The Grief of a Child, Soon Forgotten

zara's picture

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The above link will take you to a news story about a woman who worked at out local grocery store. Her name was Beth and Midget adored her. Every time that we would go to Ralphs, where Beth worked as a bagger, Midget would run up and hug her. Beth would stop in the middle of bagging items and hug her right back. And while I don't print my daughter's name here, Beth remembered it every single time.

We'd seen her there at the store for the last 3 years, always working hard, rushing down aisles to look up prices, bringing in carts in the rain. There were times that we saw her getting ready to leave, putting on her bicycle helmet and waving to her co-workers as she headed out the door.

There were times when we would stop to get a scratcher ticket and she would be getting one for herself as well. She never won much, she told me. Just enough to keep playing.

When my mother came home today with the local newspaper (odd that she had to buy one from the store that Beth worked at because the delivery guy got pissy and took my mom off the route because supposedly she hadn't paid her bill) and said, "Oh! I know this woman!" in the tone of voice that she uses when she's reading something shocking, my ears pricked up and I asked who.

"She worked for Ralphs as a bagger," my mother continued.

Without hesitation, Midget popped into the room, voice full of questioning. "Beth?" she asked. As far as Midget was concerned, there was only one bagger at the store.

"Yes, Beth Dunn. She was killed on Friday night when she was riding..."

"Her bike home," I finished. I felt that stone of recognition hit the bottom of my stomach.

"She's.... She's..." Midget paused, her eyes welling up instantly. "Dead?"

I dropped down and scooped her up, holding her while she started to sob. I don't know to what extent she realized what death meant at that moment. She was very young when my grandfather died, the last of our family members that we attended a funeral for. At 2 1/2, she hadn't gotten very many opportunities to interact with him. Her reactions were based more on reacting to my own grief than ones of her own.

But this was different. Beth was what Midget considered a friend. She was a constant in our lives, probably moreso than some relatives being that we would see Beth on a weekly basis.

I didn't quite know what to say. I was angry because the accident was hit-and-run and entirely unnecessary. I'd seen Beth ride her bike many times when I was out driving myself. I knew that she was careful. It was reported that the driver had run a red light when he hit her.

Midget sat down and drew a picture for Beth. She asked to take it to the grocery store with us the next time we go (I'm planning on doing that tomorrow). She's since promptly forgotten about the incident and turned into the human garbage disposal for the rest of the evening, constantly saying that she was hungry and going through every unknowing family member to get multiple snacks until she was eventually cut off.

But who am I to judge? Perhaps she was eating her way through her grief.

The man who hit Beth turned himself in today, around 3:30 in the afternoon, not too surprisingly after the newspaper reported the accident with a description of him and his truck. My mind wonders if he would have bothered to come forward if there had been less witnesses.

My mind also questions those who think he was brave for coming forward. That's just the criminal saying he's sorry after getting caught. He would have been braver to stay.

In fact, he would have been a whole lot cooler if he understood that there are more important things than getting somewhere a few seconds faster.

Please, I know it's a pain in the ass to wait. I drive for a living every day, picking up my guys and taking them to school and work. All I do during my work day is in-town driving. I know that you get hot, tired, frustrated and feel like that horse that sees the stables and just wants to get home.

You'll get home, believe me. Don't cost someone else the right of getting home as well.


JIm's picture

Been there, done that

Tough Reply...

I was 9 when I had my first "death" experience... My father died in my arms from a massive coronary..
The first death to a kid is VERY traumatic. They have no fuckin clue what to think. When Dad died, I stuck to Mom LIKE FUCKING GLUE for like 3 years because I was afraid she was gonna die, too..
In high school, we had a hell of a "Best Friend" gang. There was about 8 of us. But as I grew up, they all started to drop. One died in a car accident, one decided he was gonna shoot himself on the turnpike, one got washed overboard lobster fishing... etc, etc. I'm the only one out the 8 musketeers left at the bitch age of 38.

Getting to the point.. Midgets at the age of "WHAT THE FUCK???" Everything is new to her. Boys, school, and unfortunately, death...

The way my mom explained it to me is that the person who passed away isn't gone, they're just waiting for us upstairs, which I believe is true.

Midget is gonna experience death from here on out, like we all did. High school kids, family members, maybe a celebrity that she adores.
We all did... some more than others....

The only thing I would tell her, if she was my kid, is that the person that you lost may not be in front of you, but is always watching over you in the clouds, and you have nothing to worry about...

I don't know your daughter.. I really dont know you for that matter aside from radio shows, but after reading your blogs for almost a year, seein the funny pics, I can see you are a very heartfelt mom that could kick the dogshit out of a soccer mom in a heartbeat.. and that's a REAL mom.... lmao

Tell the midget that Beth's in the clouds watching her every move...

Love Ya, Z
Hug the midget..

Budo7's picture


A true waste, something that did not have to happen. The little one may have been eaten her way through it. One never can tell.
What can one say? Not much.


I hate to comment about this kind of thing because there is never any thing that anyone can do except say that they're there for you and maybe that they'll pray for you or some other over used phrase, I guess we just feel the need to acknowledge your pain and the fact that we wish that we could alleviate it some how.

dawn61036's picture

So sad, I'm really sorry.

So sad, I'm really sorry. Poor Midget.

Last summer a friend of mine and his girlfriend were out for the night when then got into an argument. Instead of bickering in public they decided to leave and go home.

On the way home the argument got even more intense and he asked her “to pull over and just let him out”, he was upset and decided that he would rather walk 2 miles than ride home with her. Knowing him he was probably going to stop at a few pubs on the way also. She was also just as upset, so she pulled over on the side of the road and let him go on his lonely way.

Then next morning she received a phone call that his body was found on the side of the road only about ¼ of a mile from where she dropped him off. It was a hit and run. He was wearing a black jacket and dark jeans. Both his legs were broken and his head was completely split open. Apparently someone came along, hit him and just continued on their way. As I said it was last summer and they still have no suspects.

I hope this person has sleepless nights.

Peace Love & many Smiles...Dawn

jomadd's picture

There are never words that

There are never words that soothe the grief of a lost loved one. We all feel so small at these times of pain. Wanting desperatly to find the right thing that can help just a little. Maybe it is that we all share the pain of knowing loss. Hugs to Midget and the loved ones of Beth.

I hope she now knows the lives she touched in a positive way.

May peace and understanding be with us all.

lrk1977's picture

Poor Midget

I'm sorry to hear your friend was killed by a selfish ass. I'm sorry Midget is hurting. I hate it when my children hurt and there is no amount of chocolate chip cookies or band-aids that can fix the pain. I know we can't shelter them forever, but sometimes - esp when it's stuff like this - it is hard not to try to protect them from the pain and grief. My thoughts are with you and Midget and Beth's family. Please give Midget a hug from us. :(

Lesley from Minnesota :)

SimplySam's picture


I really hate it when the reality of our mortality claws at the hearts of our babies so early on. And of loss in general...poor Midget. Poor you. Poor everyone whose lives Beth touched, especially her family. I think Midget's eating her way through today was just the first step of her grief.

Those idiots that drew up the 5 stages of grief were just that, idiots. They totally left out the eating phase...I know that's MY first and immediate stage of grief, (I am all too experienced in this area unfortunately. Uggg.). And I still haven't hit the "acceptance" stage of a couple of people that were very close to me...and I lost them many years ago.

Be prepared to answer questions at the most unexpected times. They are sure to pop out when you're not anticipating them, even years from now. I suggest using this awful occurrence as an early lesson in the importance of driver safety, road patience and consideration...She WILL remember it, those lil sponges absorb and remember everything. But..I'm betting you probably already thought of that, so my saying that is most likely redundant. *sigh*

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