• to love life, to love it evenwhen you have no stomach for itand everything you've held dearcrumbles like burnt paper in your hands,your throat filled with the silt of it.When grief sits with you, its tropical heatthickening the air, heavy as watermore fit for gills than lungs;when grief weights you like your own fleshonly more of it, an obesity of grief,you think, How can a body withstand this?Then you hold life like a facebetween your palms, a plain face,no charming smile, no violet eyes,and you say, yes, I will take youI will love you, again

    Ellen Bass
  • So often survivors have had their experiences denied, trivialized, or distorted. Writing is an important avenue for healing because it gives you the opportunity to define your own reality. You can say: This did happen to me. It was that bad. It was the fault & responsibility of the adult. I was—and am—innocent

    Ellen Bass
  • If you’ve managed to do one good thing,the ocean doesn’t care.But when Newton’s applefell toward the earth,the earth, ever so slightly, felltoward the apple as well

    Ellen Bass
  • I know you're in a world of pain, but that pain will lessen. At the beginning you can't see that. You can only see your pain and you think it will never go away.But the nature of pain is that it changes— it changes like a sunset. At first, it's this intense red-orange in the sky, and then it starts getting softer and soften. The texture of pain changes as you work through it. And then one day, you wake up and realize that life isn't just about working through your incest; it's about living, too.- survivor of child sexual abuse

    Ellen Bass
  • Dead ButterflyBy Ellen BassFor months my daughter carried a dead monarch in a quart mason jar. To and from school in her backpack, to her only friend’s house. At the dinner table it sat like a guest alongside the pot roast. She took it to bed, propped by her pillow. Was it the year her brother was born? Was this her own too-fragile baby that had lived—so briefly—in its glassed world? Or the year she refused to go to her father’s house? Was this the holding-her-breath girl she became there? This plump child in her rolled-down socks I sometimes wanted to haul back inside me and carry safe again. What was her fierce commitment? I never understood. We just lived with the dead winged thing as part of her, as part of us, weightless in its heavy jar

    Ellen Bass
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