where do i put the sadness?

MendedHeart.1Heart Lessons

Sandra Cisneros: author, poet, teacher.

I met Cisneros in an 8th grade literature book —

not when I was in the 8th grade since she is younger than I,

but as a teacher of 8th grade language arts. Her writing voice falls in that category known sometimes as Hispanic. You will find Spanish words and sentences throughout her writing.  Her book, The House on Mango Street, gives the reader a view of Puerto Rican and Chicano culture in Chicago and can be found on middle school and high school required reading lists or as excerpts in literature books.

Her newest book, Have You Seen Marie?, caught my eye on the New Books shelf at my local library. At first glance, it seems to be written for children since nearly every page has colorful illustrations. At second glance those spare words that only a poet can create tells two stories about loss and grief.

In the Afterward she wrote:

In the spring after my mother died, a doctor wanted to prescribe pills for depression. “But if I don’t feel,” I said, “how will I be able to write?” (p.90)

Those words spoke to me in this month of spring. Tomorrow will be the 11th anniversary of the death of Jennifer. The tree we planted in the backyard ten years ago has a few deep pink blooms.IMG_1450IMG_1452IMG_1451

Cisneros used this quote to begin her book:

It’s then I ask you, mama, my mother, my heart, my mother, my heart, my mother, mama, the sadness I feel. Where do I put it? Where, mama?

Elena Poniatowska, La Flor de Lis

In her brief Afterward she captures in such spare statements some essentials that resonate in my soul’s grief. She wrote the book to have something to give other people who were in mourning, “to help them find balance.”

Bullet points of Truth:

  • I wish somebody had told me love does not die, that we can continue to receive and give love after death. (91)
  • I wrote this story in the wake of death . . . slow by slow, little by little. (91)
  • It is essential to create when the spirit is dying. (93)
  • Creating nourishes the spirit.(93)
  • There is no getting over death, only learning how to travel alongside it. (94)

A poet’s heart speaking tender words from a grieving heart.


The fluffy white blooms on the Bradford pear tree blew away in this week’s storms.

Counting these joys today:

  • friends who make plans for tonight to be together “just because”
  • the beauty of spring on this sunny but chilly day
  • precious memories of those who no longer walk this earth
  • discovering my purpose in a different stage of life
  • writers whose words inspire, motivate, and come from deep places in their souls
  • God’s grace 
  • the journal of thanks that pulls my heart closer to God



3 thoughts on “where do i put the sadness?

  1. belinda

    Martell, I am thinking about you and am so sorry I didn’t get the e-mail about tonight. It was just one of those days. So sorry. I am so glad you have the pink blossoms on Jennifer’s tree and continue to help those going through grief. I am finding that indeed ” there is no getting over death but learning to travel alongside it.” Your words mean more to me than ever. God bless you!!

  2. Pingback: Five Minute Friday: JOY | Counting Joy Blog

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