Navigating early motherhood is hard. Doing it without your own mother—because she dies unexpectedly while you’re in the throes of it—is perhaps harder. In the wake of loss, middle-aged first-time mom Julie Patterson considers whether grief dramatically changed her children’s personalities, or if her children dramatically changed her grief.

First in a series of posts looking closely at the craft of writing about grief

Last month I facilitated a writing workshop about narrative point of view (NPOV), and afterwards it occurred to me that I have looked closely at the craft of many texts specifically about grief. I’ll even be so bold as to say I’ve read more grief than most writers. And perhaps because grief is such a universal experience—yet a topic many want to avoid—writers who tackle it have to really up their game to get their stories in print, in my humble opinion. Hence, a new regular feature for my blog was born. Let’s read like writers together, looking specifically at grief-themed texts to see how they’ve been assembled.

I was everything in those stories that I thought I couldn’t be in real life: a sassy smart aleck with an uncanny ability to insult and/or shame all those who wronged me in any way. I also wrote letters to my mom (my frequent antagonist) and then tore them into tiny undetectable pieces and threw them away. I suppose it was always about the process of writing for me, about how I felt after writing, not about publishing my end products.