4/21/21 Workshop – Two Readings from “13 Suits: A Mother’s Monologues”

First Christmas: A Paradox


Christmas tree… decorated by neighbors and friends. Christmas cards… not sent… sympathy cards received. Christmas decorations… a garland of tears… wreaths with red bows… in a cemetery.

Christmas lights… offer only shadows in my darkness. Christmas music… mocking me, making me cry…I am out of tissues.

Christmas flowers… funeral arrangements refusing to die. Christmas cookies… made by sweet mothers.

Christmas candles… will be lit in church with a prayer… in memory.

Christmas dinner… that was a joke takeout pizza on paper plates.

Oh but the Christmas gift for Maura… Patrick’s gold chain… links to his love for his sister.

Christmas gift for Patrick… bought before… given to his


Christmas gifts for Michael, Jenni, the grandkids…

exchanged with melancholy.

He will “Be Home for Christmas… only in my dreams.”

On St. Nicholas Day… when we celebrate generosity and compassion.

“Through the years, we all will be together.”

No. We won’t.

Year after year my family will not be together.

My emotions are too fragile…I am too fragile to go to church much less sing festive hymns about ‘Joy to the World’ and ‘Come All Ye Faithful.’ Christmas Mass would only add to my heartache.

I cry by myself in the bathroom so nobody will hear my despair.

Merry Christmas. No. No it is not.

I’m just trying to get through this endless day… pretending with forced fake smiles for the benefit of my grandkids.

I think they know of my charade.

Tragedy, loss and sadness are the lyrics of my life during

what should be the “most wonderful time of the year”…

As the world waits for peace on earth to be born once more…

my son died. Alone.

May he now “sleep in heavenly peace,” singing forever among

the heralding angels.


Reflective writing prompt: Write about the lyrics in your life


New Year’s Eve – One Year Later

I can’t believe it has been a year without my son,

days threaded together on a calendar of heartache,

I know this year will be anything but happy.

Friends hover close,

keeping me company, easing my endless sorrow.

I will share dinner with my close circle – Italian food, did you know it was his favorite?

For me eating has become merely mechanical.

Only grace sustains me

in these deep trenches of anguish that seem without end.

My New Year resolve is to do

what I need to do to care for my shattered self,

or else, I will surely die from the grief cascading through me.

Early bedtime, covered with his New England Patriots blanket,

tossing and turning, praying, crying, tormented until sleep overcomes my

perennial exhaustion.

When I wake in tangled up covers, greeted by glimmers of morning hope

I know I made it through one more haunted night,

while the enormity of an entire new year beckons before me.

Another year without my son,

days threaded together on a calendar of heartache

will be anything but happy.


Reflective writing prompt: Write about what sustains you