Fears on Beginning 7.21.10

by | Jul 21, 2010 | 13 comments

Who do I write for? Myself primarily. Second Audrey. Third Dan.
What will I write? Thoughts- whatever will help give birth to the invisible grief inside.
When will I write? Probably late at night when you are asleep Audrey.

In Wordsworth’s Preface to “Lyrical Ballads” he defines poetry as this: “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” I’ve always liked this definition and held to it to keep me from very bad poetry. Very bad poetry is the sappy kind written in the throes of emotion, and without the tranquility part. Just felt and written.

So, my first fear on beginning to write as a means of processing my own grief is that what I will produce will be something similar to bad poetry, sentimental songs written by a teenager, or even a Hallmark card. No, I’m not writing for an audience. For myself, perhaps for Audrey one day, and yes, in honor of Dan who was always telling me to write. So, for all three of us, I do not wish to write poorly. I must try to find time or space for that recollection and tranquility- even this soon into it. Because I don’t feel I can wait to write.
The second fear I have on beginning to grieve through the written word is one that many writers encounter when writing about past events. I’m certain my thoughts will take me through many memories I have with Dan and I don’t want to lose them to the words. Somehow writing changes memories, recreates them, and takes me one step further from the actual event. So I’m afraid of that. The same way I want to keep talking to you Audrey about your dad, showing you photos and videos of him so you have some recollection of your beautiful relationship with him…but…am fearful that as you grow you will be remembering me telling you about him, the photos, the videos, not the actual memories. And yet, that is all I have to offer you, and I think, much better than nothing at all. While childhood’s strange amnesia takes him away from you completely- I will deepen the trails in your brain where memory lies to help you find your way back to him.


July 21, 2010


  1. Greta Koenigin

    I found you, like many will today, from the New York Times. I have read a few posts, and I think I will now start from the beginning. You words are beautiful. I'm sorry for your loss.

  2. eralon

    I am doing the same. I am also so sorry for your loss.

  3. Anne D.

    Another NYT reader who has come to read your beautiful, sad words. My heart goes out to you and Audrey. Please know that many, many women who don't even know you are thinking of you with love and concern.

  4. Jo Julia

    Thank you Greta, Eralon, and Anne D. for sharing this grief with me and reading my words.

  5. anna

    You write so honestly and beautifully about something so sad. My thoughts are with you and your little girl. With love from Ireland.

  6. Christopher

    Another reader from NYT. Starting here and reading on. My sympathies. Lost my Dad at a young age also.

  7. Helly

    Another NTY reader. You are giving your daughter a beautiful gift. You and Audrey are in my thoughts and prayers are you struggle through grief, memories, and the day-to-day.

  8. michelle

    Another NYT reader. My heart breaks for you & your daughter. Thank you for sharing your words. God bless.

  9. marnesandnoble

    Another NYT reader. Your writing is beautiful, even though it comes from grief. I often write to make sense of my thoughts and feelings- you seem to do the same. I have read almost all of your entries. And will continue to do so. I am so sorry for your loss and wish there was more I could convey in words.

  10. Anonymous

    Another NYT reader. I'm so sorry for your and Audrey's loss. Hope your writing helps you now, and Audrey later on. And thanks for sharing your thoughts and feelings; I'm sure they'll also help/accompany other people undergoing difficult times.

  11. Anonymous

    I found your blog through the NYT as well and wanted to reassure you that nothing you are writing sounds like bad 13 year old poetry or Hallmark cards. It is very personal, very sad and very profound. I've cried my way through a good number of your posts, and hope that you find strength in writing and re-reading what you've written. I hope your little one remembers her daddy, even if the memories aren't the ones you would choose for her.

  12. Anonymous

    Another NYT reader, I would be one of those people who simply does not know what to say and often wondered how to comfort people who are going through terrible things, like a young wife losing her young husband to cancer. So the only thing I feel comfortable saying is how very very sorry I am, and how thankful I am to you for sharing your story. I do not pray much, but your daughter and you will be in my thoughts.

  13. Cecilia

    I hadn't visited the NYT Motherlode blog in ages and today found your blog. I too have read and cried through your more recent posts and have decided to now start from the beginning. I know that nothing I or anyone can say can lessen the pain, but I hope that writing will bring you some relief, if even a little, to get you through each day or even each hour. Your writing is beautiful and honest but, regardless, don't even worry about that. Just write from your heart and let whatever you need come out. You are so courageous. I wish so much that there is more that we could do.


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