One of the last “real” conversations I had with Sam was on the way home from a Thanksgiving gathering at one of my sisters’ houses, in the dark car with music playing quietly. Some of our best conversations have taken place in the car, where there are no outside distractions and neither of us can actually leave or ignore the other person (this is actually true with all of my children).
At any rate, we were talking about our individual spiritual callings and how hard it is to discern them, about where our journeys were leading us, about our talents and gifts. Sam was telling me that I need to write. “Mom,” he said, “you have gone through so much and survived and you are such a good writer, you need to write your book.” At that point, he got emotional and emphasized, “You have important things to say and people need to hear them.” At the time, I was touched that he felt so sure of my abilities and believed in me so much that he was getting emotional about it.
Now, of course, the entire conversation is different when you take into account the fact that he committed suicide two days later. Many different things have come up that indicate (prove, to me) that his suicide was not an impulsive decision but a well-thought-out plan. In that context, I believe that he was silently telling me that he was going to be giving me another chapter, knowing that I process things by writing about them and encouraging me to do that so “the people” could also see.
That conversation with Sam is why I joined this 500 Word Challenge. It isn’t as if I am compelled to write simply because Sam wanted me to, although of course, his words carry some weight. Instead, it’s like I don’t have anything to be afraid of anymore. I have always wanted to write a book, ever since I was a small child, and I have always been crippled by self-doubt and fear of failure and fear of success and all of the other fears that get in the way of me not working toward my dreams.
So doing this challenge, reviving the old blog ( I chose this just because the platform was already established), writing every day, is how I start actively pursuing this-not a dream, but a goal-book-writing thing. Some of my words here will be used in it, but since I am not supposed to worry much about editing or how I “sound” or anything like that, I can simply write. The rest will come, as long as I just write. I am a routine-oriented person (which sounds so much better than rigid and averse to change!), so I know that establishing a daily habit will help immensely.
Also? I am learning that part of the grieving process involves a lack of decision-making ability, poor focus, brain fog, numbness, and a general inability to function at anywhere near a “normal” level. I do not know how long this will last, and I accept that there are days where I will only be able to do the bare minimum. Some days, if all I can do is write 500 words and cook dinner, then that’s going to have to be ok.