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Throughout this story, the narrator, Shaila, struggles with her version of grief. She is numb and calm, though she feels the despair rip through her heart. Her brain, trying to cope, places visions of her family around her. She hears their voices at night, some part of her still tightly holding on because “it is a parent’s duty to hope” (446). Shaila displays the stages of grief as she describes her journey after this attack. According to amhc.org, the stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

In the stage of denial, “grieving people are unable or unwilling to accept that the loss has taken place” (amhc.org). At first, she does not accept that her family is dead. She even goes as far as to hope that her son, a swimmer, has swum with his brother to a small island nearby.

She goes through the stage of anger when arguing with a uniformed customs man. Due to him not allowing Kusum to take the coffin of her loved one on board the plane, Shaila loses her temper. She shouts that he believes they are smuggling things they shouldn’t instead of just taking their dead home.

The stage of bargaining occurs when she sees her husband and speaks to him, asking him what she should do.  Shaila asks, “Shall I stay?” (442). Yearning for the advice of her dead loved one, she wonders what she should do when he answers, “You must finish alone what we started together” (442).

In depression, Shaila remains numb. She moves through her life not knowing what to do. It isn’t until she goes with Judith that she realizes her purpose is not to help other grieving people in that way.

It is during the stage of acceptance that “they have processed their initial grief emotions, are able to accept that the loss has occurred and cannot be undone, and are once again able to plan for their futures and re-engage in daily life” (amhc.org).

Then as I stood in the path looking north to Queen’s Park and west to the university, I heard the voices of my family one last time. Your time has come, they said. Go, be brave” (447).

I feel as though Shaila reached the acceptance stage in the quote above on page. She realizes that her family will be with her in everything she does and she is at peace. Though she didn’t necessarily go through all the stages of grief, every person is different and I feel she handled the loss of her family in a healthy manor. Shaila has changed her hope for her family coming back to one geared towards a future in which she can support charities and find something meaningful to do with her life.

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