Tag Archives: death of a parent

Write It Down

I just wrote my post for Routines for Writers and I want to share it here with you. You may or may not consider yourself a writer. Maybe you journal. Maybe you play around with words sometimes. Maybe you prefer to read what others have written.

Don’t let the fact that this post was originally directed at “writers” distract you. If you are going through something amazing or horrible or historic, find a place to write down what is happening, what you are feeling, what changes are taking place and how they affect you.  You can write in a journal or a notebook or in a file on your computer.

Here’s the post…

I’ve been sitting in front of my computer trying to figure out what to say to you. I have little in terms of writing advice except this: write it down. Don’t forget the things that are important. Write them down even if no one else ever reads your journal, even if you never read what you wrote ever again. Don’t forget. The advice I’ve been giving myself lately is – write even if it hurts.

I haven’t been taking the advice, but I think it’s sound. I don’t want to forget any of the time I spent with Mom in her last weeks. I don’t want to ever forget the one-on-one time we had when she told me how proud she was of me, how she knew I’d go far with my writing, how the best writers are older because they had to live their lives first in order to know what was important enough to say, to remember.

I don’t want to forget how we laughed so much while she was in dialysis for three hours that we had to wonder if that’s why her blood pressure cuff broke that day.

I want to remember how she made me laugh when she whispered in my ear on one of the bad days, “He watches me while I sleep.” I was sure I hadn’t heard her correctly, and she had such a hard time breathing that it was hard to understand her. I leaned my ear next to her mouth, and asked her what she said. “Your brother. He watches me while I sleep. It’s disconcerting.” I pulled back to look at her face and realized her wheezing was laughter. She was in the final week of her life, could barely breathe, and she was joking around about how my brother wouldn’t leave her side, even while she slept.

This is the stuff I want to write down in my journal so I’ll have it forever, but it makes me cry. (And it takes so much longer to write things out longhand.) I’m already tired of crying, tired of the mood swings. But from what everyone tells me, this is the beginning of a long road. Great.

Of all the reasons why I’m forcing myself to move forward, even a little bit at a time, with my writing and my writing business, it’s Mom’s last private words to me that push me to work. My mother believes that there is a future that includes people reading my work and laughing or crying or feeling better or having hope. She believes not just in my writing, but in my ability to make a life out of words. I don’t know how long she’s felt that way, but this month is the first time I really heard it.

So, as much as it hurt, and past my deadline this week, I wanted to write that part down for you. You need to believe that it’s important to write or you may let it slip away from you. If it does slip away and you don’t feel a void, that’s okay. Maybe writing was only for a season in your life and you are or will be ready to let it go, to let something better take its place. But for as long as you believe your words and thoughts and feelings are important, write them down.

 

Thanks For Your Prayers For My Mom

I just didn’t have it in me to write yesterday. But I really wanted to thank you all for your love and prayers and all your support. My mom went home to be with the Lord last Monday. At the time, I was so so happy for her! But a week later, with no more funeral plans to keep me busy, I’m feeling the weight of my loss.

That loss is tempered by some wonderful memories, particularly of the last week. The most beautiful thing happened – God moved all four of us kids to be there together with Mom during the last week of her life. Two of the four families drove all night. I was blessed with a great friend buying me a plane ticket the week before. For seven days, we laughed together, tried really hard not to cry together, ate together, and told innumerable stories about each other. It was one of the most wonderful weeks of my life.

It was probably one of the most wonderful weeks of Mom’s life, too. She was so gracious about the fact that her kids had gone off to create lives for themselves wherever their dreams took them. But on May 7, for the first time since my wedding day twenty-two years ago, Mom had all four of her kids together in the same room. Better than that, she had all four of us for a whole week!

I’m sure I’ll be writing more about these last few weeks over time. There were wonderful stories that I’ll want to remember forever. I’d love to hear your stories about your mom or dad, too, if you want to comment now or later. It’s the perfect time of year for reflection, right between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. They may be Hallmark holidays, but I was grateful to have a whole week of celebrating Mom before she left. It was pretty perfect.