Anna Nicole Smith’s death fascinates me. For one reason the public reaction to the death is as intense as the death itself. The public craves to know why and how she died. We want to blame something. A sudden death leaves people with many unanswered questions and it can affect grieving for years. The idea that a death can occur for no apparent reason is just unacceptable.
As a licensed clinical social worker who thought I was well trained in death and dying issues, I was stumped when my husband died at age 35 nearly the same way as Anna Nicole. Mike was nearly 36, tall thin and healthy and his heart just stopped. It all happened in an instant. There were no drugs. No alcohol. No answers. 18 years have passed since that tragedy and I am still left with unanswered questions.
I suspect the same will happen with? Anna Nicole Smith. So how do we cope when we cannot explain? How do we reach a level of acceptance that sometimes we just don’t have all of the answers? How do we heal pain and loss when it’s unexplainable?
Many years since my own personal tragedy tells me that? our profession is in need of tools to help people cope with the unexplainable. I found some answers through organizing teddy bears into a model to help heal pain. I haven’t seen anything work any better.
I don’t claim to have all of the answers. Does anybody? Sometimes there just aren’t answers. We don’t know. We can’t explain the unexplainable of a sudden death. Our goal as treatment providers is to help reach a level of acceptance of that which we have no answers.
Anna Nicole Smith’s death remains a mystery. While an autopsy is being conducted, I suspect when it’s all said and done so much about this loss will continue to puzzle us. It’s time to help people figure out how to reach acceptance when we just can’t explain it all.
Anna Nicole Smith, may you be in peace and may the public reach a level of acceptance for that which we have no answers.
Tammy Stoner is a licensed clinical social worker and trained family therapist. She has developed a tool applying teddy bears to help heal pain and loss. More information can be found at her website at http://www.interactiveteddybears.com