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Writing through grief
It has been a week of tears. I can’t see the word tear (as in what falls down your face when you cry) without thinking the word tear (as in to split in two or more pieces). The tears arise because of one thing but they are really for many things at once — for the people in Gaza and the ongoing horrors they are facing, including 150 babies born each day with no clean water or electricity; for my Jewish friends and family amidst rising antisemitism as people conflate Israel and the current regime with being Jewish; for my body, which, almost as soon as I dared to call it “healed,” succumbed to its now familiar but no less frightening pattern of pain; for my mother-self, who has had some difficult days lately and who knows this phase will pass but who hasn’t yet found a way to move through it with ease; for my mom, for my sister, for my grandma.
We held a celebration of life on Friday night. No funeral, just a big party at the American Legion in Huntley, Illinois where we drank and told stories and looked at old photographs and caught up with cousins1 and saw family friends we hadn’t seen since the last celebration of life at the American Legion in Huntley, Illinois. I kept expecting to see my grandma walking around. She would have loved to see everyone.
Writing through grief — collective or personal or a confusing mix of both — does not feel easy, but it does feel imperative. (And what is the other option?) I continue to work on the pond novel. It’s not done, but it is 65,000 words and this week I started writing the final chapter, with the hope that seeing the end will help me fill in the remaining bits between here and there. I am at the place where a complete draft feels so close and yet so far and I know enough now to know this means we’re almost there.
Almost there, almost there, almost there, she tells herself.
I hope you’re okay. I hope you’re taking care of yourself. It is easy to feel powerless in the face of war and genocide but we can at the very least raise our voices for ceasefire now. Sending love.
Some of whom apparently read this newsletter — hi, Kirkley and Caleb 👋