Grief is by and large a private affair: those suffering will do so in private, often putting on a ‘brave’ face to others partly just to get them through the hours.
It is rare, therefore, to see a man acknowledge his daily suffering as openly as did Lord Saatchi in a moving interview with The Sunday Times last month.
Maurice Saatchi’s wife, poet Josephine Hart, died of ovarian cancer in June last year, and Saatchi struggles daily with her loss. When at their home he visits her tomb every morning to have breakfast with her, and continues to lay her place at their table. “I’ve never experienced grief before”, he told the paper, “this is an incomparable nightmare”.
Saatchi objects to the idea that the bereaved should ‘move on’, calling it ” a monstrous act of betrayal”. In his honesty, he will have done a favour to many bereaved individuals, who feel that society expects them to behave normally when all they feel is the loneliness of grief.
Continuing to talk to his wife daily, and publishing a posthumous book on poets under her name, Saatchi keeps his wife alive, whilst he is also seeking to change the law to help protect doctors who trial new treatments so that some good can come from her death.
Lord Saatchi echoes the sentiments of many when he says that he cannot foresee a time when grief will not dominate his life, nor does he object to that. It seems both respectful and rational that two people who have loved and spent so much time together should forever miss that union. And it is helpful that so successful and public a figure as Lord Saatchi should be prepared to voice that feeling.
For full interview see Bryan Appleyard’s article.