grief written by Bharati Mukherjee.  It tells the story of some people whose family members died in a plane explosion and how they dealt with their grief.

Shaila Bhave, the narrator, is an Indian woman living in Canada. She lost her husband and her two teenaged sons in the plane explosion. 

Although grief-stricken, Shaila manages to stay calm amidst the commotion; hence, she becomes part of the rebuilding of some people’s lives.  If the story’s title sounds like a how-to guide on grief management, it indeed gives the readers some practical steps on how to deal with the loss and how to start all over again. 

Here are those tips:  (1)  Remarry; (2) Look for another job; (3)  Sell your house and move to another place; (4) Join a group where you can pursue your interest like traveling or ballroom dancing; and (5) Seek refuge from a fellow brokenhearted.

As pointed out in the story by Judith Templeton, the representative from the provincial government, people in grief go through several stages: rejection, depression, acceptance and reconstruction.   The characters react to the situation in different ways.  Some are in denial while others are hoping for the impossible to happen. Even Kusum, Shaila’s friend who sounds like she is one level-headed person, suddenly withdraws from the world and from her very own daughter.

It might be one happy-ending story for Shaila, who at first is helpful to Templeton, but later decides to deal with her own family’s affairs first before meddling with other people’s lives. 

In the last paragraphs, we are told that she lives in between the Ontario Houses of Parliament and the University of Ontario.  At this point, Shaila is financially secure but she has no career.  She previously could not do anything for herself while her family members were still alive because she was busy attending to their needs. 

Now that she is alone, she can find a job or go back to school to make herself occupied.  She needs this in order to fill the void that engulfs her.  Or perhaps the self-confidence will help her especially if she ends up  with Dr. Ranganathan, the professor, who likewise lost his family in the tragedy.

In rebuilding her life, she goes through a process of deciding what parts of her culture to incorporate with that of the Western culture. This is a success story of a woman who is left with nothing in a foreign land, yet she emerges victorious by being in control of the situation and of herself.

Rhodora also writes at WARAYBLOGGER.com

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15
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  • lapasan on Nov 16, 2010

    an inspiring article.

  • crisdiwata on Nov 16, 2010

    Good critique. That must be a very interesting book you’ve read that deals with motivation and starting all over again after a big storm,.

  • The Soul Explorer on Nov 16, 2010

    Good work. Thanks!

  • Elma Sandoval on Nov 16, 2010

    It is always difficult to pick up the pieces of our lives when they are shattered… but it is a victory so sweet once we are able to achieve it.

  • LCM Linda on Nov 17, 2010

    Interesting topic. The tips are very useful. Great share.

  • overclocked on Nov 17, 2010

    useful tips for the brokenhearted and I think this will be useful for everyone too

  • kathangisip on Nov 17, 2010

    An interesting topic, these are important to consider in moving on yet not forgetting to grief. Good review!

  • vijayanths on Nov 17, 2010

    Interesting article, well written.

  • Fornis on Nov 17, 2010

    That is a nice book and it is a nice review. I will keep this in mind: rejection, depression, acceptance and reconstruction.

  • Brewed Coffee on Nov 18, 2010

    Am sure it’s a wonderful story about rising from the ashes. It’s such a hard life that she has to deal with. But she has only two choices, die in desperation or move on with life. Good that she chose the latter. Thanks for sharing this

  • addjusting on Nov 18, 2010

    Great post. I really didn’t know this guy until I read your article.

  • Percy on Nov 18, 2010

    I rebuilding , we always find the positive side of it why did it happened. Like being alone now , many things can be done will never be done before. always look for the positive side and positive outlook in life. Nice share.

  • Tulan on Nov 19, 2010

    A very inspiring story.

  • Jerry Bradford aka Jerry Atrixx on Nov 24, 2010

    You write very well. Very easy to grasp your concepts and the import of your article.

  • SimplyShash on Nov 26, 2010

    Hats off to their spirit, to the ‘womanship’ they have displayed in real life.

  • SimplyShash on Nov 26, 2010

    Hats off to their spirit, to the ‘womanship’ they have displayed in real life. In fact, such people don’t seem to be following management thoughts written by others. Rather, they ‘write’ their own, & get ‘read’ by others. Good post.

  • 1hopefulman on Nov 26, 2010

    One brave woman!

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