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There it is.

That horrid white space.



It’s bright blankness blazes out from my laptop screen. It stuns my eyes, muddles my chest, and makes it hard for me to draw breath. I’ve never been stabbed, but it surely couldn’t be worse than the grating panic that currently slices through me.

With much effort, I look away from the screen. I think about friends, tea cups, climbing trees, George Harrison (circa 1965), today’s to do list, fuzzy quarter horses–anything to ease my stiffened body. Finally relaxed, I look back, determined to write another sentence, no matter what horrible memories it may trigger.

And I write, sometimes fluidly, sometimes tentatively, until the white space overwhelms me again.

Writing isn’t always this hard–yet, when I write about Mom’s death, this is the norm. Does it surprise me? Not really. Mom’s death was unexpected and horrible and shocking. I loved her very much and miss her doubly so. But, I’m not someone who is terribly keen on public displays of emotion, especially if those displays leave me snot faced and red-eyed. So, my words become my tears. I prefer keeping my grief quiet, sentenced, and away from the immediate judgement of others: making the white space my solace and my hell.

In the white space, I get to make sense of Mom’s death and find the hope to move forward. That’s the problem. Mom’s death doesn’t make sense to me. She was a perfectly healthy fifty-six year old woman. So, I am left to construct a fiction, a story, that can sooth the pain the confusion leaves me. It’s hard to build a foundation on top of an ever spiraling void.

Still, when I am persistent, I get lucky. Out of its blankness emerges sentences, images, and ideas that do comfort me; and, if I’m really, really lucky, comfort other people. If that’s my reward, why should I stop confronting the white space? I can’t. I won’t. I’ll just think about George Harrison’s soulful eyes and fuzzy quarter horses and get back to typing.