Father Figure

You remember your father’s fingers curling around the head of your new born baby. They are long, the nails rectangular and pared, clean pink and white, like the baby. Her head fills one of his hands and he uses the other to cradle her body neatly to him.

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SecretsJulia NusbaumComment
Indulge Me

When I turned fifty, I made a video about that age. It included a status report on my body and mind — how both were doing. I documented my swollen joints, brown and white and pink spots in various places on my skin, and grey hair. Thirteen years later, I still have all those things, joints, spots, hair, in close to the same condition.

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SecretsJulia NusbaumComment
Velvet Theater

I have always been terrified. Jumpy. Unsettled. Waiting. Expecting something to go wrong. The scariest place for me has always been my own mind—its ability to morph something ordinary into something terrifying.  

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SpookyJulia NusbaumComment
Haunted Sleep

The problem with sleep paralysis is that no matter how much you know about it and how easily you can dismiss the things that happen as a side effect of coming out of REM sleep the wrong way, when it’s happening it can still feel like a ghost is attacking you. 

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SpookyJulia NusbaumComment
My Cemetery

Officially, I do not believe in ghosts. Unofficially, I eat that stuff up. If someone has a ghost story to tell, I want to hear about it. Tapes of ghostly words? I’ll listen! (heart pounding, head under covers). Pictures? Yes, please. It is perhaps true that I have seen every episode of Paranormal State. There’s a nostalgia to my fascination with ghosts, I’m sure of it.

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SpookyJulia NusbaumComment
A Wink and A Smile

My midlife crisis arrived like a midnight locomotive a decade later than expected. I gazed at myself in the mirror and realized it was time to face reality. I looked just like the woman who had given me advice all my life. Make room for Mama!

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Everyone’s Neighbor

 A well-worn path leads straight to the back door of my ninty-eight year old neighbor, Rose. When my family and I were planning a move to the area, she was the first person I met. Earlier that day she had returned from her final visit to the doctor who performed her hip replacement surgery.

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My Lifetime Warriors

“I am Woman.  Hear me roar, in numbers to big to ignore...”

How very blessed I was to be eleven years old when Helen Reddy launched her emphasise anthem, to the world.  With her pageboy haircut, knitted vest and high waisted flared jeans, she was everything I aspired to be.  However, it was the lyrics of her (now iconic) song which captured my imagination the most.  Women across the world were uniting, and Helen’s song became their theme song.

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Your Grief Doesn't Matter

My name doesn’t matter. It’s not as if you’ll remember it anyway. My name could be Finn or Lotte. Kate, Marissa, Matthew, TJ, James, Victoria, Adam, Grace, Ashley, Claire. We are not mothers. We are not fathers. All we are are brothers and sisters. Siblings. We are the forgotten mourners and those left behind in the wake of a child dying from cancer. Our grief does not matter.

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Over It

It was a good thing.

No, in fact, it was the best thing that could’ve happened.

I know that. 

I was in an abusive relationship—eighteen years old—and the stick said positive. 

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GriefJulia NusbaumComment
Help Now, Grieve Later

I am cutting potatoes for my visit to Sunnybrook hospital. I’m making potato and leek soup. It is full of minerals and fits the food restriction list for those undergoing chemotherapy. I hope he likes it, I hope it brings nourishment and love. 

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The Wisdom of Grief

My Facebook feed brings me an Orca carrying her dead baby, her tears spouting upwards, salting the already salty ocean. I am like that Orca, carrying my bundled grief, attached to my heaving chest, refusing to let go. The sudden loss of marriage, child, parent, even as I came back from the brink of death, has become my bundled grief. I clutch it, like that bundle of celebratory baby shaped rice that the Japanese mothers handle with so much care, as it is supposed to hold the child’s future.

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Perfect A

Every now and then old memories appear when you least expect them.

Fastidious footsteps on the pavement leading to Painter Hall on the historic campus of Mississippi University for Women in Columbus, Mississippi. You’re late. As you take the brick steps and walk towards the door, your mind falls back to a time when Santa Clause was a real man who slid down chimneys with tons of gifts and life was centered around nursery rhymes, coloring sheets and recess. 

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GriefJulia NusbaumComment
Mixed Marriage

There are great concrete buttresses at my back holding up a lantern of light in the church behind me. I’m sitting on concrete steps, staring at one resilient weed working its way through a crack. Little survivor.

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GriefJulia NusbaumComment
Grief and the Absence of Love

Is grief supposed to feel so much like shame? Mine does. Telling my story seems dangerous. It is something I hold close to my chest; I hesitate to reveal even the smallest details unless I have to. To speak of loss and pain out loud makes me vulnerable.

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Julia NusbaumComment
Grief Without Consolation

I’m an editor for a Christian press. I have two degrees in religion, both with a focus in biblical/textual studies. Most of what I edit is Bible based, and I see a lot of my role as helping my theology-focused authors do good biblical interpretation.

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GriefJulia NusbaumComment
After the Fuss

Yesterday I just so happened to share a picture of my dad and me on Instagram. It's one of about six photos I have with him. This particular one was was taken on May 25, 1997 on the day I made my First Communion.

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GriefJulia NusbaumComment
Time Heals

He called me. Me. He picked up the phone and dialled mynumber. Not the favourite daughter who, admittedly, lives farther away, or the ‘son and hair’ as he was known by his flowing locks in the ‘70s, who lives closer. 

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Dear Beth

Dear Past Me,

It’s been what seems like an eternity since I last thought of you.  The memories of you terrify me to the point of disbelief.  Perhaps, it’s because I’ve told myself it’s nonessential as to how our life started out so why dwell on the past?

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