My Sister's Keeper Questions and Answers
by Jodi Picoult

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Is there evidence that suggests Sara needed help in negotiating the grief or mourning process

Sara expresses extreme grief after the loss of her daughter Anna. She expresses that she was not prepared to lose this daughter and that there are no words to describe how she is feeling. Her other daughter Kate explains that after the loss Sara cried all the time and initially did not keep up the house. These descriptions all suggest that Sara could have used help negotiating the mourning process.

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Sara Fitzgerald is overwhelmed by grief at the loss of her daughter Anna. Her response to Anna’s sudden death is understandable, yet also may suggest that she needs help negotiating the process of mourning. For example, consider what she says to her husband Brian when she goes into the hospital room to see Anna one last time. As the narrator she explains that she cried and sobbed, saying “But she wasn’t supposed to” to her husband. This line indicates that one of the reasons this death is extra hard for Sara is because she was unprepared for it. Sara had spent years fighting to keep her other daughter Kate alive, and in a way that had prepared her to expect Kate’s death. But Anna’s death completely shook Sara’s world, and her inability to comprehend this change suggests that she will need help negotiating this complex loss.

It is also interesting to note what Sara says before describing this scene in the hospital room. “In the English language there are orphans and widows, but there is no word for the parent who loses a child.” This line suggests that Sara feels her emotions are indescribable. It also reinforces that she was unprepared to face such an extreme loss, which suggests that she will need help navigating her emotions.

In the last chapter of the book, Kate explains that her mother cried constantly after Anna’s death and that her father worked and drank a lot. She also mentions that it was not until the family ran out of every last morsel fo food that her mother went to the grocery store. Kate’s descriptions also highlight how difficult the mourning process was for Sara and how she could have used help negotiating it.