Sophie Freud was Freud’s fifth daughter.
She married a distant relative from Hamburg, with no wealth or distinction. Sophie died on the 25th January 1920 from complications brought on by the Spanish Flu. She left a husband and two sons. Freud was unable to visit her as there were no trains.
Sophie’s young son always a weak child died in 1922.
Freud called it an “irreparable narcissistic wound”. He consoled a colleague, whose child had also died “We know that the acute sorrow we feel after such a loss will run its course, but also that we will remain inconsolable, and will never find a substitute. No matter what may come to take its place, even should it fill that place completely, it remains something else. And that is how it should be. It is the only way of perpetuating a love that we do not want to abandon.”
This version of grief is anti-modern. In our era of resolving and moving on Freud poignantly reveals death as ever present and part of a life experience which will never die. The understatement and emotional reality of death and its pain keeping the dead loved one in the bereaved’s life.
Just like his ambition of common unhappiness, he revealed a measured, and limited view of human nature. Transference locks us into a life that was imprinted upon us at an early age. But through Freud’s work we understand this – not as a limitation but as beautiful and limitless.
Sophie Freud 1893-1920
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