Friday, February 13, 2009

When The Unexpected Happens

Whew! What a week. I'm still a bit disoriented, so if this post seems to ramble a bit more than my usual ones, bear with me. My head isn't quite screwed on right just yet.

On Tuesday, my mother called to say that one of my uncles had passed away from brain cancer. Haven't yet figured out how to feel about it. I didn't see him very often, but he was more or less a constant fixture in my extended family life. He came from Arkansas to Texas for my high school graduation. He played with my son the last time our family got together for Thanksgiving, and we saw him again last summer at the family reunion. He wasn't a talkative man, but nevertheless, he was there... And now he isn't.

Mainly, I'm shocked at how quickly it all happened. He was just diagnosed in November, and now he's gone. Bam. Just like that. How very fragile and short this life of ours is.

These are the moments when I'm most grateful for my faith. I'm not ashamed to call myself a Christian, but I don't shout it from the rooftops, either. I also don't knock anyone else for believing differently from me. But I'll tell you one thing: I don't think I could function in times like this if I didn't believe people have a place to go when they die. This life is far too brief; it can't be all there is. That's my thinking anyway.

What frustrated me most this week was the fact that I couldn't seem to write anything. Not. One. Word. I, a writer, one who plays with words for a living, could not pour out the words to say what I feel. I didn't want to grieve; I wanted to write, and I couldn't. Even writing this post is hard. My mind feels tired.

I know what you want to say. You have to grieve. Grieving is healthy. It will help you move on. It will help you cope with what's happened.

Um, 'fraid not. Writing helps me cope. It is how I move on. It's what keeps me sane. Writing and faith. I have the faith part down, but the writing is slow in coming. So I'm waiting for it to come back. Just waiting.

Everyone faces the unexpected, both good and bad. It's part of life. The question is, how do you take your personal tragedies and transfer them into your writing life? How do you turn life's lemons into writing lemonade? I'm still working on that. I'll let you know how it goes.

What about you all? How do you write when life deals you a crappy hand? How do you write through illness? Financial disaster? The loss of a loved one? What keeps you coming back to telling stories?

P.S. Sorry for the depressing post today, folks. I like to uplift people, not bring them down, so hopefully this stuff will be few and far between for me.


  1. I switch to something like poetry when I can't work on heavier stuff or the ms.

    Sorry for the loss. My mom got the same diagnosis 16 months ago. Not a nice thing at all. Hugs

  2. Thanks so much for your support, Angie. I wrote a poem a few days ago and it seemed to help, so I'll keep at it and see where it takes me.

    I'm sorry about your mother as well. It never gets easier to hear that kind of news. Hugs to you too :)

  3. I'm sorry about the life crap, LC. It happens. I guess we get so conditioned by society to accept and move on that we ignore our need to stop, grieve, process, and then move on when we're damn good and ready to. That includes writing. When I divorced, it took me three years to write again (beyond the journal my therapist suggested). I couldn't do it. I felt drained of energy. Depression does that.

    Oddly, I was in a funky mood this weekend - not really sad, but just off somehow. Then I realized that it had been 12 years since I'd ended things with the ex. How it resonates even when you don't think about it. Odd.

  4. Lori,
    I appreciate your kindness. You're so right about society as well. It's as if we have to give ourselves permission to feel sad about anything these days.

    Thanks for sharing about your personal life as well. Divorce is always heartbreaking, no matter how necessary. I'd imagine it is very much like a death, which I'm sure is why the memories always linger.

    Well anyway, I hope you feel better now than you did last weekend :-)