Don't Forget to Remember Them9/16/2013
About a week ago, I was in the middle of my routine late night swim when something strange happened. An older woman and her daughter were approaching the pool. When I saw the older woman, I squinted to get a better look and I could not believe my eyes. I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. I did my best not to stare as the woman's daughter helped her get into the pool. A few minutes later a young boy came out of the locker rooms and joined the woman in the pool. I watched the woman's face light up when she saw the young boy. I figured the boy was her grandson. He swam over to her and she embraced him, kissing his head lovingly and telling him that she loved him. Before I knew it, a tear began to leak slowly out of the corner of my eye; this woman looked exactly like my grandmother. My grandmother passed five years ago but the sting of her absence still brings tears to my eyes. When I saw the older woman at the pool, I was reminded of how much I love and miss my grandmother.
When loved ones leave this life and transition into their next phase, they leave behind many memories and great sadness. Of course we, the ones left to mourn them, do our best not to be selfish in our thinking but it is natural to wonder why they had to go. As time goes on, we learn to live without the ones who have gone before us. We learn to occupy our time so that we don't break down and cry and the very thought of them. We find a way to put our grief in a "safe place," out of sight and especially out of our minds. We reserve a special place for that grief, careful not to let it show at inappropriate times. We may revisit the grief on that loved one's birthday or on the anniversary of their death. For a day or two, we allow ourselves to remember and mourn only to return to business as usual the next day; but what happens when grief resurfaces at an unexpected time? What happens when we are bombarded with memories of that loved one on a day other than their birthday or the anniversary of their death? What happens when we find a tear seeping out at the sight of someone who looks exactly like them? That is exactly where I found myself the other day when I saw the woman who looked like my grandmother. I couldn't pretend as if I didn't see her and I certainly could not ignore how heartwarming it was to see her embrace her grandson, the way my granny used to embrace me.
There I was on a Thursday evening in a pool forced to face my grief head-on; the same grief that I carefully tucked away only for those "designated times." Truth is, sometimes we cannot be strong. Sometimes we cannot stop the tears and sometimes our grief finds a way to sneak out of that "safe place." In those moments we must let our tears flow. We must allow our hearts and minds to be overwhelmed with memories of that loved one. We must let thoughts of them be as vivid as our mind allows them to be. In those moments, we must GRIEVE. It is painful and uncomfortable but it is part of the human experience. As I watched the woman and her grandson playing in the pool, I slid my goggles up, away from my eyes and sat motionless in the water. I sat allowing my tears to flow freely. I remembered baking 7-up cakes with my grandmother. I remembered her warm hugs and her singing voice. I remembered holding her soft but cold hand the day before she died. I remembered doing my best to read her obituary at her funeral in spite of the fact that tears muffled my speech. I remembered all that I possibly could about my granny and allowed myself to mourn her death. Eventually the memories started to fade and my tears began to subside. Oddly, I found myself smiling. It was almost as if I could hear granny saying "keep swimming Alex, don't cry." I was comforted in knowing that my granny doesn't have to suffer anymore. I hoped that she was watching over me and most importantly that she was proud of the woman I've become. I also wanted her to know that I have not forgotten her and that I never will. As you read this, take a second to stop and think about the person/people that you have lost. If you need to cry, cry. If you feel like looking at pictures of them, look at pictures of them. It is okay for us to mourn even if it isn't a lost loved one's birthday. We should remember them as often as possible, even if that means shedding a few tears. Don't ever be so busy that you forget to remember them.
0 CommentsLabor & Delivery9/1/2013
A wise woman (Mrs. Kathy Green, publishing consultant at Kudu Publishing Co.) once told me that writing a book is much like having a baby. The point at which you come up with the idea for the book could be considered the time of conception. As you start to write the story, carefully crafting it into the picture you had in mind at the time of conception, the "baby" is growing. Each phase of your book can be compared to the three trimesters that an expectant mother goes through. There are often pains and discomfort during a pregnancy. Sometimes there are even complications that could pose a threat to the health of the baby. Perhaps the hardest part of a pregnancy is the uncertainty. Am I ready to care for this little person? What will their personality be like? Will my baby be healthy? While it can be exciting to speculate on what will happen once that little person arrives-you have no idea how things will turn out. This is exactly what writing a book feels like. You wonder things like: will people buy my book? Will people be moved by my story?
In February of this year, I decided that I would start writing my book. Many of you may know that I had just wrapped another writing project the month before. I was excited and motivated to get started on my next project immediately! I challenged myself to establish a rigorous writing schedule which usually meant writing sessions of 3-4 hours at a time. I did very well in the beginning but after about a month or so, I hit a rough patch. Mainly because I was starting to write about my first marriage. You could say that this phase was my second trimester and I was experiencing some pain.
One thing you should know is that when I write about something (no matter what it is) I have to place myself in the situation that I'm writing about. That's the only way I can write effectively and capture all of the thoughts and feelings that make a story interesting. In order to tell my story, I had to revisit those dark places that I lived in during my first marriage. I had to delve back into all of the painful emotions I endured during my divorce. I had to relive my "personal hell." This proved to be more difficult than I thought it would be. I started to have nightmares of arguments I once had with my ex-husband. All of a sudden, I remembered every single detail of my life at that time and I hated it.
During this phase, I remember subconciously finding ways to avoid writing or trying to skip around and start working on other chapters. It was during this time that God spoke to me reminding me that I needed to tell my story in order to help someone else who was going through the same thing. I was also reminded that although reliving those times was very painful, I was delivered from them! I lived to tell about my experiences so I needed to finish the job. I had to press on past the pain and not abort this baby. Somewhere along the way, I fought through and continued on. James was a constant source of encouragement, always pushing me and motivating me to write as much as I could. Without his constant support, I would have never finished this book. He was much like a caring husband to his expectant wife, helping to soothe and comfort the various pains of carrying a child. Now in the third trimester, I can reflect on the effort it has taken to reach this point and smile. I know that the time is nearing to birth this baby. I'm uncertain yet ready. I'm ready to see this project come to fruition. I am ready to touch lives with my story. I am forever grateful to every person who has had a role in helping this to come to pass. The time for labor and delivery is nearing. I can't wait for the world to meet my baby.