_____ [18] – n. place where you received the news that a loved one or ones died:

Who knows why she assumed that every mundane detail of the _____[18] would remain in her memory? Was it just that those early moments of shock brought everything she had ever taken for granted into surreal relief? As she realized how rapidly details dissolved into _____[157]s, she obsessively documented the site’s less obvious attributes in as many media as possible.

pencil rubbing of the texture of a dashboard
pencil rubbing of texture of a car's arm rest

Illustrative rubbings of textures from an _____ [18]


_____[68] – n. last conversation:

Hearing him describe going to the hospital with his current wife to share a _____[68] with his former mother in law, made her wish that more divorces could be so graceful and compassionate.


_____ [44] – n. lonesome duty of carrying someone else’s story after their death:

Whenever she resented the weight of her _____ [44], she gathered strength from the memory of Nadezhda Mandelstam who memorized all of her husband’s poems (including the ones he wrote for his paramours). Nadezhda mentally repeated each text for decades until his poetry could be published. She couldn’t help but wonder, though, if Nadezhda was ever plagued by _____ [31] or possibly_____[36] towards Osip.


_____[85] – pref. relationship to another person through organ donation:

Not all organ donor families are comfortable meeting the organ recipients but his donor family reached out to him earlier than usual.  He kept in touch with his _____[85]-mother for the rest of her life. She enjoyed aaaaaaa[25]ing him especially since he carried a _____[107] for her son within him.


_____[138] – 1.  n. typographical, spelling, or grammatical error on a tombstone;

_____[138] – 2.  n. any grievance that can never be forgiven once someone dies:

As he stared at the gravestone’s _____[157]s, he pondered the scale and magnitude of the emotional storms he would have to endure to wear down the  _____[138]s he carried.

photographic illustration available here


_____[157] – n. time ravaged impression once considered to be a _____[107] that inevitably becomes blurry:

The widow was distressed when she went to _____[127] of her husband and could no longer find any _____ [9]s in the fabric. She feared that his musky odor would rapidly become a_____[157] without this mnemonic aid.

photographic illustration available here


_____[125] – n. dehumanized callousness developed through prolonged exposure to death and human suffering:

When you shower widows, orphans, _____[74]s, semi_____[74]s, _____[49]s, and _____[41]s with _____[125], you should probably seek a good therapist and resign from your job as a death benefits officer.


_____[107] –  n. indelible evidence of a person’s existence:

When the aaaaaaaaa [41] shaved her head, she revealed a childhood scar from a misadventure with her older brother. It was oddly comforting to realize that she would always carry one this _____[107]s for him.

DSC_0577Photographic illustration of  _____[107]


_____[113] – v. to empty a space, e.g. home, office, studio, treehouse, car that once belonged to the deceased:

It was almost impossible for the  two _____[74]s to _____[113] their parents’ bedroom because every drawer was filled with things that _____ [12]. Even though they were not trying to _____[127] they were overwhelmed by _____ [9]s. 


_____[79] – v. to viscerally differentiate between a sleeping body and a dead one:

She could not articulate how she _____[79]ed but she instinctively shielded her children from seeing their father on the sofa.


_____[20] – n. discomfort or embarrassment about how or why someone died:

Her friends were confused by the semi_____[74]s seething _____[31] towards her father. The family could not admit that had died at his mistress’ house because of   _____[20] it caused their mother.


_____ [88] – n. family member of a mass murderer:

Because another author is both a  _____[49] and an  _____ [88], she opened her speech by apologizing to anyone in the audience who may have been hurt by her son’s actions. Her complex mixture of grief, _____ [31], and _____[20] strained her voice and _____ [12] despite her obvious intention to remain calm.


_____[86] – adj. covered in someone else’s blood:

He was in shock and _____ [86]ed when his parents finally found him. When they explained that he was a_____[41]  because his sister had not escaped the gunman, he collapsed.


_____[41] – n. a person who has lost a sibling:

Did you know that medical studies have found that female  _____[41]s  are more likely to die from heart attack and or stroke after the death of a sibling, compared to people who had not lost a sibling?


_____[116]  – n. site of an accident or tragedy:

The teachers debated whether it was worse to have to face the _____[116] every day when they returned to school or to have the building torn down and observe how their fellow teacher’s sacrifice became more of a _____[157] with each new wave of incoming students.



_____[52] n. surrogate for a dead person:

As they waited for the sushi to arrive, he was hyper-aware that everyone at the table was there as a _____[52] for the birthday boy.

20160121_215609Photographic illustration of _____[52]


_____[109] – n. a memorial with a a sense of humor: 

The aaaaaaaaa[41] was lost in memories as she headed back to the car. Fortunately, she glanced down just in time to avoid stepping on a makeshift_____[109]for a tiny rodent resident of the neighborhood. As she cackled her dead brother did not seem so distant.

photographic illustration available here

another photographic illustration available here


_____[2] – n. [usually plural] grooves left in face or hand cream from the last time a loved one’s fingers reached in:

_____[113]ing her mother’s medicine cabinet, she discovered a jar of hand cream. Its _____[2]s and floral _____ [9] immediately _____[12]ed.


_____[3] – v. to drive and cry simultaneously:

In the quasi- privacy of her car as she commuted, she could not escape her overwhelming grief. As tears blurred her vision, she wondered how many accidents had been caused by _____[3]ing.


_____[34] – 1. n. hole or space in the ground where your home used to be located;

_____[34] – 2. n. the grave where a spouse or lover is buried:

She immediately pulled over the first time she drove by her family’s old home and discovered the _____ [34] because she was afraid that she might begin to _____[3]. Strangely, she was so disoriented by the unrecognizable landscape that it did not _____ [12].

a driveway that no longer leads up to the space where a house used to stand

Photographic illustration of _____[34]


_____ [12] – v. to be provoked to tears by a sensory trigger before your brain even registers why you are crying:

After the funeral, her friends grew accustomed to her unpredictable bouts of _____[12]ing. They began driving her places because they feared her_____[3]ing could cause her to crash. 


_____ [42] – n. date that a person becomes older than a loved one who has died:

The _____[41]‘s_____[22] s grew louder and more agitated as the days crept closer to the _____ [42] for her older brother.


_____ [19]  – n. family or community that forms in the wake of a tragedy:

When the _____[81] started, she became more grateful for the _____ [19] who were able to share her grief.


_____ [48] – v. (becoming obsolete) to call the answering machine of a deceased person:

The semi_____[74]  could momentarily pretend that her mom was going to come back home soon each time she _____[48]ed.