Saltine Crackers

 by Amanda Latrenta Crane


Women feed other women

in deep grief

because we forget

basic needs like

Food. Water. Sleep.


I can’t remember if I drank

the cranberry juice before or after

they declared him dead

at Hackensack Hospital.


I know I drank

a ton of water

so I could escape

to pee and pretend

this was not happening.


That was the last time I did something

as simple as use the bathroom

or be in a room alone

for weeks.

Privacy died too.


I remember staring at one spot

on the floor of the waiting room.

My vision like a swirling dust storm.

I barely heard sound

except for the nurse telling me –

all you have to do

is survive

this moment,

then the next moment

then the next.


One of my many sister-friends

was there when I got the news.

And there when I had to tell my sons.                                                                       7

She sat next to me

with a box of Saltine crackers.

And said — eat one.

Now, eat another.


She said —you have to eat a total of 10 crackers,

then I will stop asking.

But when death rips into life,

there is no more hunger.





Amanda thought March 4th, 2020, would be just another normal morning until her husband, Ed, went into cardiac arrest due to his heart condition, HCM, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. There was a 1% chance of sudden death, but he passed that day. He was 40 years young, and they had been married for 14 years. One week later the world went into lockdown due to Covid, and Amanda and her two small sons, who were 9 and 11, would be left grieving during the strangest of times.

During this time, writing was the only way Amanda could cope. She wrote the manuscript The Queen of Joyful Things, which are poems about losing her husband. She is happy to be a part of the Hope for Widows community and hopes her story will help other young widows. You can visit her at: