With the death of Jane Birkin a few weeks ago, Charlotte Gainsbourg lost her mother, after losing her father several years ago. At the microphone of Europe Inter, she talks about her mourning and describes it as “something you don’t expect at all”. Is there really a difference between losing one parent or the other? Insights from Dr Céline Tran, psychiatrist in Paris.
“I experienced the death of my father, it devastated me, but the death of a mother is in our body. There is something that we do not expect at all. We hear about of people who, like you, have lost their mother and who have told me: ‘indeed, their spine is collapsing’. I no longer have any points of reference, I really no longer have any points of reference” . It is with these poignant words that Charlotte Gainsbourg speaks about the death of her mother, Jane Birkin, which occurred a few weeks ago.
Is there a difference between losing your father or your mother?
Charlotte Gainsbourg, who has now lost both of her parents, therefore talks about the differences between having lost her mother and her father. Is there really a difference? TipsForWomens asked the question to Dr Céline Tran, psychiatrist, in Paris.
The specialist first reminds us that there is no universal way to experience grief. “The loss of a loved one remains something that is experienced differently by everyone, it is a feeling that is unique to us” she recalls.
And as for the feeling, linked to the loss of a father or a mother, it has more to do with the way in which the relationship was between the parent and the child. “It is the relationship established with the parent that conditions the feeling of loss“explains the psychiatrist.”There are children devastated by the death of a father, while their mother is still alive. It’s because the mother is not invested in the relationship with her child, unlike the father.” The opposite is therefore also true.
Why is grieving a parent so difficult sometimes?
To express her mourning, Charlotte Gainsbourg uses very strong words. Why is grief sometimes so difficult for some people? Are some people really incapable of overcoming it? “To face grief, we must have the resources within us to deal with it. This can also involve external support, who will show us love, even if it will not replace that of the missing person. explains the specialist.
But this should only last for a while. “Sometimes, in some more emotionally fragile people, the loss of a parent brings back vulnerabilities and feelings of abandonment, as in a child. We then become empty, sad, filled with despair” adds our expert.
According to Dr. Tran, this is the case in people who do not have a sufficiently strong internal emotional base. “Grief weakens them, they are not able to cope. We see it in certain siblings, for example, when some experience grief more peacefully than others.“. For Dr. Tran, if this emotional state lasts, or if it gets worse and you are unable to get back on your feet several months after the loss of a loved one, you should not hesitate to consult a professional to be help.