Ina Kelleher

The Everyday Lives of Grieving Mothers

The murder of a child is devastating for any family. For poor families of color, however, the loss of a child can lead to major emotional, social, and economic upheaval. My preliminary research shows that youth homicide is uniquely destabilizing for low-income Black and Latina mothers, who head the majority of low-income households. My ethnographic research suggests that the murder of their child punctuates years of hardship as low-income mothers struggle to raise children in the face of gang violence, police harassment, poverty, and unstable housing. Indeed, many mothers describe the loss of their child as both uniquely painful and “more of the same”. Structural inequalities, as well as their traumatic histories, compound poor mother’s grief, resulting in long and complicated bereavement processes. This research reveals how social, political, and economic structures operate in concert with personal histories of trauma to shape the emotional worlds of bereaving Black and Latina mothers.