Emily Costa

Issue 17


page from the author’s grief journal at age 5




Things That Make Me Sad
Papa’s dead, Grandma’s dead
Papa & Grandma are together in heaven,
same grave,
says “Mom & Dad”

Things That Make Me Mad
when I get yelled at
when I’m sick

Things That Make Me Glad
I love
I love
I like
I’m glad
I love

Write a Story
they both had cancer
they both died
the end

Write a Story about Christmas
we woke up in the morning and we looked in our stockings
we opened our presents
we looked in our stockings some more

Write a Memory
they love me too

Write a Story
here’s something:
we used to eat macaroni every day
I had a birthday cake in the hospital
a dinosaur cake

Write a Story about When You Are a Teenager
I’ll be taller
go to high school
get a job at the zoo

Parting Gifts
Grandma taught me
spaghetti and meatballs
and chestnuts
we used to open the shells, eat the chestnuts
sometimes I helped
Papa took the shell off
Papa taught me how to take the shell off
(he started them for me)
I put them on the tray
to cook

A Story about Spring


Source & Method

When I was around five, three of my grandparents died. I recently found the journal my mom and I completed for a hospice-recommended grief counseling program. I rearranged the prompts and my answers (transcribed by my mom) to try to explore how a child might navigate grief.

Emily Costa teaches college freshmen. Her writing can be found in Hobart, Barrelhouse, The RS 500, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and Memoir Mixtapes.