This has been a month I will not soon forget.
The details are not important and many are not mine to disclose. I’m tired on every front and not even sure why I’m attempting to write except for the fear that if I don’t write this now, and publish it, I will think better of it tomorrow and slink back into the steady rhythm of life. It would be so much easier to curl up in bed, close my eyes and let sleep wash it all away.
So many things have happened, and they have now come together like a song playing in the distance that grows louder and louder until finally it is recognizable. Driving back from New York tonight, I listened to the song in my head until the lyrics made sense, revealing the common thread of these last few weeks in my life. And I was reminded.
I held my children while they cried with sorrow at losing their beloved dogs. I was held by a friend, full body, arms and legs wrapped around me, while I cried. I laughed with family at inside jokes that only we understand and felt the power of that connection. I was graced with unexpected company at a precious time of year. I was given the profound trust of someone’s darkest secret, someone else’s lifelong assets. I experienced the humbling of writer’s block and time slipping through my fingers without progress or enjoyment or anything worthy of time. I felt love and sorrow wash over me with the same breath. And, tonight, I witnessed suffering that I was powerless to change.
I’m not good at details when it comes to the personal lives of friends, family and even myself. This entire writing, I know, is completely unsatisfying without them. That will have to be. All I really want to say, need to say, is that the lyrics of this song became less important as I drove. I began instead to hear the music, and it moved me. Maybe you’ve had a moment like that, when finally enough has happened that you just stop, shut down, break down and feel it. The weight, and grace, of life. I am grateful tonight. I am grateful for the strength to hold my children, and for friends who place their trust in me, even though I fall apart in their arms. I am grateful for having witnessed unbelievable courage in the face of despair and vulnerability that few ever experience. And I am grateful that I have been reminded of the humanity that so easily disappears in daily life, complicated and dark as it can sometimes be.
In these long weeks, I have not been able to write one sentence, one chapter of my book. It’s so unlike me. I have written everywhere and anywhere and on demand so easily for years now.
But I have this song now playing in my head, and it has muted the static that has distracted me. I have been sinking in the quick sand of self-doubt over plot twists and setting descriptions which I am now reminded are secondary to what all writing must be – a conduit to connect one person, one reader, to the people living the story. It is this bone-deep humanity that we all long to embrace in others, even fictional characters, because we feel it within ourselves, and to live without the reminder that it exists in those around us is a lonely, intolerable state of existence.
Tomorrow I will tend to the beautiful, magnificent people in my life. I will take the lessons I have learned from them and be stronger and wiser and braver in embracing what is right in front of me. I will move forward, onward, without compromise or indecision. And I will write. Grateful.