This is what packing looks like when you’re about to spend spring break in Charleston with your style-setting daughter.
A week in which you’ll celebrate your birthday with her for the first time. A week when you’ll be photographed together by UK fashion magazine Grazia for Mothering Day 2014. A week where she’ll show you every new place she’s discovered in Chucktown since your last visit.
Spring break ain’t usually the week a 20-year-old invites her mom to stay and play but this relationship is all of the rare.
And this afternoon—two years after our reunion—Adventure #6 for Tré and Laurie begins.
I’ve been super curious what a 10-minute dramatic interpretation of my 300-page memoir could look and sound like.Now I know. It’s a rush of laughter, tears, anger, hope, domesticity, foreign travel and HEART. So much effing heart.Not only does Taylor (daisyannconfused) nail the cadence of my voice, she adapts many of my favorite moments in the book—the ones I often perform at readings—into a cohesive one-act play.Through this video, I relived the emotions of my engagement, our marriage and my last morning with Alberto. Thank you, Taylor, for bringing ”Splitting the Difference” to life and and interpreting it so beautifully. I am awed and I am honored.
Like grief, tattoos are both personal and permanent. Unlike grief, tattoos are often on public display.
Altering our bodies in memoriam of someone can be a way of confronting our grief and outwardly expressing the magnitude of our loss. For those of us with ink-lination, memorial tattoos let us carry the memory of our loved ones everywhere — and, in many cases, share their stories when someone asks about the meaning behind them.
My own tattoos — a tramp stamp and one on the inner wrist — celebrate friendships with the living. But when I encounter meaningful tributes like the ones above, I contemplate adding ink for my late husband or brother. I’m not referring to tattoos with crosses, a date stamp or anything involving the phrase “In Memory Of.” I’m talking about a new generation of grief tats: Sound waves of a mother’s last voicemail to her son or replication of a father’s handwritten note on a daughter’s arm.
Here are the tribute tattoos that have compelled me to stop someone on the street (or stalk them on the Internet), along with the stories behind them.
My little book’s title is on a chalkboard at Harvard because a 10-minute dramatic interpretation of it will be performed by fellow Tumblr daisyannconfused at the Harvard Speech Tournament today. Sending her all of the mojo + confidence + heart shapes today!
For the past year, I’ve attended a monthly literary event called Happier Hour. Hosted by author and blogger Aidan Donnelly Rowley in her jaw-dropping townhouse, each party spotlights one book and its female author. There’s free-flowing prosecco followed by a reading, intense discussion and book selling/signing. Through Happier Hour, I’ve found new friends, new books and a few writing assignments.
Imagine the degree of SQUEEEEE I felt upon hearing that my mentor, the author Claire Bidwell Smith, was co-hosting the February Happier Hour…and that she and Aidan wanted to feature my Heart-Shaped Memoir.
At last night’s event, I soul-bared to 50 women who ranged from strangers to early readers of my manuscript. Between passages, I made eye contact with friends who knew Alberto, and with his sister, Barby. She stood at the edge of the crowd, beaming at me with the same smile Alberto would flash when I’d gotten a promotion or reorganized one of our closets.
It could’ve been Barby’s smile or the palpable joy and shared experience in the room, but I felt Alberto’s presence in a way that hasn’t happened at a reading for two years. As I spoke, time slowed to a pace that resembled the frame-by-frame awareness that happens in the first shocking moments of loss. Except in place of wanting to crawl out of my skin, the time distortion allowed me to savor each moment as I was experiencing it.
So with a sweet splash of irony, an evening of being fully present is made possible only by reliving the past.
Thank you for navigating the exhausting journey that is putting pain to paper. Even in the little (but necessary) writing I have done since losing my husband, I know how much it takes of how little you have left. I hope you’re aware of the good your writing does for others—and what an amazing tribute it is to Alberto.