I'm Not Contagious

I’m Not Contagious

My friend and colleague, Martha Clark Scala, wrote this heartfelt essay on her experience of grief after the death of her brother. Like many grieving people, her friends and family consoled her for awhile, but then most of the support faded away. Here’s an excerpt:

The front-page headline of my imaginary newspaper would always have “Martha’s Brother Has Died” as its leading story. Political scandals, tragedies, and stock market crashes would never get top billing. I suppose I would have some fine arguments with my imaginary editor about this! When it’s our loss, it is the headliner for quite a while. When it’s someone else’s loss, it just isn’t. In a journal entry written seven months after Nick died, I wrote:

Inside of me, there’s a voice screaming to be heard: “No, you don’t get it! I just lost my brother! Lost my brother! One of the most significant people in my life! Don’t you dare move on to the next topic . . . I’m still on this topic and I am not ready to move on and I won’t be ready to move on for quite some time.”

My heartfelt request to the world goes something like this: “If you feel like you don’t know what to say, don’t say much. Just show up! I have not just come down with strep throat! I’m not contagious!”

This evocative piece also contains the poem, “Aftermath”, by Madeline Sharples. Here is Martha’s full article.

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