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We Cannot Grieve Alone

We Cannot Grieve Alone


Stories of Hope: An Interview with Maryanne Pope by Dr. David Susman


Photo by Kim Williamson

Mental Health Matters

Stories of Hope is a blog series hosted by clinical psychologist, professor and mental health advocate Dr. David Susman. The series features individuals who share their life experiences with mental health issues. Dr. Susman recently asked author and advocate Maryanne Pope about her mental health journey and her current activities. This is their interview:

DS: Tell us about when you first started becoming aware of concerns related to your mental health. How did these issues continue to affect you before you sought treatment?

MP: My experience with mental health issues was the result of a traumatic event. In September 2000, my police officer husband, John, died in the line of duty. He was investigating a break and enter complaint at a warehouse when he stepped through an unmarked false ceiling, fell nine feet into the lunchroom below, hit his head and succumbed to brain injuries. There was no safety railing in place to warn him – or anyone else – of the danger. There ended up being no intruder in the building; it was a false alarm.

We were both 32 at the time. In hindsight, I would say that most of my grieving process was normal and healthy, considering the circumstances. In the hours, days, weeks and months following John’s sudden death, I experienced shock, disbelief, sorrow, fear, anger, regret, self-pity, confusion, denial, feeling overwhelmed and so on.

I began to get concerned about my mental health, however, when my mind started to create fantasies about the reality – and finality – of John’s death. As the full extent of my loss began to sink in, the emotional pain simply became too much to bear, so I suspect my mind began to seek – and find – alternative explanations for his death. A simple missing safety railing wasn’t going to suffice in terms of me accepting the end of John’s life. There had to be a bigger reason…a Divine one…

Please click here to read entire interview.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here


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