You know, this blog post was going to be about fear — using your fear to jump start your stories. I just can’t seem to get my head into the game though.
Fear is a part of my current blogging block. I’m behind on my current WIP deadline and every time I settle down to write a blog or mailing list entry I get lethargic. No topic jumps out at me or fires me up. Nothing pops. Every minute I spend writing blog entries is another minute not working on the story that I’m obligated to complete for Bella. No new material for the mailing list for two months and I still have two stories to complete for public consumption.
Loss though…The month of October has seen a tremendous amount of loss, both in our literary community and among my friends.
The month opened with the news of Nene Adams‘ demise.
I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Nene for several years through a private mailing list. When her diabetes was diagnosed and she lost her leg, many wonderful people gathered to raise money for her medical bills and a prosthetic. As her health slowly declined over the past year Nene kept in touch, venting her pain and concerns and describing the loving life she shared with her partner, Corrie, and their furkids. She wrote beautiful books, helped me with historical research on my current novel and enjoyed her life.
She loved Corrie so much that she braved a phobia of flying to reach the Netherlands. There she lived under the radar after her visa expired, ever fearful of the moment of discovery that would see her deported. When she wrote of her home life, her words always held an idyllic quality. There was no doubt that she’d found the exact place where she belonged, international law be damned. She was confident in that knowledge, and I’m so happy that she was fortunate enough to experience such surety. I find it fitting that her last moments were in Corrie’s arms. I don’t think she would have had it any other way. She lived life on her terms exactly like the characters in her novels.
The next couple of weeks brought news of other losses. Elderly parents with declining health and abrupt medical emergencies for the most part. A couple of biopsies for partners of my friends. A workmate having an abrupt heart procedure. That’s one of the joys of my age group–watching those who raised you fade as they age, dealing with the once all-powerful figures of your childhood as they become frail and human, followed by the inevitable evidence of aging in yourself, your friends and your spouse.
My parents both live in other states. My father has my brother and his family there for an emergency, and I thank the gods every day for that. I worry about Dad’s advancing age, but my brothers are both good men, just like him. I trust them implicitly.
I’m more concerned for my mother. She’s fading in a different state, dealing with an illness that has robbed her of her hands, surrounded by her friends and her beau but far from me. It’ll take me a plane and a long road trip to reach her. Will I be able to get there in an emergency? I doubt it. But at this point, there’s no way I can get her to move closer. That place has been her home for thirty years or more…and the seniors there have a strong social network in place to care for each other. If she reaches the point where she’s no longer able to care for herself, I’m not sure what to do. To uproot her from her emotional support group could hasten the inevitable, but I can’t move south to her. It’s a conundrum that grows more difficult as the years pass.
(I guess this post is about fear after all, huh?)
October is the month that I purchased a mobility scooter for my wife. I’ve saved all year, seriously cinching my proverbial belt to be able to afford it. I’d planned to pick it up as an early Yule gift. Autumn and spring are the worst times of the year for her. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to have a sensitive inner barometer. As the weather changes, so do her pain levels. Gout also played a factor in my decision–her feet swell up in agony for almost no reason. There’s no controlling it with diet or medication. With the scooter she’s mobile again, able to get out of the apartment and enjoy the days that she can without as much pain.
She always says life was a kick. You’re either having a blast or its kicking you in the ass.
The last of the month brought the devastating news about Bedazzled Ink/Bywater author, Sandra Moran.
I don’t know Sandra personally. I’ve seen her in passing at GCLS conferences and we’re friends on Facebook, but I don’t think we’ve ever actually communicated with each other, either in conversation or posts or messaging. We both write for this blog, but I’m fairly new to the Women & Words community and haven’t “met” everyone in person. What I know of her comes from her Facebook page. From a distance she always seems like an intelligent, active young woman with a lot of love in her life.
Her diagnosis with an agressive form of cancer shocked all of us. The news has only become more bitter as she’s received the results from her testing, a paltry life expectancy for a vital woman who should have sixty years to explore her career and heart.
It’s unfair, unjust. Bad enough that the specter of Death hovers over the aged and infirm, but taking someone in the prime of her life? There are no words to explain the sense of wrongness in my heart, the sense of betrayal I feel. And I know my feelings of treachery cannot compare to those of Sandra and her family and friends.
I can’t end this post with some pithy saying. There’s nothing to sum up, no words of wisdom to impart. Sure, in a few years I’ll look back on these emotions and I’ll mine them for a book, but right now the “feels” are too much.
For now I’ll keep writing, keep distracting myself from the tears. We all deal with loss in different ways, and mine is avoidance. The stronger I feel about something, the less likely I’ll speak it aloud, holding the emotion close, jealously guarding it from others. Maybe it’s an introvert thing, I don’t know. It is what it is.
Tell the loved ones in your life how you feel about them. Nothing is forever, and they need to know. Even more, you need to tell them so you have no regrets. Remember to love each other. Our time on this plane of existence is short–let’s make it the best that we can.