Mysteries of Love and Grief

A Memoir

by Sandra Scofield
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Congratulations, Sandra! This piece is both a tribute and a cautionary tale. I'm reminded of my own grandmother, my mother's mother, who also relied on wax paper and rubber bands.

A miracle of sympathetic imagination. The author envisions young Frieda “besotted with love” even as she shows immense love and patience for her own much different younger self for whom so far “loss had no corollary of memory and stewardship.” Frieda’s accumulation of family relics is seen in a nearly preternatural graciousness and generosity of spirit but this attitude never feels false. A thrilling read.

I can see the gold damask chair, the marble top table, the cross-stitch towels. And like Frieda, I want to imagine those cars parked every which way in the dead grass. Beautiful, Sandra.

Powerful. As a reader, I want to know both these women: Frieda--the saver of string who loved completely and furiously--and Sandra--the granddaughter who comes to know her grandmother (and likely herself) through the lens of time and stuff.

As a writer I want to know how Scofield managed to move seamlessly through time and between real and imagined memories. Although I already know the story's literal "ending," I look forward to reading every step on the journey in that direction.

I just finished your excerpt. Your clarity of language shines through the words and into my eyes. I counted. Four times I teared up. Thank you.

This is lovely, beautifully written. The mystery and complexity of Frieda—fierce, tenderhearted, practical, angry, happy once—is so tenderly examined. The relationships between grandmother, mother and daughter, between older and younger selves, between love and loss are seamlessly explored and woven together. Just wonderful.

With an economy of words, you accomplished multiple levels of complexity between the women you portrayed. You egged this reader on to the next sentence by the empathy you induced! And for that, tears welled up in me many times. I was reminded of my own mother's hoarding. Thank you.