My perception is that the word "privilege" here has something to do with "gift" , as if being able to mourn freshly for somebody after many years he or she had died is like a gift , it is an advantage but because they were used to this pain so it was no longer a surprise for them , they could not cry. Emmotinally disablled, The thing is that is all my perception, I was not able to find it in any dictionary, except for denying a privilege that was like ignoring something important.

...photograph of my mother, larger than life and draped with a tuberose garland, hung on their living-room wall. “She’s not with us, Didun,” I said, and it was only then that both my grandparents broke down, grieving freshly for my mother as neither my father nor I had done. Being with her through her illness day after day had denied us that privilege.

  • A synonym here might be prerogative.
    – TimR
    Aug 18, 2017 at 17:36
  • How can we simplify this?
    – user5036
    Aug 18, 2017 at 17:37
  • 1
    If we simplify we risk losing something. Having to be with her mother day after day as the illness progressed, and having to deal with the practical realities of suffering and impending death, had denied her the opportunity to experience pure grief.
    – TimR
    Aug 18, 2017 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


My interpretation of this is that grieving for a loved one is a privilege insofar as it lets the grievers get all their emotions out and get on with their lives, but not everyone has the time to do that.

Most people, if they knew their mother was dying, would begin to grieve. But the speaker here, and his (her?) father didn't have time to be sitting around crying because they were too busy caring for their mother/wife every day. They had to be put their emotions aside and be strong to continue caring for her because her needs were greater than theirs – she was dying and actually needed help, whether it was just to get around or to continue to survive, but the speaker and father didn't need to grieve, they just wanted to. They were sad, but they weren't going to die if they didn't stop to grieve.

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