I was – then I stopped. Perhaps most people go into themselves when disaster strikes a family and I was rather different in my ‘share everything’ approach – but it was therapeutic and helpful at the time as well as a good way of letting friends and acquaintances know how we were getting on… I refer of course to our son’s terminal diagnosis with a brain tumour in 2010 and my original blog about our lives over the ensuing months – a raw, honest, blow-by-blow account of coping with grief and a young man who woke up every morning having to face a death sentence.
On 1st April it was the ten-year anniversary of Sam’s first MRI scan, done as an emergency to find out why he was having trouble with his vision – quite a marker. It is now coming up to four and a half years since he died. Everything that happened in between, and some of the grief we’ve walked through since, is documented on the various blogs I have used since that first one – Longing to Escape, Gone Upstairs, Ray & Redhead – so I’m not going into it any more than that today: you can follow the links yourself, dear reader.
Life goes in seasons and it’s been good to step back and hide for a while. It was time and it was necessary – and probably a bit more ‘normal’! I had to learn to be quiet, let the adrenaline settle. I had to walk through the depression into a deeper, more private place – the ‘cloud of unknowing’, the stillness of the moment. I did set up this blog to give me a place to write if I felt the urge, but have hardly used it. Maybe now after months of dealing with inner issues – buried childhood pain, the massive ripples of bereavement, discovery of a deeper identity, rediscovery of hope – it is time for a new beginning.
This year, being ten years, feeling like some sort of spring, I have set my face to start compiling the long-awaited BOOK of Sam. I considered this three years ago but didn’t have the emotional resilience at that time. It could of course go on like that for years, it’s always going to be hard on my heart. But I realised if something happened and I couldn’t do it, I would regret it. If I died without leaving Sam’s story (and ours) written in book form, I would not completely have ‘fulfilled my purpose’ – a clunky way of putting it, but you know what I mean. Bottom line: I have to do it and it’s a good idea to get on with it now.
Blah, blah – writer talking bout writing again… Decision time! Something needs to give. No-one can do/be good at everything, right? Or as my husband would say, ‘there’s only so much fun one person can have!’ So I stopped pottery classes (sad) and cut back on poetry workshops, put painting on the ‘only a hobby’ back burner and decided seeing one friend a week is enough. I even tried to stop being such an obsessive housewife, as it’s all that duty that takes the most time. I started writing school again, set up a flip-chart with coloured pens to plan my strategy and got a ‘helpful tip’ list from Pinterest
Three months later, I’ve made no progress with the book. The first realisation was that going to writing school every Tuesday morning, stimulating and encouraging as that is, wouldn’t actually get the book written. Durrrr! It was just another morning doing something else… So I left at Easter saying, farewell, fellow writers, I’ll send you some draft chapters by email. You won’t have time to do your own writing because you’ll be reading mine!
I set a date to start: 1st April, the 10th anniversary. But we were in our seaside home in Brittany with one room to live in together and I (happily) realised I’d be too distracted in that environment. It was supposed to be a holiday – as much as one’s own home can be for any housewife – and this writing business is far too much like hard work! Also I really need internet access with much of my material in blog post form and we don’t have that chez nous en France.
My start date moved to: Monday morning 29th April. I’ve been planning to go out and find a work space in a nearby coffee shop every morning from 9am to midday and even written it into my diary for 3-4 of the coming weeks in May and June. Sorted? Not really. It struck me this morning that the issue is actually WRITING. I have not been writing regularly – typing writing rather than journal scribbling – for months. How can I expect to suddenly dive into that flow of words and emotions required to birth a book? I can’t.
So here I am.