The desire to write a memoir arose during an online creative nonfiction class when I realized that indirectly I’d been writing about childhood mother loss for a long time. To test the idea, I signed up for a three-week group called “Mini-Memoir” with Jena Schwartz. Even more material surfaced, and I committed to the project. I wanted to share my story for myself but also to raise awareness about grieving children and support other adults who are grappling with long-ago loss.
My book is about making peace with a fragmented past to live in the present with clarity and confidence. My truth first became buried after my mom’s death from breast cancer when I was seven years old, layered over in the aftermath as I masked inner pain with a capable outer persona. I cared for siblings, helped run the home, and earned good grades. Then my dad married again, and we embarked on a new story that further suppressed my grief and nearly erased my mom’s memory. One day in my 20s, an accident on a downtown street knocked everything loose. The impact reverberated for decades until I excavated all the parts of my story. Now, I’m telling it.
Tentatively titled The Art of Reassembly: A Memoir of Early Mother Loss, my book is forthcoming from She Writes Press in 2021.