I would love to say I’ve been absent from blogging because I’ve been hunkered down in front of the computer writing my little heart out. Alas, that has not been the case. Some yes, but not a lot. But I’ve finally realized that I can’t keep my writing self separate from any other part of me. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. I am a writer with a dayjob in tech that has nothing to do with writing. I am an animal lover, a gardener, and a constant work-in-progress. I shouldn’t try to separate them. So I won’t.
Life is hard lately. I’m broken in a few places. Some of the breaks will heal with time when I have a chance to rest and some of them never will. I need to grieve the changes that make me sad and celebrate those that bring me joy. But some days it’s hard to find the joy as much as I would like to. I stopped posting for a while first because I was so overwhelmed that I couldn’t even put sentences together and second because, well, I was trying to figure out how to post about writing when I wasn’t writing and how not be depressing when I did it.
Since Christmas, life has been doing the out-of-control roller coaster sort of thing. Not the fun kind. There was some tough loving that needed doing and I did it but the process broke my heart into tiny pieces. I’m doing a lot of health battles of my own – some I can work on (years of not taking care of myself as well as I should catching up with me as I approach 50) and some are just the toss of the dice that I have to accept and adapt to. That’s tough for me. And the hardest of them all (because it is never going to go away,) is that my son’s muscular dystrophy has accelerated and he has been dealing with some additional serious health problems which may or may not be related to his disease. He’s struggling to cope with the overwhelmingness of his life and I’m struggling as I was him try to cope.
And yet, there are words. There ARE words that swirl around in the fog of my brain. There are characters waiting patiently (and some not so patiently) in the corners, waiting for me to call to them once more. There are stories waiting to be told. Stories only I can tell.
And I will.
After thinking about it overnight I decided to post a longer version of this. Some of you might find some comfort in knowing more of the story and in knowing you are not alone in your own various struggles.
Sometimes we write to try and explain the unexplainable, like why bad things happen to good people. We tell stories about imaginary kids living imaginary lives that no would really want to live. And when someone asks us why, we have no answers except that was a story that kept talking to us until we shared it with the world. Sometimes we make things up because if we told people they really happened no one would believe us. And sometimes we DO make them up. But sometimes they are real, too real to admit they are true, so we write them down and pretend they happened to someone else, to imaginary characters.
As a parent, from the day they were each born, I tried my best to keep my two children from harm. Sometimes it even worked. For years, every Labor Day, I donated money to the Jerry Lewis Telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. I started in 1979, the year my son was born. My husband would go off on a hunting trip and I would snuggle with my son on the couch and watch the show. I held my healthy baby in my arms, so grateful, and gladly gave my credit card number to the lady on the phone to help Jerry’s kids. 24 years later, when that same son was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, I felt numb. But I went to work doing my mommy job, guiding him when he wanted guidance and listening to him rant when he wanted to rant. I had wanted to keep him from harm but I couldn’t. And when (for safety issues) he had to leave a job he loved and go back to college for retraining, I wanted to rant and rave at anyone who would listen (and a few who wouldn’t) about the unfairness of it all. Genetics aside, I felt like I had failed as a mom. I hadn’t keep my son safe.
My daughter was born three years later and as different from her brother as two siblings could be. He was the introvert, content in his small circle of friends. She was the extrovert who had to go everywhere with everyone. She never met a stranger and whenever anyone new moved into the neighborhood she was the first one to know all about them. When she was mad, everyone around her knew it because she wore her heart on her sleeve for the world to see. Her emotions went miles high and miles deep. Keeping her safe was a full time job and over the years we have ranted and raved with and at one another. But even when she makes me crazy, I’ve never stopping believing in her ability to do whatever she wanted to do, even when, as she has many times, she stopped believing in herself.
But she’s all grown up and a mommy of her own now and I can’t keep her safe anymore. That’s a hard one for me. Genetics, sometimes a twist or lack of something in your DNA can give you a battle with something like MD. And sometimes it gives you other demons to fight. The kind you can’t see.
So sometimes, we write. We tell stories to help heal a nameless hurting child because we cannot heal our own children.