on inserting yourself into grief

Inserting Yourself Into GriefSometimes there are things that happen that don’t make sense. Trying to understand the why’s and how’s is exhausting and infuriating. What sits here is sadness. Deep, deep sadness. I am not a lawyer nor will I claim to be any sort of expert at law or the events of the trial or the night of the death of young Trayvon Martin. I am simply a mother.

I am a white mother with a white son and my grief and sorrow and perceived injustice are as big as I can comprehend and yet it is nothing. It is a drop of water in the ocean of grief and bone-weary pain that a mother with a black son or daughter is feeling right now. I sit here with my head shaking and my fingers furiously typing to find the next essay or article to email or share on my social wall but when I look at my son I do not gasp with fear the way I hear so many gasping for the future of their children today.

I want to jump into the rush of emotions and offer support and encircle friends who are aching today with unconditional love. I wrote to friends last night and it felt like the right thing to do.

Today it feels obnoxious. How dare I?

I can never understand what it means to feel this dread, this angst, this panic, this fear. That I dared insert myself into other people’s grief is pathetic.

And yet I grieve. I am not a black mother. I will never know, fully know, truly know. But I am sorry for your loss.


  1. Dresden, this is a beautifully written post in the mist of such a terrible situation. I totally understand what you are saying. To be honest, Trayvon could have been any of our sons. In this day and time, racism is not just towards blacks. Yes, I would say we are the main targets, but still…

    At any rate, you are a mother. A mother who knows how any mother would feel at the loss of a child. Your pain is as real as ours and is just as valid.

    Hug your baby! Love you hun:-)

  2. You aren’t inserting yourself into grief. You are a parent and can feel the pain that mothers are expressing. No, you will never have to teach your child the code of living while black, but you still understand that parents are in pain. I thank you for understanding that part of the pain is being a mom and loving your son.

  3. You don’t have to be a black mother to understand the terrible injustice, the fear, the outrage. I am not a mother at all, and I have been angry, and grieving, and frustrated, and horrified, and a whole range of emotions that I am not quite sure how to express. I understand what you’re saying, though. We had an unheard of cool rainy day today, in mid July in Texas, and I defiantly wore a lightweight hoodie, and then thought it was ridiculous to insert myself into tragedy. But I’m not. I am standing up and saying something is wrong. It’s broken, so badly broken that it defies sense.

  4. Thank you.

  5. Never apologize for spreading a little more love and empathy into the world. Black, white, son, daughter, we all hug our children a little tighter tonight. Love to you.

  6. I think what you are feeling is normal because every mother fears for the safety of their children. I have nephews and my sister’s and I was saying how thankful we are to live in Canada. Not because there is no racism but because there are strict firearms laws. Both race and lax gun laws played a role. As a black mother and aunt to black nephews, what you expressed gave me hope, because you saw that young man as just that, a young man, as someone’s child who died needlessly. That’s not inserting yourself, that is empathy and humanity. Thank you.

  7. Gabrielle says:

    I’m catching up on the blogs I follow.

    Frankly how dare you not insert yourself. Seriously. How dare we as Americans and fellow human beings whether you are white, black, latino, asian, native american, ect not insert yourself. The fact remains that a grown man followed a child and killed him. That fact does not change whether it was a stand your ground law or an accident. A child is dead.

    I wish that more people of all colors would insert themselves into the grief of his parents, his family, his girlfriend, and his friends. Perhaps if we all showed a little more empathy and understanding things like this wouldn’t happen. Our kids wouldn’t be gunned down in such senseless violence of any kind.

    If more people inserted themselves into the reason this particular child was followed and accosted because of people’s inherent racist assumptions (that frankly we all have to one degree or another regardless of race), perhaps we wouldn’t have so parents of color worrying about their child being assaulted or murdered simply because they were the wrong color.

    As a mom of color of a young black hispanic child, thank you for inserting yourself.


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