Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Section 1: Pages 1-63
Reaction- The ability, or disability, to cope with death really fascinates me. In pages 30-34, a horrible event strikes the Greene family: Annabel’s maternal grandmother dies. Before her death, although they lived on opposite coasts of the United States, Annabel’s mother, Grace, and her mother were extremely close. Every morning, they would talk on the phone about things that didn’t seem important, but in essence they meant everything to Grace. Upon the death of her mother, Grace began to look more tired and less perky as usual. Gradually, she got worse; some days, she would not even get out of bed. This sort of response to death occurs a lot in the world today; especially if it is the parent who dies. Many people go into extreme depression, becoming a completely different person than they had previously been- a sadder person. Many do not sleep and try to occupy their minds with structured activities, while others, like Grace, sleep all day. Both help the “victim” attempt to forget about the past. But this is, in my opinion, unhealthy. One must face the fact that their parent is gone straight on in order to cope with the death and eventually move on with their lives, as difficult as it may be. To relate to my own life, both my paternal grandparents died in the same year when I was in 7th grade. Although my father seemed fine and unmoved, you could see the sadness in his eyes and the slight croaking in his voice. My mom told me he did not sleep for days. Every time I saw him, he had a crossword puzzle in his lap and a cup of coffee in his hand. He did not cope well with the death of his parents very quickly until he finally faced the facts and stopped trying to be in denial of their absence. In the book, too, Grace eventually begins to go to therapy and gradually, her life goes back to normal.