Cultural Analysis and Social Theory
Taking its starting point from the death and complicated mourning of the author’s own child, this article provides a meditation on the loss of a toddler. It was inspired by the lack of materials specific to the loss of a toddler, and on the complicated work of making meaning around the death of a child. The article is itself a work of mourning, drawing indirectly from theoretical work on trauma and mourning in order to begin to carve out a space for thinking about the specificities of the loss of a toddler. It asks questions about what it means to grieve for a child and what social and cultural demands serve to further complicate this process. As a meditation, it asks what helps and hinders the process of producing a narrative around the loss of a toddler as a means of consolation. It also suggests that the isolations of the work of mourning requires a narrative—a performative “telling”—to turn the thought that thought cannot tolerate, the death of a child, into something that may be communicated to both the self and others.
Ironstone, Penelope, "When Isaak Was Gone: An Auto-Ethnographic Meditation on Mourning a Toddler" (2005). Cultural Analysis and Social Theory Faculty Publications. 1.