A long time ago, there was this boy who lived happily with his parents.One day, as his parents weeded their “nduma” garden by the river, they were mauled by Njoruma-a dangerous water dragon that lived in the river.The boy’s heart broke into shreds like a pot thrust into a rock.

After being orphaned, the young lad went to live with his grandmother.Anytime he was free, he went to the river and searched for Njoruma.One day, he came home hauling a fat monstrosity.

“Cucu, look! I have killed the Njoruma.The eyes and the head are that of a Njoruma.”

His grandma looked at the animal and shook her head.

” Sonny, this is a frog.But you’ll kill a Njoruma someday.”

Next, the boy went to the river and killed a long animal with a scaly skin.

“Cucu, look! I have finally killed the Njoruma.” The boy shrieked, his young chest thrust forward with pride.

Oh no! Poor soul;this is a crocodile.But one day, you’ll kill the Njoruma”. Grandma reassured him.

Later, the boy, now a dashing young man killed a fish in the name of killing the Njoruma.Grandma told him it wasn’t the Njoruma.

And so the young chap killed many innocent animals, all in the name of slaying the Njoruma that killed his parents.Eventually, the grandma died and left the young chap behind, killing animals.

I read this deceptively simple Kikuyu folktale back in Class 3. I still have the book to date.Although the mysterious Njoruma caught my fancy, it didn’t occur to me the story was about the harrowing effects of unresolved grief in children.

The Njoruma represents the ghosts we have to contend with due to psychic wounds inflicted during childhood.The boys hunt for the beast symbolizes unresolved grief.Lastly, the grandmas mantra that the boy will kill the Njoruma is a pointer that the boy would overcome the trauma someday.Sadly, she dies before he does so.

Unresolved grief, or complex grief, is different from normal grief in various ways. First, it lasts much longer, at times for many years. Second, it’s much more severe and intense, not lessening with time but instead often worsening. Third, it interferes with a person’s ability to function normally in daily life.Lastly, its marked by a sense of obsession and yearning for the person(s) one lost- like in our boy here.

It’s hard for a person with unresolved grief to move on from the past when still dealing with the emotional aftermath of traumatic events. The unresolved feelings can cause problems in personal relationships, work life, and general happiness.The feelings can also be incredibly tough to manage and can often feel like they’re there to stay.

Luckily,there are practical resources to deal with such traumatic events,even if they happened years ago.Such a resource is the wonderful book Healing Your Wounded Inner Child: A CBT Workbook to Overcome Past Trauma, Face Abandonment and Regain Emotional Stability by Maria Clarke.

Healing Your Wounded Inner Child is a workbook that will help you understand your past experiences and how they’ve been impacting your life currently.

This step-by-step guide includes exercises and activities to help you understand your thoughts and feelings, manage difficult emotions, and develop healthy coping mechanisms to help you take steps in the right direction.

You can purchase this amazing book from Amazon by following this link:

Healing your wounded child by Maria Clarke

The Kindle edition goes for 10 dollars while a hard copy goes for 18 dollars.Worth every coin,I must say.

Gilbert Mwangi

Creative writer,dreamer,and Drum Major for all things true.

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