Silver Wordsmith: An author's journey
Permit me to be a downer, but this what’s been consuming my mood as of late, and I feel like writing about it to hopefully feel a little better. I’ve mentioned in a previous entry that I lost my dad last year. Currently I’m in the short stretch of days between what should have been his fifty fourth birthday and what will be the one-year anniversary of his passing.
I can’t say it’s been easy. In fact, I won’t say it, because that would be an outright lie, even though it’s a lie I tell myself quite regularly. I would say that it feels like a cloud has been hanging over my head for a whole month, but that would both be cliché and not entirely true. It’s not a cloud that sits above you, but a feeling that sits in you, gnaws at you, makes you hollow on the inside. What it does bring about apparently is a flair for the melodramatic, so guilty as charged, I suppose.
It doesn’t help that through mostly a coincidence, I have recently been writing out a character’s conversation with his deceased father. Now, my character’s relationship with his dad is a bit more complicated than mine, but it doesn’t change the fact that even after a year I still can’t make heads or tails of what I’m supposed to be feeling. My moods are as forceful and unpredictable as the seas, but there’s one constant thread that runs through it all that I can agree on and that is that I miss him. I miss both the presence that was and the two decades that were stolen from us. One of my kids will likely have no memories of his dyeda, while the other might retain some distant images. He was stolen from them, too.
I guess this is where the coherent train of thought starts to get away from me, as the anger rolls in. I just sit here trying not to get crushed by the weight of the things left unsaid, by everything that was left on the table like yesterday’s coffee, where the drink can now only be dumped, the mug washed and put away in a tidy cupboard somewhere. Eventually he’ll become more memory than man, such a gaping chasm these lost years will leave.
I wish I could make this blog entry into something poignant and inspirational, but I think that would be disingenuous. It’s my personal belief that in our society we have real trouble facing grief, and death, and sickness. My own writing incorporates those themes, particularly their relationship to mental disorder. I think it’s unfair to the very real feelings we experience to claim that this process is a triumph over adversity. It’s incredibly unfair to the person that is gone, pretending that the hole could ever be properly mended. It will always crack, even a little bit, and you just patch it up as best as you could.
So I guess my takeaway, or at least the first stages of a takeaway that will probably take the whole of my life to build, is to not hide from it. Process it. Take in the cruelty of it. It’s okay to thrash around. It’s okay to not find comfort in your own skin. It’s okay to feel and it’s okay to talk about those feelings. Most of us have gone or will have to go through this. This isn’t some dark thing that should be swept under the carpet. This is life. That ugly side of it without which the light won’t shine quite so brightly. This is the other side of the coin that is love. The pain that goes with belonging. Don’t be afraid to hold your loved ones close. We are human, it’s what we need to survive.
Michael is a husband, father of two, lawyer, writer, and is currently working on his first novel, at a snail's pace. A very leisurely snail. All opinions are author's own.