Violet Knyal

Violet Knyal learns how to grieve over someone she feels like she never truly knew.

January 11, 2023

Violet Knyal felt a pain that other kids her age didn’t understand: going through childhood with one parent being unable to witness it. Being only two years old when her father, Jarrett, passed away, Knyal felt like she never truly got to know him. With the lack of understanding from her peers, she often felt her pain and struggles weren’t valid. 

“I feel like I can’t grieve, or I can’t feel bad about the fact that he’s not here,” Knyal said. “But I’ve been trying to feel like I can heal from that… I’m allowed to feel sad.”

Knyal heard her father’s voice for the first time recently, and that moment in particular stood out to her in the grieving process. 

“I heard his voice for the first time. In a video, which was kind of a lot,” she said. “I think I started crying.”  

Knyal’s healing process typically contains a lot of humor. She finds that joking about her situation helps her manage it. She also enjoys baking, listening to music and finding various ways to distract herself. 

Despite these distractions, Knyal occasionally finds herself faced with the thought of what could’ve been. 

“I could have felt like I had a biological father at some point,” Knyal said. “But I also think about the fact that a lot of things in my life would’ve been different. Would it be better if he was here? Where would I be now?”

In addition to feeling a certain disconnect from her father, Knyal also worries for her family. She thinks of her mother in particular, and how emotionally taxing it was for her to lose her husband. 

“I feel like I can’t grieve, or I can’t feel bad about the fact that he’s not here,” Knyal said. “But I’ve been trying to feel like I can heal from that… I’m allowed to feel sad.”

— Violet Knyal

“I think that sometimes I heard her crying in her room, and I felt like it was about him,” Knyal said. “It must have been really difficult because she had just given birth to me, like, not that long ago. And she had to think about the fact that she had to raise two kids.”

But on her healing journey, Knyal learned that memories don’t end when a life does.

Knyal’s family has done everything in their power to make sure that Jarrett Knyal wouldn’t be forgotten. 

“My mom was really good about telling me about him,” Knyal said. “I’ve learned a lot of things [about him]. I’ve seen pictures… [My mom] doesn’t hide him from me.”

Her family helped keep the memories of her dad alive, but Knyal wishes those memories were her own. “

I feel jealous of my family,” Knyal said. “Because they knew him and got to live with him.” 

Although Knyal doesn’t have those memories herself, she still keeps thoughts of her father with her everyday. Jarrett Knyal’s memory has continued to carry on through those that cared about him. Through his twin brother, who would travel to Ann Arbor to celebrate his birthday with Knyal’s family, and Knyal’s mother, who shows her photographs and tells her stories. No matter what, small pieces of her father will always remain with her. 

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About the Writer
Photo of Ari Taylor
Ari Taylor, Journalist
Ari Taylor is a junior in her first year on staff for the Communicator. She’s been a part of The Midnight Sun yearbook staff for the past year, but this will be her first year as one of the Editors in Chief. Aside from journalism and designing spreads in InDesign, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, and nail art. She’s had a lifelong love of science, and hopes to go into the STEM field after high school.

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