I attended the book signing this past August. Farther Along, written by my friend and mentor, Carol Henderson, which told the stories of thirteen mothers (she is one of them), a bakers dozen as Carol points out, who had lost children at various ages.

I was prepared to cry. I don’t do well with death of children, even adult children. Children shouldn’t die before their parents. Maybe that’s why I choose geriatrics as my specialty. Old folks die. It’s expected. No surprises. I can deal with that.

I teared up but didn’t cry and was somewhat unprepared for the humor, serenity, and lack of self-pity as the six mothers read sections from the book. But then ten years had passed since the women came together under Carol’s guidance and direction. Certainly bereavement takes time to absorb, rant and rage against, come to terms and eventually accept the grievous loss that will never be forgotten until one’s dying day.

How fortunate the women found each other and Carol. Writing their stories seems to have brought them to a better place than they would be if they hadn’t immersed themselves in writing.

Why did these women write?

Carol says in her book:

“Writing about deep and traumatic matters, as many studies now confirm, is good for our physical health. Reflective writing actually lowers pulse and blood pressure, increases T-cell production, and boosts the immune system. Writing can help us cope with chronic conditions like physical pain—and the loss of health, of dreams, and, yes, of children.”

We all write for different reasons. I am haunted by my patients. They walk around in my memory and defy me to ignore them. I need to tell their stories.

“Why do we write? To make suffering endurable. To make evil intelligible. To make justice desirable and . . . to make love possible”

Roger Rosenblatt, Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing

Why do you write?

By Marianna Crane

After a long career in nursing--I was one of the first certified gerontological nurse practitioners--I am now a writer. My writings center around patients I have had over the years that continue to haunt my memory unless I record their stories. In addition, I write about growing older, confronting ageism, creativity and food. My memoir, "Stories from the Tenth Floor Clinic: A Nurse Practitioner Remembers" is available where ever books are sold.


  1. Lovely commentary on Carol’s book. I agree, the stories are gripping and show impressive resilience in dealing with the unspeakable loss of a child. Thanks for sending me her book. Why do I write? You know that!! I have all these words in my head that just have to come out… Lois

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Marianna for your post. As the bereaved mothers and I sit and write together, here on retreat in France, we continue to be surprised, moved, and transported by each other’s writing. We write about anything and everything. We laugh, we cry, and we see the world through fresh eyes.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicely done, Marianna! Why do I write? Presently, I am writing to reveal humanity and an example of extraordinary acceptance of others. Sometimes it feels like it isn’t “enough” of a reason, but I feel compelled to keep at it, so it must have some deep root. Thanks for your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so glad to know about this book. My beloved niece lost her precious Ethan at two months old to SIDS. Six years later, she continues to grieve. I am going to get this book for her. Thank you thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I too am reading Carol’s book and find such human, caring wisdom in its pages. Thankfully, I’m not a bereaved mother but I know one and she would benefit from reading “Farther Along.”
    Why do I write? I’ve been writing my story to myself for years, to save it as it was known to me. Now with our trusted writing group, I find Annie Dillard’s words meaningful: “I had been my whole life a bell and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had never come across that quote from Annie Dillard. How appropriate for those of us branching out in new endeavors–we find aspects and talents of ourselves we never knew where there.


  6. Even though I know it’s a difficult topic to understand for people who have not experienced the death of a child and one that most people would rather avoid, I write with the hope that someone will at least be encouraged to TRY to understand and to TRY to support parents whose child has died. It’s the worst time in the world to have people disappear and/or to be “encouraging” (critical) with no understanding what in the world they are talking about. I also write to let other parents know they are not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Why do I write? Because the stories inside of me yearn to be preserved. Because I want to understand the events and thinking that have shaped me and find new ways to process them. Because of the sheer joy of at last finding the right words to convey a thought or scene to someone else in a way that will hopefully resonate with them.
    Thank you for asking and making me think.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Beautifully said, Marianna, as always. Why do I write? I’ve been writing since I was a child, on and off. I think writing helps me find out what I think. The very process of writing helps me clarify my ideas and process my experiences of life. It’s also fun to tell stories, at least until the rewrite and revision process begins. Then it’s work, but worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must mention the book you wrote, Barbara–Painting Lessons: A Bella Sarver Mystery. A good read. (Check the cover out–its a picture Barbara painted.) You paint also and one of your paintings in on the cover of your book. Plus you are working on a second mystery. Good going, Barbara.


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