Loved and Lost
In 1964, when the heart disease that had plagued her for years finally took Gracie's life, George Burns was inconsolable. The doctor asked Burns if he wanted to see Gracie one last time. "Of course I did," Burns says. "I wanted to stand next to her onstage and hear the audience laugh. I wanted to hear that birdlike voice. I wanted her to look up at me with her trusting eyes. I wanted to ask her just once more, 'Gracie, how's your brother?' "
For a time, Burns admits, "things were very, very bad for me. My life was Gracie. But then, about two months later, I started sleeping in her bed—we had twin beds—and things just started turning around for me."
At the age of 62, when most men are thinking of retiring, Burns found a new career. "I was retired when I worked with Gracie," he says. "I did nothing." Or as he puts it in the book: "For 40 years my act consisted of one joke, and then she died." A successful nightclub act that snowballed into TV appearances and movie roles proved that Burns could be funny on his own.
I like this story of George and Gracie because it exemplifies the process of grief. An inconsolable loss, followed by awful times. And then--if we are fortunate-- new opportunities and new joy emerge.
Beginning on September 16th Pinnacle is offering a new program called “Loved and Lost.” L&L is a grief support group which will meet monthly on the third Tuesdays of each month. Someone commented that a joy shared is a joy doubled and a sorrow shared is a sorrow halved.