Wordsmithing the Reasons

I love words–the turn of a phrase, the smack of a good quote, the potential of a new word.  I wanted to be a writer since I was in the single digits, dangling my legs over the edge of the pew in all my aged wisdom.  A small notebook kept my thoughts and stories company.  But I have found it very hard to find words to tell my children about the divorce.

I am almost mute.  When they say to me, why mom why? My mind loses it’s connection and goes blank. Completely blank , like I just zoomed into a black hole.  Grey matter, reason, intelligence, articulateness –gone. I reach for words and they fly up to the ceiling.  Circling like skitterish flies, out to annoy but never be captured.

Why mommy why, the Professor intones at inopportune times and my mind shuts down like a computer unplugged. Fizzle, sizzle, blackness.  I know the reasons.  There are many and few. They are momentuous, they are mundane; they are profound.  I am grown, middle age in fact.  I see gray now, not just black and white.  I bought the dream and I have experienced the back side of it– the ravelly, threads hanging messy side. They are young, tender, cauldrons of emotions, repositories of dreams. This is their whole life.

So I struggle. I think. I try out thoughts to myself on long walks. I hesitate to name, yet I must defend.  If there is no defense, then they are left without a rudder, without a frame, without structure for their comprehension and feelings.  I do not attack. I seek the emotion, looking for hope.  Stability. Healing.


  1. Yes, my tang gets toungled at such times as well. But I am a writer, published, paid, the whole bit–I write better than I talk. The highest praise I can give someone is to say, “I wish I’d written that.” And I say that to myself often when I read your words. I need to say it to you, so: I wish I’d written what you just wrote–or what you said yesterday (?) that still makes me giggle though I am sure it was written from a heart that was not laughing. As for the right words for this situation, I doubt that there are any. I didn’t find them. If my parents did, they didn’t share them. My kids would tell you they found out for themselves through observation and experience with both parents. Kids are smart. There are just some things–love, death, divorce–which is its own kind of death, for which there are no words. I think maybe we should make some up. We have the feelings, just not the words. New words. That would work–as long as I can write them and not have to actually say them.

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