to speak without words

January 12, 2022 § 2 Comments

Diane Zinna’s Grief Writing Workshop,

#61 on January 9, 2022

A letter to Ruth from her best friend, Anne, “On Dying”

Ruth, I must tell you something. Promise me you won’t cry.
I write this knowing how your big brown eyes are filling with tears. Don’t be afraid. Be brave. I need your courage.

I am dying. You promised not to cry.

I have lung cancer and I died on the doctor’s exam table. Today he was able to bring me back. 
I told him, during my recent physical, jokingly, that I can’t catch my breath when i get to the top of the stairs. I’m really getting old, I said and we both laughed, only it’s not funny.

Ruth put the letter down to grab a Kleenex and wipe the tears that were rolling down her face toward her chin. Oh no, she cried, and dialed Anne’s number.

“Hello” she said. Not being able to say a word, Ruth held onto the receiver sucking in air hoping to get to the next breath. “Ruth, I know you’re there, you promised, no crying.” Ruth needed to speak, say something, anything and whispers into the darkness of the phone,

“I am here. I love you. I’ll be brave tomorrow.”


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