I send writing prompts to three friends every Monday. It started as a way to help a friend who wants to be writing more in order to remember things about her husband who died last year. Then a writer friend talked about not writing right now and wanting to, so I offered to include her in the prompts. When another friend saw the result of a prompt I’d sent the second friend, she wanted in too. So, I’m up to three.
But today has been an off one for me. A nagging dread has kept me from falling into mindful/mindless absorption in making a collage, or reorganizing my study or fiddling with poems. Is it that I’m working on my memoir, writing about a particularly difficult patch in the months after Eric died, a part of the story I haven’t told yet, which means reading those journals again and living with some of that pain present? Not that it isn’t present on some level anyway.
I was having trouble coming up with a prompt for my friends until I got in the shower late this afternoon and started scrubbing at the nasty scrape I got on my knee when I tripped running last week. It hurt, I started to cry, and I thought, ah, the prompt. Write about the last time you cried and why.
I remembered the side of Chris’s face swollen with scrapes last spring and I cried more. I’d talked to Chris the day before and she’d told me, “I’m not having a very good day.” She’d fallen that weekend out walking with her family and was sore and discouraged. The next day she and Jon came to visit unexpectedly, arriving while I was at an appointment. When I got home and went out on the back deck to greet them I had to suck in my shock. Chris looked so banged up and battered, with red scratches covering one side of her face. Battered by cancer.
In the shower I thought about how much physical limitation Chris had to live with, and then she still died. I cried. I cried because I’m close to a lot of people who have a serious illness, love someone with a serious illness, or have lost someone to illness. I cried because the list of people I include in my healing meditation every day mostly die rather than get better and then I include on the list those left grieving. I cried because my knee hurts and is taking a long time to heal and interferes with much of what I want to do.
Then I turned off the shower, dried off, dressed my knee and sat down to write. To myself and to my friends.