Grief is a process that every individual deals with in different ways. While many variations of handling grief exist, no wrong or right method prevails. Unfortunately problems arise when a person’s approach to coping with the loss of a loved one greatly affects other members of their family. Such is the case in Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones. Susie Salmon’s parents, Jack and Abigail, find it nearly impossible to deal with the loss of their teenage daughter. As evidence proving that Susie has been murdered continues to mount, Abigail holds on to a small shred of hope through the words “[n]othing is ever certain” (Sebold 20), while Jack is determined to find Susie’s killer. During this time, Lindsey Salmon, Susie’s sister, is forced to work through her grief on her own. In situations involving both her family and her peers, as well as herself, Lindsey Salmon indeed suffers the most.
Lindsey, only one year younger than Susie, is a constant reminder of what has been lost to those who are suffering in the wake of Susie’s death. As Susie watches from her heaven, she comments on how when “people [look] at Lindsey…they [see] me” (59). Lindsey goes through “the Walking Dead Syndrome—when other people see the dead person” (59) instead of seeing Lindsey for herself. Lindsey cannot escape the effects of the syndrome either. She begins to “[avoid] mirrors” (59) and take “her showers in the dark” (59). Lindsey only allows herself to think of Susie after her showers as she is ensconced in the steam and darkness. This private mourning for her sister is done in the hopes that an end will come to the Walking Dead Syndrome and she will be seen as Lindsey once again.
Lindsey’s anguish persists as she attends a statewide gifted symposium during the summer following Susie’s murder. Upon arriving at the symposium, Lindsey continues her attempts to rid herself of the Walking Dead Syndrome by drawing a picture of a fish on her nametag instead of branding herself by...
Cited: Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. Boston: Little, Brown And Company, 2002.
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