Loss, Grief and Self-Blame

I went to see Foxtrot today, an intense and moving Israeli film about grief and loss which was directed by Samuel Maoz. At the film’s onset a mother and father learn that their son, a soldier, has died in the line of duty. You can watch the trailer here

There is much that I could say about the film, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will share that the film was inspired by a true event in the director’s life. His daughter asked for money for a taxi one day when she was running late, but he declined to give it to her, instead telling her to take the bus. The bus was hit by a terrorist attack. He thought that he had sent her to her death. After several hours of believing that his daughter was dead he learned that she missed the bus, and that she was safe. His experience of that day inspired the film.

My thoughts about Maoz’s experience led to this post. In some scenarios we too might somehow, inadvertently, be involved or implicated in the planning of an event which turns into a tragedy. We would not be at fault, but our involvement would probably make the loss more complex to mourn. Maoz’s sentiment that he had “sent his daughter to her death” illustrates the self-blame that he experienced, even though one can rationally deduce that he was blameless.

I don’t think that it is uncommon, after a loss, for us to think about ways in which the scenario could have played out differently, and ways that the loss could have been avoided. We also might fixate upon ways that we could have prevented the loss. We think “If only.”

When blame surfaces up after a loss, self-blame or the blame of others, it can create a terrible burden which complicates the mourning process.

Please see the film: it is a thoughtful and profound portrayal of grief and loss.




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