In an earlier post, I may have written about the concept of "life rolls." These are events that happen in your life that can temporarily derail you. They don't have to be bad - but they are often major.
On August 24th I was struck with not one but two major life rolls. My dear mother-in-law, whom I had been taking care of for some time, passed away.
Within the hour we received news that our dog, Barney, had to be put to sleep.
One of these is bad. Together? I wept in someone's arms, saying I couldn't cope with it. That I wasn't strong enough to deal with the weight of grief.
But I did. And I am. More or less.
I gave myself permission to drop everything, including the writing, for a time. The time was brief for some things (I only took one week off of my column that appears on Saturdays, but it was not due to pressure - I could have taken longer - but I wanted to see if I could still do it).
I worried that grief had broken writer brain. I had a Romance Writing Workshop I was scheduled to go to in less than a month, and I wondered if I could still write decent fiction. Perhaps it seems strange that I would worry about that, but I had a lot of trouble with writing after my father-in-law died.
I decided to go ahead and go to the workshop after the people giving it encouraged me to come. There was a story assignment. I wrote something for it, only getting stuck when it came to a title - and usually titles are the first thing I come up with. But I put together a tale that had a beginning, middle, and end.
I went to the workshop. I did most of the exercises assigned and wrote two more stories, as well as two novel sketches. And to my relief, I discovered writing brain was not broken. I could still produce good fiction.
And I only had one meltdown and one choked-up moment. So that was a win too.
Now? As one person put it, I'm finding my sea legs. I am no longer a caregiver, so looking to fill that empty space in my life is what I'm working on. It's not a straight line - grief appears to take weird turns and detours - and I'm still trying to find my way.
But I WILL find it.
Next month I plan to tackle Nanowrimo, and hope to thrash out 50,000 words. It feels daunting. But maybe, just maybe, I can do it.
If you're a praying person, pray for me as I walk this road. If you don't pray, I'll take good thoughts. If you've read this far, thank you.