Which is what he did. So much so that he seemed to eliminate all thoughts of those lost. In fact, he never again uttered his late wife’s name. In an autobiography he neglected even to mention his first marriage. When a young relative lost her mate, Roosevelt advised her to move forward and put him out of her mind.
Was Roosevelt correct in this approach to dealing with the death of a loved one?
Yes, because it seemed to work for him. It fit his personality and allowed him to move on with his life. And, as we know, he moved on to great achievements and a second marriage that was long and loving.
No, because his daughter by his first marriage complained that he never spoke of her mother. And no because that approach might very well not be the best for a different individual. I wonder what his young relative thought about the advice given her.
In truth, I don’t think there is a “best” way to grieve.
But I do believe there is a “right” way.
There’s a right way for you. And a right way for me. But those two ways may be different, reflecting the fact that we ourselves are different.
If there is a general rule on how to grieve, it is there is no single rule on how to grieve.
At least hundreds of books have been written on the grieving process, including one by myself. Most have been written by “experts,” far more qualified than I. Except for personal experience. Some give a formulaic approach to grieving. Others are more appreciative of the differences I mentioned. My own includes in the Preface the statement, “…whatever works is good.”
Some, like Roosevelt, will carry suppression to an extreme. While it seems somewhat cold-hearted to me, I have to accept it was right for him, if not those around him.
Others will find comfort in their religion and the huge support they receive, many from their own faith.
Some will remove physical memories like clothes and photographs while others will keep at least some.
There is no set of actions that are right or wrong.
And there is no time limit on grief. People often tell the grieving they should be ready to move forward. It has been a year so get over it. The grieving don’t need to hear such talk.
In fact, I would recommend never telling anyone how to recover. Instead, find what the person seems to feel comfortable with and then support it. You might think their approach is wrong. You might not react in the same way, although it’s hard to know how you will handle such a situation until you actually have to deal with it. But if you really want to be helpful, not judgmental, supporting without preaching can be a marvelous comfort.
In short, the grieving can’t put a stopper on their feelings. It is possible to move on with life and still feel sad. It is okay to cry, yes, even if you are male, when the feeling of loss overcomes you. Even one, or five, or ten, or twenty years down the road.
But time does help, and eventually life goes on in concert with the memories.