Help for Healing

Bitter & Sweet, living daily with grief


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Still Finding Things Out

So I was at Christmas this year with my family as usual. I brought a copy of the book cover to show everyone. Whenever I look at the cover, it renews my enthusiasm. Having that cover to look at makes the project seem real. It’s really happening! There truly is a book!

Everyone responded favorably but I was sitting on the couch later feeling a little let down. A few of my family were near me so I asked them about the cover. I told them I didn’t really know what I was expecting, but I thought they would be a little more excited. Did they have some constructive criticism they were afraid to say? I wanted to hear it if that was the case. They all immediately responded. They all loved it. But seeing the cover reminded them again that Tim is gone. And Christmas won’t ever be the same again. Duh. I work on the book and think about it every day. I look at it like I’m trying to make lemonade from a big ‘ol batch of lemons. And that’s true. But of course, it is still a sad story. I swallowed hard and told them I was relieved they liked it.

Later in the afternoon, we got chatting about some of the events that occurred during Tim’s sickness. Some stories were funny, some made us mad as we remembered people who didn’t behave so well during that time. Then, my niece Sara brought something up and I was puzzled. Everyone else in the room knew exactly what she talking about. I had no idea.

Sara is single and owns a house that used to be a schoolhouse. She is extremely artistic and has decorated her house in a most unique, clever way. Every once in a while she would ask Tim to come help her with some projects. He built her a set of book shelves at one point that went to the ceiling. When he was in Hospice, she brought in one of the shelves and had Tim sign it. I had no idea that happened. Sara said she even had a picture of it. She looked through her phone and sure enough, there was Tim’s hand, signing a board on a hospital bed.

It’s not that it’s a big deal. But it’s been two years he’s been gone already. It still amazes me when I find things out that happened that I was oblivious to. I felt like I was at his side almost every minute. I tried to pay attention to everything. Yet, I missed so much. There have been so many things that other people witnessed and experienced that I hear about later. And the stories obviously aren’t over. So glad Sara thought to do that. And so glad it came up in Christmas chatter.


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Zoo Visit

Just when I thought we were done with editing, I lay in bed last night thinking of two stories that I should probably add to the book. Weird how things come back to you. So then I thought I would blog one of them as decide whether its important to be included in the book or not.

One day, Frankie and I decided to go to the zoo with my friend and her two kids. It was an activity we try to do once every summer. So maybe doing something “normal” will make life feel normal, even for just a day. We drove together because its a small hike and parking is an issue sometimes. The plan worked well for part of the day. Then the phone rang.

Tim was at work, but decided he just wasn’t feeling good and needed to go home. He said he felt well enough to drive himself, but I could tell he was struggling. He didn’t want me to rush home so I tried to continue on with the day’s events. The anxiety crept in pretty quickly. I had to be home. I needed to be home. I looked at the kids and gave them the disappointing news. They were all good sports.

The anxiety mounted quickly. We just couldn’t get to the car quick enough. My friend couldn’t drive fast enough. My throat was starting to constict. Several lessons learned. Number one, never ever drive together with someone. I have to understand that life can turn on a dime and I need to be able to leave any situation quickly. If we had driven separately, the kids could have stayed longer at the zoo. Lesson number two, don’t ever, ever think your life will be “normal” again. Never.


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Dashes

Did you know there is more than one kind of dash? One is actually longer than the other and there are different rules for each. My editor is a stickler for rules. My point is, is there really anyone reading my personal story who is going to think for even a second “Oh, I think that is the wrong kind of dash!” ?? I’m pretty detail oriented and I never noticed in all these years that some dashes/hyphens were slightly longer than others.

BUT… if you don’t pay attention to the details, the implication is that you are lazy or don’t want the best for your book. So you literally spend hours checking every dash and hyphen to make sure you have the correct one inserted. Hours. And I learned something about myself in this process- I use an awful lot of dashes when I write! By the way, that last one is NOT proper.

And there are just as many rules for zillions of other things- paranthesis, quotation marks, smiley faces, numbers, and on and on and on. So I cooperate but I whine about it.

Then your ten year old comes home from school and says he heard a rumor that his friend’s stepfather died over the weekend. I check it out. Yep, its true. Died at just 34 years old. His friend just spent the night at our house the day before his dad died. Crazy. We went to the funeral home briefly. I know how important it is to have people show up. Dave says “Now I have a lot more in common with my friend, don’t I?”

I’ve got to stop whining about dashes.


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Renewed Enthusiasm

So writing a book is kinda crazy.  It’s not the actual story that is so hard, at least not for me.  It’s everything else that goes with it.  Things you wouldn’t even think of.  Getting permissions for writing, song lyrics, photos… seems endless.  We’ve actually ARGUED over punctuation and capitalization. 

Editing?  Over and over and over again.  I’m doing the seven millionth edit and I can’t believe I still find typos.  Marketing is a whole other beast.  And I mean a beast.  Designing the cover, changing this, tweaking that.   Over and over and over again.

Today, Brigette and I met with some key people at Hospice.  My experience with Hospice was awesome when Tim was sick.  But going to a not-for-profit organization to ask for assistance with a book that I am hoping to actually make a profit on, was a little scary.  I want to be linked with them because it’s a natural fit, but I really didn’t know what to expect.

It was a truly great experience.  They could not have been more friendly or helpful.  “What else can we do for you?”  “What other ways can we help you?”  I couldn’t believe it.  We walked out of there on cloud nine.  We needed a boost with all the mundane jobs we have been tackling, and this did it.  How great to have the support of such an amazing organization?   Once again, I walked away from that building with hope in my heart.  Just pulling into the parking lot can cause me to have stomach issues, but I left with a huge smile on my face.

A sweet day.  Could use those every once in a while, know what I mean?