Last week a friend shared a very funny personal incident about eating chocolate in his car. I found myself reaching for my Snippets pad, a small spiral pad that I keep with me to write down funny words, or overheard conversations, ideas for writing. It was a reaction.
Two days ago in the dark humor of dealing with grief, a newly widowed neighbor shared the warning his 89-year-old friend gave him about “watching out for the chicken soup” that will start to be delivered by female friends. As he told the story, with greatly exaggerated drama, I reached for Snippets.
I was excited and pleased to be scribbling the ideas. I giggled more than warranted. The giggle was a combination of humor and relief. Because other than occasional blogs, I hadn’t been moved to do a creative piece of writing for months.
Five months ago I stepped away from personal writing activities that reached beyond my journal, clients, and my local writing groups. My beautiful stepdaughter was dying. Every waking (and dreaming) moment was of her and of her father, who was seemingly on an even keel but his inner rudder was a little bit wobbly. We reassessed what counted and it was to go back and forth to be with her, and to be with each other.
My world shifted as many of you who have experienced tragedy and loss know. Our world became smaller as my knowledge base of CT scans, treatments, cancer diets, and flight times to New Jersey expanded. And shifted again when she left us. The grief of knowing our Judy had died was acute, painful, and deeply sad. The mourning that began January 21 has been painful, sad, confusing, an emotional rollercoaster. Adapting to this new family mobile has been pretty shaky, and still is.
Getting up to see the sunrise, going out to see the sunset, and greeting the full moon, has been the scaffolding of my healing. I live in Tucson, land of endless skies, healing sunshine, and brilliant weather.
Going for walks in February, I focused on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. Then when spring started showing hints of arriving I started taking photos again, getting a visual image of life and beauty.
I had thought about “getting back to my writing” for a few weeks but was waylaid by malaise, inertia, excuses. I was waiting to be “inspired” to have a burst of energy one bright Tucson morning, sit at my cleared desk, and CREATE! I think once you believe you are a writer, it gets almost hardwired into you. You don’t have to have written a book or published some work. For me that helped; I freely admit I still need outside acknowledgement for my inside feelings. No matter what happens, as a writer, sooner or later, you have to write.
The habit of carrying a Snippets pad for over ten years brought me back to writing through that ordinary gesture of reaching for my pad.
Today I ripped out the notes and stared at them. The actual Eating Chocolate in the Car and Chicken Soup, and even some Judy stories will come later. But the seeds have been planted. Today I began this newsletter. I’m back.