Compare and contrast the wife and husband's ways of grieving in "Home Burial".

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The wife's response is to honor her son's memory by looking back:

He saw her from the bottom of the stairs
Before she saw him. She was starting down,
Looking back over her shoulder at some fear.
She took a doubtful step and then undid it
To raise herself and look again.

In looking back, she holds on to the memory of her lost son. She looks longingly at his small grave, no doubt recalling the times she nursed him, held him, and comforted him. The wife believes there is honor in the remembrances.

The father, however, wishes to move forward. His wife accuses him of not caring about their son because of the quick way he seemed to move on after digging the child's little grave:

You could sit there with the stains on your shoes
Of the fresh earth from your own baby’s grave
And talk about your everyday concerns.

The wife believes that by focusing on the world of the living, her husband disrespects the loss they have endured.

The wife also doesn't want to talk about their son with her husband. She wishes to constantly avoid her husband, telling him, "I must get out of here. I must get air." Her husband, on the other hand, wants to talk about their shared loss, begging her to stay: "Amy! Don’t go to someone else this time." As Amy emotionally pulls away from him, her husband doesn't know how to reach her and heal their pain; his words certainly aren't reaching her.

Yet they both do feel the loss, and it causes them both great pain. The husband asserts, "And it’s come to this, / A man can’t speak of his own child that’s dead." Meanwhile, Amy keeps looking backback at the grave, back at the child she had, back at the spade her husband used to bury their child. The way they process grief is different, but both parents mourn the son they have lost.

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