Poem of the Day: Scary Movies
Jul 31st, 2017 by

Today the cloud shapes are terrifying,   
and I keep expecting some enormous   
black-and-white B-movie Cyclops   
to appear at the edge of the horizon,
to come striding over the ocean   
and drag me from my kitchen   
to the deep cave that flickered   
into my young brain one Saturday
at the Baronet Theater where I sat helpless   
between my older brothers, pumped up   
on candy and horror—that cave,
the litter of human bones
gnawed on and flung toward the entrance,   
I can smell their stench as clearly
as the bacon fat from breakfast. This   
is how it feels to lose it—
not sanity, I mean, but whatever it is   
that helps you get up in the morning
and actually leave the house
on those days when it seems like death
in his brown uniform
is cruising his panel truck
of packages through your neighborhood.   
I think of a friend’s voice
on her answering machine—
Hi, I’m not here—
the morning of her funeral,   
the calls filling up the tape
and the mail still arriving,
and I feel as afraid as I was
after all those vampire movies   
when I’d come home and lie awake
all night, rigid in my bed,
unable to get up
even to pee because the undead   
were waiting underneath it;
if I so much as stuck a bare
foot out there in the unprotected air   
they’d grab me by the ankle and pull me   
under. And my parents said there was
nothing there, when I was older   
I would know better, and now   
they’re dead, and I’m older,   
and I know better.
Kim Addonizio, “Scary Movies” from What Is This Thing Called Love. Copyright © 2004 by Kim Addonizio. Reprinted with the permission of W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., www.nortonpoets.com.

Source: Poetry March 2000

Kim Addonizio

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Emotional Responses You Can Expect from a Grieving Child
Oct 2nd, 2011 by Aldouspi

Emotional Responses You Can Expect from a Grieving Child

Children and adults grieve in different ways. Most adults are adept at getting a handle on the process but children usually have some trouble. There are quite a number of emotional responses they may display to the world. You, as the adult, have to work hard to recognize them and make some allowances for the child's behavior. It takes some understanding from adults to help children learn how to grieve properly.

Feelings of Sorrow

When children feel sad, they typically cry. Some kids are emotionally transparent and tears can flow no matter where they are. These children are unabashedly open and deal with grief better than most. Some children are self-contained and won't want to cry in front of friends. They often bottle up their feelings until such time they feel safe enough to let it all out with a good cry.

Wearing Mad Well

Being mad is a common response to grief. Many children feel it is unfair that a loved one or even a beloved pet has died and they get pretty ticked off about it. Some children will find it easier to express their anger, particularly at someone or something else other than the true source. This displacement of anger is common. Lucky is the child who has an adult in their life who recognizes this and broaches the subject with the child.

Guilty Feelings

Some children will feel guilty and think that they did something to make a loved one die. They will associate some perceived wrong they did with the death of a loved one. For instance, if they refused to make their bed one morning and their parent who told them to do it died the same day, chances are the child will think that if only they made that bed, their parent would still be alive. It will take an outstanding adult to help a child with guilty feelings get over them.

Fear and Insecure Feelings

Death can be quite scary for a child, particularly when the loved one is close to them, like a parent or sibling. They will feel insecure and not feel safe. They worry that they will not be taken care of. Some parents may be wrapped up in the death of a loved one and unknowingly neglect their child. This child may act out in order to gain attention or even turn into a little adult to "ease the burden" for their parent.

Anxiousness is a by-product of a child's fear and insecurities just as much as worrying. Children worry about a lot of things but when a death occurs, they worry whether or not any other loved ones are going to die leaving them alone. They worry about whether the family has enough money to live and they may even worry about their parents and how they are coping.

Helplessness and Inner Turmoil

A child may feel helpless in light of a death, particularly if it is a close loved one like a parent, sibling or even grandparent. They may not understand death is forever and will continue to ask for them. It will take time to assimilate the fact that their loved one is not coming back.

Some children don't know how to react or display grief properly. Children may even begin to act out of character like forget important things to do when they are normally organized or they may start failing school when they used to be on the honor roll. Their grief may manifest itself in drawing frenzied pictures or in uncharacteristic disruptive behavior.

Shock, loneliness, longing, irritability, feelings of abandonment and even relief are other common responses from kids in the face of grief. Their situation, mental well-being and support from family all play a part in how grief manifests itself in a child. It is up to the adults in their life to help them through this difficult time.

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