The Grieving Process of Abigail The Lovely Bones is written by Alice SeBold and is about a young girl named Susie who was brutally murdered by her next door neighbor, Mr. Harvey. No one suspected Mr. Harvey in the beginning, but with Susie’s help from the beyond, he became the lead suspect. Susie began to send clues to her family from heaven, but the problem was that only her father, brother and sister could connect with her and feel her presence. This problem expanded quickly and because of it, tore the family apart. Abigail, Susie’s mother, became the one torn from the family.
Abigail dealt with Susie’s death differently than everyone else in the Salmon family. Abigail’s grieving process was slower than everyone else’s grieving process. Abigail becomes the antagonist in the novel and becomes the one character that can’t face Susie’s death. When the Salmon family first finds out that Susie is indeed dead, Abigail responds by being depressed, she is sad and shocked by the fact that her oldest child and first daughter is actually gone and will never be coming back, and much like the rest of the Salmon family, she demands answers on who, why and how her daughter, Susie was murdered. My mother sat on a hard chair by the front door with her mouth open. Her pale face paler than I had ever seen it. Her blue eyes staring” (Sebold 11). Abigail can’t believe that Susie is gone. Things like this don’t happen to a family like hers. She doesn’t know what to do or say at this moment. Abigail remains depressed throughout certain points in the novel. “You look invincible” (Sebold 211). Abigail wishes that she could be as strong as Lindsey.
Abigail calls her invincible because she wishes that she could be as strong and able to care for the family and deal with Susie’s death like Lindsey. “Nothing is ever certain” (Sebold 20). Jack was the one who gave Abigail this idea, but she clings on to this saying as if somewhere out there, Susie is alive, despite the recent evidence. Abigail goes through the denial stage of grief and puts her defenses up to protect herself from the truth. “How can you be sure he killed these other girls” (Sebold 291). It seems as if Abigail was trying to defend Mr.
Harvey. She doesn’t want to hear about Susie’s case anymore and she’s not interested in who killed her daughter, she just wants to be able to move on with her life. Abigail goes through the grief stages of anger and bargaining. Abigail becomes frustrated with her family and their pursuit of Susie’s killer. Abigail then begins to bargain with the one man that could solve the mystery that surrounds the death of Susie. “I don’t know what to say…we have a family, a family and a son and I’m going” (Sebold 185).
Abigail is pushed to her limit and she’s done with her family’s foolishness. She wants to move on but her family and Susie are holding her back. “How can I be expected to be trapped by a man frozen in time” (Sebold 276). Abigail doesn’t want to be with a person who’s still dwelling on their daughter’s murder and not moving on. “I just want it to be spoken out loud by somebody. To have it said aloud. I’m ready, I wasn’t before” Abigail is looking for comfort from someone who isn’t dwelling on the past.
Len provides her this comfort but really she’s just burying her feelings towards Susie deep inside. Abigail doesn’t fully accept the fact that Susie is dead and gone and will no longer return. She pushes her family away and takes herself away from the situation by moving to California to begin a new life. She becomes estranged from her family and her family becomes estranged from her. Although deep inside Abigail misses her daughter Susie, she will never be able to accept her death fully because she goes through too much of the denial and bargaining stages of grief.
Abigail isn’t in touch with her emotions, like her husband Jack is, and she acts out in a destructive way which damages her relationship between her and her family. Works Cited Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones. Boston: Little, Brown & Company, 2002. Print. Dombeck, Mark, and Kathryn Patricelli. “Introduction to Grief and Bereavement Issues. ” _Introduction to Grief and Bereavement Issues_. Print. Ross, Elisabeth Kubler. “Five Stages of Grief. ” Death & Dying. Print.