Friday, July 23, 2010

Patching Holes

"...writing may align your thoughts and interests with another and help them to fill a hole in their soul."
~Jason Mraz, in a facebook post On Journaling (click here)

The other night I had a conversation with my friend Mitzi, who lost her 20 year old son a couple of months ago. Mitzi feels comfortable calling me whenever she hits a rough spot. She knows I've been through loss. She knows it's okay with me if she just sobs into the phone for two minutes before she manages to say hello. She knows I won't judge her going from weeping to hysteria in less than 60 seconds. She knows I won't freak out if she goes on a crazy rant. She knows I'll be straight with her. But I love her most because it's okay with her if I don't always have the right words, or any words at all. I think what's important to her (and she'll correct me if I'm wrong), is that someone in the vast nothing is listening. She needs for her grief to be heard. I get that. I so get that.

Loss has been part of my life... all my life. Although it frequently does, Loss hasn't always walked hand in hand with Death, but it's most certainly been a bedfellow of Destruction. Even in the best of times, even now, I know Loss is somewhere nearby - perhaps hiding behind the sofa, or standing slyly on the other side of the wall. It's there though, it's always there. I don't focus on it, but I know it's there.

I've never lost a son. I've never had any children to lose. So, I can't entirely relate to what Mitzi's going through. The closest I can get is having (too often) watched others who've experienced the loss of a child (at any age). I can't imagine how horrible that feeling is. But I do know how horrible loss is. I know emotional devastation and spiritual upheaval.

After I talked to Mitzi I felt inept. I thought, I have no idea how to comfort, and I said as much to The Universe. The chilling answer came back, "You are the comfort. This is one of the reasons why there is you." So, I listen, and I make art, and I write. Always, I write. Then I read Jason Mraz's post and the above line leaped out at me. I always thought the writing was for me, my way of figuring all of it out, a selfish investment. I've always thought, "If anyone else gets anything out of it, that's just a bonus."

How could I have been so blind? So wrong? How did I never notice the weight of this burden, this beautiful burden?

I write because of you. All of you. If my experience, my stories (as my friend Matt likes to call them) don't make a difference for someone else, then what is the point of them?

I write because I need to. Because I need to at least try to make a difference. To not write is true loss.


  1. one thing i love about writing is how it can open you up. you do it for the joy of it, and yet you get so much more/so many other things out of it. and i love all the a-ha's i get from it! i'm super glad you write! thanks for your gifts!

  2. Often, when we are "there" for another it has nothing to do with helping them solve their problems or find a solution. Actually trying to do that obstructs and stilts the whole thing. The very best thing we (you) have done is to listen and hear and LET...let the other person rant or wail or weep or spew.....and let it out. It is in the "letting" that we offer comfort and safety and security and assurance that everything will be alright, that they will be alright.


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