The Last Time You Cried and Why

Image courtesy of The Reluctant Grandmother

Image courtesy of The Reluctant Grandmother

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.



About Grace Mattern

Grace Mattern is a poet, writer, mother, grandmother, partner, friend, family member, gardener, triathlete, hiker and for 30 years was the Executive Director of the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She resigned her position at the Coalition on June 15, 2011 in order to concentrate on her writing, while continuing to engage in the movement to end violence against women as a consultant and advisor. Her chapbook Fever of Unknown Origin was published in 2001 and her full-length poetry book The Truth About Death was published in 2012.
This entry was posted in Family, Friends, Grief, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Last Time You Cried and Why

  1. nancy durborow says:

    Thank you Grace.

  2. Grace Mattern says:

    Thank you too!

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