Tuesday, August 28, 2018

For Everything, There is a Season

When Grandpa died, I chose to stop writing as an act of mourning. I wrote an essay with a deadline two weeks after the funeral. I poured myself into that work and when it was done, I was drained. I had no more words. I journaled here and there, but I didn't have anything to say other than, 'I am so sad. I've lost one of my best friends. My heart hurts.' From a blog perspective, I knew there was nothing captivating about writing those words over and over, and so I did not.

I've learned that grief takes time, and I wanted to give myself over to it. I wanted to plan for it. To allow myself the space to do nothing but rest and retreat from one of the things that makes me, me. I knew I needed to honor the pain, and so I did. I feel so grateful for listening to and trusting my gut. I did not resist the idea of putting my words away for awhile, and as my gut knew it was, the word hibernation was exactly what I needed. Nearly nine months later, (hmm...interesting timing) my words are returning—and with a vengeance.

In the past two weeks I have written more than 10,000 words. I finished writing my first short story as an adult writer. That short story became the anchor of the portfolio I created to submit to accompany my application for the 2018 Sustainable Arts Foundation Award. I also wrote days 1-28 of the 31 days of my fourth consecutive series, which debuts on October 1.

The word fast reinforced the significance of observing and honoring the rhythms of life. By stopping my writing for a time, I gave myself and my future work time to rest, to marinate, and to transform. I feel strong again. Ready to write again. I have things to say again.

My short story is about a divorced woman and her beloved grandfather. There is autobiographical elements, but it is fiction. I began writing it while I drove my grandpa around Southeast Kansas last November. I asked myself some 'what if' questions about grandpa and me. I borrowed from a few conversations we'd had in real life, and then I let the answers to the what ifs, guide me to the last line. I am proud of it. The writing of this particular story was a good practice run since there were so many elements that were familiar. It was easier to wade through the emotional parts because it was based on a man I love so much.

I also am feeling another wave of sadness. Having spent time creating this story made Grandpa feel close. Returning from story land reminds me, he's not here. I miss our phone calls, his laughter, and his ability to keep up with us in lives and routines that are so different from the life he lived. But that's what you do when you love someone. You come in close, and you make them and their interests matter to you because they matter to you.

I sense that once this busy autumn is behind me that it will be time to return to my novel, and I feel excitement about that task. I've kept it on the back burner for awhile, again trusting I'll know when the time to return to it is. I feel that time calling me.

It's an exciting time, and I can't help but think of all of this as yet another one of the many gifts Grandpa has showered on me—both in his life and in his death.


  1. I so understand where you are coming from. Grief reminds us of the love we gave and received from the person we lost. You and I wrote along similar lines. Blessed to be your neighbor at the 31 Day Survivors thread today. Bless you as you grieve!

  2. Damn Sam....I love this - (sorry for the expletive). Don't let CJ see it.

    1. I love Jesus, but I cuss a little...I am a fan of a well-placed expletive. Thank you for your unending support of me, my girl, and my words. I love you.