Guilt and Grief
In the August 25, 2019 article “I Couldn’t Say ‘My Mother’ Without Crying” by Hope Edelman, the topic of childhood grief is heavily discussed. Edelman describes the difficulty found in dealing with grief of a child specifically in the case of the loss of a parent. Edelman briefly discusses how the closeness of the grieving to the deceased effects the pungency of a loss. However, I feel that an emphasis must be applied when discussing the loss of someone who is not one’s parent. The uncertainty of the relationship between the deceased and the one grieving can cause more strife to the suffering child. While closeness of one to the deceased may influence the child, the closeness of others can hold just as much effect on the grief process.
In 2012 a friend of mine was declared missing and was eventually found to have been killed. Coming from a small town, everyone spoke on the subject and everyone seemed to have their own stories. When speaking on my friend’s passing, however rarely I did or do, I always emphasize that I was not her best friend. We played soccer together, we had sleepovers, we went to each other’s parties, we sat next to each other in classes, but for some reason I felt unjust in claiming any part of her. Having such a mindset, I became guilty over the amount of grief I was feeling. I would often think, “what right do I have to feel so much pain when her sister is undoubtedly suffering worse.” Dealing with a traumatic loss and feelings of guilt over grieving led to several changes of personality that are still apparent in me today. Seeing other’s dealing with or not dealing with their grief brings an uncertainty to the validation of a child’s own feelings.
While Edelman’s article captures the difficulties of facing grief as a child, it does not show the effect that the grief of others also holds on a child. Being someone who was undoubtedly changed by the loss of someone close to me, I find that it is just as important to validate the grief felt by a child as it is to help the child grow through their loss. If other negative feelings are eliminated, it is much less gut wrenching for a child to process their loss.