Practicing: What I'd miss

Some of you will remember that I’m working my way through the memoir writing prompts in Natalie Goldberg’s book Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir. This week’s is to write what I’ll miss when I die. If you are like me, the thought makes you more than a little uncomfortable. But I’m determined to push my limits both in my writing and in my heart.

A reminder of Nathalie’s rules: Write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about punctuation, spelling, grammar. Be specific. Don’t cross out. (Or in this case, don’t delete.) Just keep writing.

When I die

I’ll miss my children’s laughter, and the sweet silkiness of nestling against their skin. I’ll miss how often they both infuriate and fill me with contentment.

I’ll miss the bright, nostalgic colours of fall. They remind me of young love, the anticipation of new and fresh starts, and the comforts of home.

I’ll miss books, and words, and discovering thoughts and ideas that inspire and propel me.

I’ll miss my husband’s kindness and his complete, unconditional love. I’ll miss the way we bicker and tease, and the sense of security that comes how well he knows me.

I’ll miss snuggling in bed, gazing at the first light, and listening to the orchestral sounds of morning.

I’ll miss chocolate, and coffee, and Tex-Mex. Each a delight to my senses.

I’ll miss long, invigorating discussions with friends, their laughter and the sisterhood of women.

I’ll miss feeling the bone deep chill of winter, and the satisfying lull of a hot bath enjoyed with a vibrant glass of wine under dim lighting.

I’ll miss flip flops, summers at the beach and bathing suits filled with sand.

I’ll miss planning our families next big travel adventure, and the anticipation that grows as each one draws near.

I’ll miss long rides in the car, singing loudly to techno Top 40 music.

I’ll miss paper, and colour and the satisfaction that comes from using it to secure our family’s memories.

I’ll miss soul-quenching tears, and the cleansing that comes from shedding them.

I’ll miss just knowing, and seeing and talking.


19 thoughts on “Practicing: What I'd miss

  1. alita says:

    “I’ll miss snuggling in bed, gazing at the first light, and listening to the orchestral sounds of morning.”

    Gorgeous writing my dear. And not gloomy at all. We have so much in common; I would miss so many of those things you named as well.


  2. Lovely sentiments here. I’ll miss so many of the things you talk about. And this prompt scares me, but I will try it. Sometimes you uncover the best truths when you are afraid.

  3. Stacia says:

    Tex-Mex, yes. And my baby’s soft hair. And so many others you list here. I don’t think I have the courage to make my own list though. Reminders of my mortality fill me with a sadness I can’t confront right now. Living (and doing so overseas) is enough of a breakdown-inducing challenge at the moment!

    • Justine says:

      I think Stacia took the words right out of my mouth: “Reminders of my mortality fill me with a sadness I can’t confront right now. ” Every time I think of death, I get a panic attack. And so I don’t.

      Wish I could write about it. You did a wonderful job though – as usual 🙂

  4. I read that book, too — and did some of the writing prompts (though not all, because I am lazy!). This is really good, Christine. I’m impressed with how much clarity and detail you can confure out of a freewrite. Nicely done.

  5. ShannonL says:

    Very beautiful, Christine. And all in only 10 minutes? Wow! The prompt is kind of morbid, but your list is actually positive and uplifting to me. I love this!

  6. Well, crap. Now I’m crying. But this is beautiful.

  7. Christa says:

    This is new to me. I’ve had to face this situation more than once, and all of this rings so true… lovely.


  8. Amber says:

    Oh I just love this, Christine. I really love it.

  9. I am a HUGE fan of freewriting from prompts, and especially of Natalie Goldberg. I attended a 2-day writing and meditation retreat with her last month, and I’m thinking about saving up to attend one of her longer retreats in New Mexico. I admire you so much for working your way through an entire book of her prompts. Do you write one each day?

    • Christine says:

      Thanks Elizabeth! How I would love to attend one of her workshops. Her approach to writing really inspires me. I’m not doing one each day, but I’m trying to do a couple each week and to share them here when I can. My hope is that it will help me push my boundaries.

  10. Chantal says:

    such an interesting writing prompt. Sad to think about. But important too. Sometimes it is important to think about what we would miss and make sure we are enjoying those things while we are living 🙂

  11. I love this because between the lines, what you’re saying over and over is that you’ll miss the contrasts…the metaphysical. And that’s what mortality is all about. Without the cold, heat has no meaning…without death, neither does life. And so on. This practice writing piece is a gem!

  12. Sarah says:

    I’ll miss you.

  13. Wonderful exercise.

  14. ck says:

    I love “gazing at the first light, and listening to the orchestral sounds of morning” too. Just reading that line made me sigh with contentment.

  15. Kelly says:

    These are powerful. I think I’d miss my own laughter, too. That gut-busting, down-deep belly laugh that comes from pure happiness. And maybe how after an evening of it, my abs feel sore the next day.

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