Foolish Child #76: You Don’t Need to Justify Your Grief

I want to be very clear about what this comic means: You do not need to justify your grief. Person 1: "This is making me unbearably sad... and I don't know why." Person 2: "You lost an important part of your past. Someone who shaped you. Helped you become you." Person 1: "I didn't even know them... what right do I have to feel grief over this? It's not my loss." Person 2: "You don't need a right. If you lost an eye, would you need the right to feel pain?" Person 1: "That's... pretty graphic." Person 2: "You're right. Let me put it this way... I didn't know I COULD grieve, but over a decade of answering emergency calls has shown me how I grieve, even how I AVOID grief, almost every day." Person 2: "I don't KNOW the people that I talk to. They're a part of my life for minutes. But what I do know is my life has been shaped by their lives. And even more so by the tragedies. There is so much grief there. It is real. It is valid." Person 2: "And so is yours." [Person 1 hugs Person 2] Person 2: "Oh we're hugging. Okay. This is happening."

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I am a queer coparenting mama to Dickens Jr. Doodler by day, 911 dispatcher by night. All my favorite shows look better on Tumblr. I am two years and 450K words deep into constructing a fanfic called Ages and I'm never giving up on it. Bering & Wells.

Alana has written 123 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for putting this into words; it’s comforting. Gosh, I‘m definitely feeling this now about Naya Rivera’s death. Especially on the first day, but even now sometimes, I found myself randomly breaking out into tears and not being able to stop, throughout the day. My mind was always far away. I kept watching and listening videos of her. At first I was in shock and didn’t feel much, but then it all came rushing out and I could barely stand it. I would run off into my room to sob for a minute before coming back out and having to maintain civility. And I beat myself up about it, “How dare you feel this way? You didn’t even know her? You are grieving a version of someone who only existed in your mind. There are others who are SO much more deserving of sympathy.” I guess I felt like I was infringing on them. But this has made me realize how often I deny myself permission to feel, have some excuse or another that I’m not worthy and beat myself up about it. While of course others should be recognized, that doesn’t mean my personal feelings are not valid, it’s not like they’re hurting anyone. And at the end of the day, I am alive and she is not. She who was so beautiful, who was the first I ever fantasized about sexually. Who’s character let me take a breath, helped me to understand that I could be okay, that this could be okay. Difficult, but “okay,” and joyous. I dreamed of her more times than I can count, and in a weird, lonely way, she was my first kiss. I can’t believe she’s gone. It’s definitely made me more grateful to be alive, made me savor it more. Sent everything into sharper focus. Because life can be taken away just like that. And that also makes me feel guilty, like I’m profiting off her tragedy, turning it into a lesson for my own gain. But I don’t know what else there is to do other than take from it what I can, pay respects to those who are grieving (especially, of course, her family) and keep living. Anyway, I don’t know if this makes any sense. I’m just trying to work through my thoughts and feelings, and wanted to let you know that your comic was helpful.

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