Healing Through Writing

by Barbara Force

My name is Barbara Force. I’m 70, retired and worked for Trans World Airlines for 35 years. I met my husband, Dan, at TWA and we were married for 34 years when he died at 64 from cancer. After he was diagnosed, we both attended Writing for Wellness, a class offered by the Cancer Support Community. This class encouraged us to dig into our feelings and put them on paper. After Dan died, I attended a weekend writing workshop through UCLA extension. I’ve been pushing myself to do something different. I now facilitate the Writing for Wellness class because the current instructor resigned after volunteering for fourteen years.

by Barbara Force

Grief comes in waves
On different days
And sometimes stays.

Grief hovers out of sight, waiting:
For a song
A smell
A kind word
A shape in the crowd,

Waiting to be called.

Grief is a sharp pain
A loss of breath
A smothering fog
A siphoning of sanity.

As days, weeks and months pass,
less sharp
Less smothering
Less painful.

Grief becomes a small ache in the soul.

The Train
by Dan Force, Barbara’s husband

The train is far off, on the other side of the valley.loco
You can see it winding in the distance,
smoke from its stack.
You can hear the whistle, but not too loud.
When the wind is right, just for brief moments,
you can hear in snatches, wheel against track,
but it is far off,
not immediate, not pressing.
Oh, it will get here, sure,
but that will be later.
So: you take care of business,
do what you think needs to be done,
occupy yourself, live life.
And then, it’s here!
I remember it far off,
but how did it get here so quickly?
Was I not paying attention?
This massive train, stopped on the tracks in front of me.
Undeniable it looms,
leaking steam and water, impatient,
eager to proceed.
If it were a beast, it would be pawing the ground.
I face it from the side, naked and dwarfed.
I have no options.
I must get on.
It will not be denied.