Exit Left, Wordlessly is the title of the Modern Love column from this Sunday's NY Times. The column runs every week in the Styles section and it is usually the first section I pick up to read. Just as I admire well written 100 word stories, I admire these 1500 word articles which tell a complete story and pack a punch.
This week's story discusses the author's dilemma when not one, but two love relationships end with the man leaving suddenly and unexpectedly. Trying to undersatand how someone could be so kind, loving and generous and then leave without an explanation sends her to compare the men with Donald Draper, the lead player in the television show Mad Men. A review the author read describes Don as "The master of the pitch. someone who likes only beginnings and not what happens next." Her next attempt to fathom these events led her to an area of interest to those of us who are caregivers to Alzheimer's diseased partners or parents.
Although she does not mention the author or the title of the book in which she found her answer, the author reports the discovery of a "new" term, at least for her. AMBIGUOUS LOSS. This term is used to describe a death in which there is no body to bury or a spouse who "vanishes into Alzheimer's disease while still alive." Ambiguous loss is unfinished business, the author writes, without closure or understanding.
One of the women in my support group, Jean, lost her husband to death last week and she feels as if she has done most of her grieving already and that his demise is a blessing, a release from mindless suffering. She loved him dearly; she has closure and understanding.