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"Write about something that is precious and add a pair of shoes."

(Another writing prompt from the Moving from Grief to Life workshop.)

The water bubbles and boils in the river as the rapids approach. I move from the bow and kneel in front of Tamara’s body wrapped in the sleeping bag we found where she fell. DEAD. 

My black with green logoed water shoes dig into the rubber matting of the raft to hold her tight, holding her precious, bound in my arms and in my mind as the rapids toss us while the cliffs from where she fell tower above us. 

I had the presence of mind to change from the hiking boots when I needed to wade through the water, enter a commandeered raft and clamber over the rocks to Tamara. DEAD. 

The water shoes were the choice for the next part of that funeralific journey, down the wild and beautiful river for five hours, with the occasional calls of “sorry for your loss” from the banks, to the sheriff and a morgue. 

Before, but after her fall, after I jumped to follow her, catching a root, tearing the pec muscle from my arm, the hiking boots managed to gain an edge on the clift above Tamara, DEAD. 

I balanced on a ledge before the cliff face. The boots dug flimsily into the loose shale and dirt. I needed to climb. “Would they grip?'' I said in my mind. What was the alternative? To fall like Tamara? DEAD. 

Shoes for each part of the journey… days later I would wash the water shoes of the Rogue River and the stench of DEAD.

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Gerri Constant Mar 10, 2022, 3:25 PM I was so shocked and saddened to learn of Tamara's passing. She was a close friend in college and beyond. I remember a ski trip in Mammoth, a birthday party in Bu


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