Myra Sack

Photo courtesy Myra Sack

Editor's Note: Recently it was reported that the DSM-5 would include a new diagnosis "prolonged grief disorder," likely opening up new pathways for treatment, including therapy and medication. The inclusion, which has been debated for decades, is considered highly controversial by critics who say it stigmatizes and further isolates those living with grief. The following op-ed is a response to the decision. Upworthy has not taken an official stance on the decision but is sharing this article as a means of furthering the discussion about mental health, grief and how we as a culture and community address such challenges.



Dear Beauty,

I wonder if they understand that the root of the word "care" is from an Old High German term chara, meaning grief or lament. If only our healthcare system would let us hold our sorrow and help us understand that it moves and changes as we try to move through life after losing someone we love, too soon, too young.

When you were diagnosed with a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that we knew would destroy your mind and body, every assumption about what is right and natural and good in the world was shattered.

Despite having done extensive preconception genetic testing, a fatal mistake was made by a physician. The wrong test was ordered, and your dad‘s carrier status was misreported. Your life, the one that was supposed to be long and full and ever-changing, would last 12 to 18 more months if we were lucky. We’d never watch you grow-up. We’d never hear you talk. We’d never hold your hand to take a walk.

Today, 14 months after your death, the missing, the aching, the craving and the longing still exist just as much as it did on December 17, 2019, the day we learned you would die.

Now, the American Psychiatric Association has added prolonged grief disorder to the most recent version of Diagnostic Statistical Manual. Now, I live with the marker of a disorder. Am I grieving too long? Too deeply? Is it my fault that the world as I once knew it will never be the same again? Is it crazy that I don’t want it to be?


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