34 pages 1 hour read

Jacqueline Woodson

Miracle's Boys

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1996

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The Grieving Process

One of the internal struggles shared by all three of the Bailey brothers is reckoning with the death of their mother. The impact of her death is confounded by its unexpected nature and made worse because it follows the death of the boys’ father. Flashback scenes depicting Milagros interacting with her sons convey the closeness of her bond to each of the boys. Lafayette, as the narrator and main character, grieves for her the hardest. This is largely due to his discovering her body after she passed away. Lafayette continuously dwells on the fact that he had gone to his mother to request she make him breakfast—he cannot separate this request, and his need for her to help him, with the guilt he feels as he mourns his mother. Lafayette is later able to work with a psychologist, Dr. Vernon, who ultimately helps Lafayette through the grieving process. Initially, Lafayette is reluctant to speak or to share any of the things that he is feeling. He notes, however, how good he feels when Dr. Vernon touches him softly and speaks kindly to him. This suggests that even though Dr. Vernon cannot bring his mother back, nor remove the sense of guilt Lafayette feels, having someone acknowledge his pain and sadness helps to alleviate it.