I’m working on my various manuscripts, readying them for e-publication on Amazon. Which is a huge, terrifying but also glorious step for me.
For so long, I’ve put off the final edit and arrangement of these texts – justifying the delay with excuses of not understanding fully the mechanics of preparing a book for ePub, not having the right software, why start formatting only to learn it needed to be done differently? and a whole host of other well-planned diversions…
Procrastination is often my best friend and worst enemy, simultaneously…
I had a mile long list of why I couldn’t do this, at least not quite yet.
But the final objection has been overcome and I’m deep at work.
How strange to find myself struggling with the flashbacks I hadn’t counted on – it’s been nearly five years now since my 18 month journey of losing everything but one son and my mind… Surely, I can revisit these memories again and laugh at how fearful I was, now that I know how things turned out?
Surely, I will not find hypocrisy in the knowledge of reading a chapter and it’s flowing words, knowing the absolute opposite I was feeling when I wrote what I so desperately needed to hear?
I picked “Inheritances: The Gifts of our Losses” as the pilot, simply because, it’s my first non-fiction and, because of the tears poured into, my favorite. It’s also the one that requires the least edits, as in my gloom and doom periods over the years, I’ve pulled it out to re-draft and re-edit.
Whenever the Blues Brothers of Lost Faith and Stinging Defeat visited, I brushed off the dust and went to work on the text, as that seemed more productive than picking my scabs loose so I could find release in crying over all the bleeding that went on…
But perhaps, I should have chosen differently. There are still wounds not healed enough to withstand the prodding of analysis. As I read through my text, I see both how far I’ve come and, when pain strikes, how far I have yet to go.
It’s also hard to put pressure on a wound to stem the bleeding, manage a keyboard and mouse, all at the same time…
I’m reminded of the first time I spoke at a public function after the loss of my son. Afterwards, a woman came to me, begging for advice.
Her daughter was terribly ill, with no sound answers regarding when she might die. She, the mother, was in a turmoil, trying to somehow figure out if she was strong enough to sustain this kind of loss – – she is in the Panic Driven Land of Fear and she just knows I have the road map to carry her to safety.
I do not know what to say to her.
My gut says to tell her the truth – that she is wasting whatever precious time she has left with her daughter, be it one or forty years, thinking about what is to come.
That when it comes, she will be blessed, first by numbness, then by each and every other feeling grief pulls us through and that with perseverance, she will come out the other side in time, too.
As long as she doesn’t give up…
I want to tell her that her daughter needs her to be strong now – that she faces her own mortality and is in need of strength and kindness as she walks her own road.
But I’m a grieving mom…I know how badly the truth can hurt sometimes…. How the best advice on the planet can go so horribly wrong if not uttered at just the right moment.
I also know my emotional compass is off on it’s own little journey – how the heck would I know if my words are really what she needs or not?
So, rather than risk additional hurt flung at someone already wounded, I say nothing except,
“I cannot tell you. It is different for each of us and when the time comes, you will find what you need. It will be there as long as you do not shut it out.”
And went home to start writing Inheritances.
In part to assuage my guilt over my failing of her in her time of need – to somehow make up for the less than disservice I did her. To quiet my feelings of failure to the one promise I made when my son died,
“I will not allow his death to be meaningless. I will make it mean something – something can be good of this and I will find it or I will create it – but it will not, cannot, be meaningless.”
I decided to share the good, the bad and the ugly – hopefully allowing others a companion during their journey. Someone to say just what they needed to hear and to keep quiet when needs dictated.
A book, a collection of stories, ideas, triumphs and blows – carefully indexed and with a Table of Contents that would lead anyone to just what would work for them, Today. A collection to let others pick and choose just what kind of day they were having and what kind of support they wanted.
The kind of book I wished I had had during all those long months of loss after loss…
When I grew tired of being upbeat and finding the meaning and wished to level something with my fiery temper at the unjustness of it all…
Yes, I wanted a Little Companion of Grief to be waiting by the bedside of anyone who mourned – to ease the loneliness when it was 3 a.m. and darkness reigned both to the eyes and in the heart.
I just never realized how reading and editing would drag me so fully back to that time. How I could sit at my keyboard, heart pounding, with fear gnawing at my throat over a story long ago lived and which should now be relegated to the past.
Not that it’s been all unpleasant – and I’m sure the wounds drug into the light of day will be healed to better consequence than if I hadn’t embarked on this final stage of the journey. That which remains buried, escapes healing.
It’s just not quite the picnic I envisioned, after finally listening to my “You Can Do It!” pep-talk and diving in to prepare my creation for birth into the outer world.
Perhaps this pain is what other artists speak of – perhaps in my excitement at finally doing, I forgot pain is part of every birthing process –
Whether embraced and gloried in as the sacrifice required for our greatest loves or repulsed in the fear of not being strong enough to bear it, Pain attends all births in one way or another.
Thanks for listening – I feel like laboring again…oops….here comes the next contraction…I think it will be soon…I’m so tired and not sure how much longer I can last…
But you ordered pizza for after, right?