Reblog: DABDA | Grace for my Heart

A post which says that losing a relationship should be respected as a source of pain and grief, not just losing someone through death:

It’s Narcissist Friday!        Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance The stages of grief I have often felt that the death of a marriage should be considered as sad as the death of …

Source: David Orrison, DABDA | Grace for my Heart

 

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Experience makes my writing richer

The grief of a parent passing is not just my grief, but everyone’s.  There are exceptions, of course–parents who terrorized their kids, kids dying before their parents–but it is universal.

Going through this myself, has given me new insights and maturity.  It also has altered the novel I’m working on, the rewrite of Unwilling Time-Traveler.  In the rewrite, Bismarck’s father dies, but it was just a note here and there, explaining that Bismarck had just inherited the family estate.

But now, I had some grief and trauma from the bedside experience, which I wanted to purge somehow.  I wanted to write about it, but not as a blog post or in letters to friends.  Some things are just too disturbing for that, especially when it’s about your own loved one.

But here was a chance to put it into words, not about my own dad, but about a fictional character.  A way to portray those moments, but altered to fit a different family.

And in putting that into my book, I have also altered the plot again–now combining four characters into two, and turning things into a slightly different track and focus.  Now Bismarck’s brothers, who before were just bit players off to the side, are taking on a larger role, absorbing them into two other characters who were more prominent.  I’m excited to see how this will change the story.

Last fall sometime, I thought my story was done.  Turns out that was just one possibility for how the story could go.  At a recent writer’s club meeting, one of our published authors (traditional, not self!) noted that writers get stuck on a story having to go the way they’ve already written it.  But until it’s published, you can alter it any way you want to.  You can change scenes, cut scenes, alter characters, change the plot.

And my story–though the first version was fun to write–keeps changing as I come up with new ideas and focuses.  Bismarck used to be evil, but over time he’s become a flawed but well-meaning character.  Madge’s true love used to be Torsten, then became Scott–and now has become Bismarck himself.

I hold onto every version of my story, not just in case I change my mind and want to revert to an earlier one, but because those earlier versions were fun to write.  I may want to read them over again years from now.  But the one that ultimately gets sent to publishers–We won’t know how that’ll look until I finish it!

 

 

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The undercurrent of grief after Dad’s passing

One thing I’ve noted about grief after the death of a parent from disease, is that it’s different from a romantic or friendship breakup: There was no rejection.  It is acute, but in a different way.  I wonder at the lack of tears.

But then, I cried quite a bit the day of his death.  Not after, but before.  I knew it was coming, I was by his bedside, his breathing had become rough, and he was now in a comatose state.  His pain made me cry.  I couldn’t bear it.  Seeing my mom, his primary caregiver, worn out, made me cry.

I had hoped to spend all week spending time with him, watching TV with him since the lung cancer was taking his breath away.  But it took him so quickly that he was barely verbal the first couple of days I was there.  He’d been fighting two other forms of cancer but beating them.  Then the third was discovered, and the nurse gave him only a month.  He didn’t even last that long.  Even my brothers could barely stand it.

The first day I arrived, a Sunday, he could speak a little, and responded when we all surrounded his bedside.  He knew I was there.  The second, he managed to say a few intelligible sentences, though you could tell his mind was going.  The third, I don’t remember if he spoke at all.  The fourth, late in the evening, he left us.  As I told my mom, I didn’t have enough time.

Before he passed, I tried to still sort of spend time with him.  His bed was in the living room, so I turned on our old favorite shows, as a way to watch them “with” him.  He could barely attend to anything now, but Mom kept saying he could hear.

But the day he passed, as I heard his breathing, I began to break down.  But after he passed, I didn’t cry anymore.  Just once, on the way home after the funeral.  Maybe a few tears come to my eyes once in a while.

Maybe it’s because the pain is finally over for him.  Maybe it’s because we knew about this possibility for two years, as he battled the cancer.  Maybe it’s because the anniversaries haven’t started coming.

Well, actually, they have.  Remember how, after 9/11, we referred to it as “Tuesday,” before the first week passed?  It took a while before we called it 9/11 or September 11, because it had only just happened.  But we’d note it was Tuesday, or a week ago, or whatever.

Well, little things happen: I see it’s the same time of night that he passed.  Or I see the date written someplace.  Or I think, “It’s been a week.”  This evening, it’ll be two weeks.  Or I think, “The funeral was a week ago.”

I go about my day normally, attending to things normally, enjoying TV shows and such.  But then late at night, or first thing in the morning, I’ll remember.  Or a smell will bring it back.  Or last night, watching the premiere of Queen Sugar on OWN network, as their father died.

I can understand why men in WWII came home and didn’t want to speak of what happened.  You don’t want to remember the bad times.  You want to remember the good times.  You don’t want to remember the death, but the life.

And yes, I saw and heard things that were traumatizing.  I’ve told my husband, I’ve told a friend, and my family saw them too, but I haven’t spoken about them elsewhere.  I certainly haven’t written them here.

I just want to remember the good.  I want to remember the things which I wrote in Dad’s eulogy.

Pop Evil’s “Torn to Pieces” was based on real-life loss of a father:

 

 

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