I write about death a lot*. In Neverending Beginnings my main character is dealing with her mother’s death. My current work in progress revolves around the death of the main character’s fiance. I published an essay about death last summer.
Before you decide never to read anything I’ve ever written on account of morose-ness, stick with me for a minute. I write stories about women’s personal journeys, and let’s face it death is something that will inevitably touch each of our lives. In fiction, it’s a perfect catalyst (for better or for worse). Grief is a story arc in and of itself: anger, denial, depression, bargaining and acceptance. Back and forth again and again. The imagery around darkness and light are powerful. Most of all, though, I write about death because I like to write about friendship and hope and faith; the things that bring us through the dark.
Last Thursday, I got a call from a dear friend who told me, through tears, that her father had passed away. The only words I could find in that moment were: I love you and I wish I was there right now. I counted the hours until I could see my friend and wrap my arms around her and was reminded that in real life, the words are often less important.
* I also write about lasagna, a lot. In my first novel my character makes lasagna over and over again and in revising my work in progress I realized that there is also a lasagna-making scene. Next time someone asks what my books are about, I think I’ll just say: “death and lasagna.” My friend’s Dad would have had a good laugh about that; then probably suggested I write a Death by Lasagna mystery series.
Picture above is circa early ’80s. My friend and I are in the front (I’m rocking the pink pants) and her Dad is the tall, handsome guy in the back.