A complicated grief

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Every man, some woman’s son,

Every death-dealing, criminal, toe-rag,

Every fanatical, murdering bastard,

Once a laughing toddler, a smiling child,

And in one woman’s eyes will always be,

The clear-eyed, polite, obedient boy,

Who carried the groceries up five flights of stairs,

And watched the stars on moonless nights.

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

8 thoughts on “A complicated grief”

  1. Well written, Jane. I watched a documentary about an English mother whose son became a Jihadi and it was heartbreaking. Just an everyday family. Nothing out of the ordinary aprt from the usual marriage breakdown, losing a job. He died. The documentary was excellent as it really took you through the mother’s emotions…her heartbreak, shame and then remembering her little boy. She is now campaigning to prvent young men like her son from being radicalised. As a Mum, I always think of the good things my kids might become but I guess there’s always the snakes along with the ladders although that usually runs along the lines of unplanned pregnancy, running away not becoming a terrorist and killing innocent civilians.

    1. I don’t want to minimise individual responsibility. In fact it makes it worse, knowing what your supposed ‘ideals’ are inflicting on the people who will forgive whatever you do and love you in spite of it.

  2. How can a few years change someone so much? I pity a mother who has to go through something like this… you would always blame yourself, examine every little detail of your life to find the trigger that turned him, that ‘excuses’ him. At the end of the day there is no excuse for killing, and more killing in retaliation does not make it right. No one wants the hard work, killing is easier.

    1. It seems as though it needs hardly any time at all for some kid to turn from a life and soul of the party type to a veiled/bearded fanatic prepared to kill as many complete unknowns as Allah delivers to them. Frightening. But despite what they do, someone, some mother still loves them and still weeps for them.

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