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Writing Grief in Fiction is a Work of Love

lithub.com – Friday November 11, 2022

On a weekday morning in February, age twelve, I was shunted from the warm ignorance of sleep and propelled into a world where my Uncle Theo no longer existed. My mother’s keening was the thing that woke me; a sound I had never before heard or simply neglected to remember before that time. A sound that, from that moment, became part of everything I would associate with mourning; with grief.

The memory I have is of standing at the foot of my parents’ bed, barefoot and frightened, watching my father do his best to console my mother. I was invisible and I think even then, as a child, I understood something new and terrible: grief is the same colour as madness. It moulds us in ways we did not think we could bend. It is not neat and its messiness can be alarming. Following the death of my Uncle Theo, there were other losses, each one a simultaneously unique yet familiar blow to our collective gut.

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