SURVIVOR GUILT

She was two years old , he was four years . He crossed the street to reach mother faster than  her and a lorry ran over him. The little girl had forgotten her small vocabulary of words after this . She did not eat much , she had even stopped walking , there was a reversal of milestones, she was crawling. We all tried to get the pearl out of the shell . One day I took a toy lorry and got two dolls to cross the road safely . She walked all of a sudden made the lorry to run over the girl doll with fury. As I looked into those haunted baby eyes , I heard the eloquent speech of survivor guilt …

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10 thoughts on “SURVIVOR GUILT

  1. i love the twist in this story. to watch your so killed, and then watch your daughter lose her power of speech is more than enough to reverse a mother’s milestone. in a society where the male is more important, her hatred lay dormant for years until elicited by the toy lorry – she thinks should’ve killed the girl instead. but the surviving girl-child has survivor guilt … too. simply intelligent storytelling.

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    1. I was highlighting the fact that guilt can be preverbal too. The child was two years old , yet knew that whatever happened was unjust, The biggest problem of accepting injustice is you feel you are part of the wrong , hence the guilt.

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  2. i got that – and the story is powerful on that level. but in reading it, i see in your story, yet another level, which makes it just as powerful as the first level of reading. this is just my take. it takes absolutely nothing from your brilliant story. i have read it countless times since you posted it, and each time it still fascinates me that this story can be read from both the mother and the child’s perspective without demeaning it’s powerful message.

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    1. Thank you so much for your valuable inputs. As always this story is based on real life incident. I was the child psychiatrist working in a team of seniors and psychologists. I felt play therapy worked well with small children. It is an established mode of treatment. Mother was also clinically depressed , she had undergone tubectomy , so wanted to recanalize her tubes , yes she was in complicated grief too. But I wrote this story to elucidate that sense of universal justice can be present in a baby of 2 years !
      I was astounded and humbled by this insight. Wanted to share this.
      I am sorry , I did not focus on the mother in this story. Being flash fiction , I wanted a single focus. Thank you once more for reading it again and commenting. It is invaluable. Without a sensitive reader , a story is incomplete.

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