Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 10 #sol19

Loss has a way.

Reaching into your chest in its icy way, Loss has a way of grabbing hold of your heart and clutching it with a cold hand.

Loss has a way of escaping that closet that took nearly two years for you to stuff it into, trying desperately to make sure all of its dark corners remain pushed inside.  Not sticking out.

Yesterday, an email appeared in my inbox.  My mother, who passed away two years ago in April, left behind two sisters- my aunts.  Apparently, one of them had recently run across a beautiful and eloquent card my mom had written, dated July 11, 2016.  My aunt had scanned it and emailed it to me.

Casting my eyes on the familiar handwriting, I simultaneously felt frigid fingers begin to grip my heart, a discomforting lump form in my throat, water press into my tear ducts.  But while none of this felt physically pleasing, my memory and brain did finally arrive, coming to my rescue.  My mother’s words, as I read them…they were her.  Generous.  Kind.  Funny.  And so loving.

Suddenly an image of her arose into my mind’s eye.  And as I read the last words on the card:

Love you Peg.  You are a special wonderful person.  Love, Donna

This was my mom.  Even though she’d sent an everyday thank you card, she never forgot to be herself.  The fingers warmed.  Perhaps it was no longer Loss gripping my heart.

Perhaps it was my mom holding it.


Author: Lanny Ball

For more than 29 years, Lanny has taught, coached, presented, staff developed, and consulted within the exciting and enigmatic world of literacy. With unyielding passion and belief in the possibility of workshop teaching, Lanny has worked to support students, teachers, and school administrators around the country in outgrowing themselves as both writers and readers. Working first as a classroom teacher, then as a coach and TCRWP Staff Developer, Lanny is now a literacy specialist, working and living in the great state of Connecticut. Outside of literacy, he enjoys raising his three ambitious young daughters with his wife, and playing the piano. Find him on this blog, as well as on Twitter @LannyBall. Lanny is also a former co-author of a blog dedicated to supporting writing teachers and coaches that maintain classroom writing workshops,

17 thoughts on “Slice of Life Story Challenge, Day 10 #sol19”

  1. Lanny, I so appreciated your post today. Those cold fingers…I feel them often lately. We both know, though, the benefit of feeling and memory. Both are restorative. I can’t go to the Met without thinking about my friend. But those memories are precious.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As a widow I know the power of seeing the handwriting of a loved one. It evokes such memories and yes the sight of their printed words brings them closer to your heart.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow…”Reaching into your chest in its icy way, Loss has a way of grabbing hold of your heart and clutching it with a cold hand.” You nailed it. Love how you ended with a glimpse at the handwritten note. I don’t think our children have a sense of how precious those can be. A text, an email…they’ll never compare with the piece of ourselves that is reflected in those handmade squiggles. Thanks for this beautiful slice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Having lost both of my parents I completely understood your description of the icy grip and then how it softened when you imagined your mom holding it.

    I deeply long for moments when I reconnect with my parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your Slice came at a perfect time for me-I wrote about my mom this morning, as well. I love how you referred to, “perhaps it was my mom holding it”. While loss can be so difficult to face, I believe our brains can and do ultimately arrive as well. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh yeah. I know that feeling. Your words seized at my heart. Tears formed. That heavy feeling grew and then you celebrated. I have a little pack of cards and the last email my mom sent me saved away too.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What a powerful slice, from the beginning to the end. I lost both of my parents, my dad less than a year ago. I didn´t asked for anything that was left in their house but their letters, old photos and my mom´s diary. I am not quiet ready to immerse myself again in their written legacy, but every time I see their handwritings, I imagine them holding a piece of paper or a sitting in front of an Underwood typewritter.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I copied one of my mother’s letters to me and wrapped it around a book I assigned myself to read after her death.

    I haven’t yet started it — I’ve allowed myself to get distracted. Thank you for the reminder to bring my mother closer.

    Liked by 1 person

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