Motherhood & Words

I haven’t been watching much of the news coverage of the devastation in Haiti—I just can’t do it. But this doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking about the people in Haiti. On the contrary, I can’t stop thinking about them. The image that comes to me again and again is that of a mother, walking down a broken street, searching for her child, desperately calling his name, knowing on some level that it’s too late, that he’s dead, but unable to stop calling for him. I imagine what this would be like—this hopelessness and not-knowing—and it breaks my heart over and over again.

For a long time now I have been planning to ask you lurkers to de-lurk for a charity, but I hadn’t decided on a cause. Now I have one.

(I don’t actually like the term “lurker” because it sounds so sinister, as if you are crouching outside my window, peering in. And of course there is nothing wrong with reading a blog anonymously. But as a blogger, it is nice to know who and where my readers are. It’s nice to put names to the hits on my StatCounter.)

So join me in Mother Words’ first de-lurking for charity. For every comment left by a reader who has never commented here before, I will donate one dollar to Partners in Health. You must post your comment by Friday, January 22nd. If you are willing, please also state your location.

Money is tight for us now—still—but I have to do something to help the people in Haiti. You can help me.

Posted in


I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Ines on January 19, 2010 at 11:46 am

    I can help, Kate. Does it work even if I already know you?

  2. Andrea on January 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    So scary and awful, isn't it? Partners in Health seems like a wonderful organization.

  3. Kaethe on January 19, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    I definitely de-lurk for the sake of natural disasters.

    (I also de-lurk for chocolate torte, Arabic coffee, and cerulean scarves.)

    I live in Northfield but my thoughts are definitely tending toward Haiti. Thanks for doing this!

  4. kate hopper on January 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm

    I can't count you, Ines, or Andrea, because you are regular commenters, but I still appreciate your words here, so thank you!

    Kaethe, thank you for de-lurking and for reading Mother Words. I look forward to keeping up with your wonderful blog, as well!

  5. cath c on January 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    excellent idea, kate! sorry i am not a lurker.

  6. The Blue Suitcase on January 19, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Hey, great idea! Since I'm not a lurker I'll go ahead and make my own donation to the efforts. I know what you mean about the pain of watching. For me, the helplessness is what makes it even worse…so this helps.

  7. Elizabeth on January 19, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I don't ever lurk here but wanted to commend you for doing this! And, if you don't mind, I might do the same on my blog!


  8. BLOOM - Parenting Kids With Disabilities on January 19, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Rats — i guess this means I don't count either! )

    My two adopted children — Renise and Kenold — are from Haiti. We visited 3 times while we were waiting to adopt them.

    Have you read Mountains beyond Mountains about Paul Farmer? It's fabulous.

    The degree of suffering there was unimaginable BEFORE the earthquake. Thanks for getting involved!

  9. Heather on January 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    While I was one of your students, I don't think I have ever commented on your blog.

    It is hard watching the news these days.

  10. tekeal on January 20, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    i've never been so happy to be a lurker! (don't appreciate the word much, either.) thank you for your words and your heart.

  11. on January 21, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I'm a lurker! I love any good creative nonfiction I can get my hands on, and yours is wonderful. And I'm willing to help haiti through "good" orgs, too.

  12. Melissa on January 21, 2010 at 8:53 pm

    What a great idea! I probably don't count as a lurker, but still.

  13. Kim on January 26, 2010 at 7:51 am

    I'm a little late, but now officially de-lurked!!