It’s been a hard week. The death of a loved one seems to push us closer to the veils of mystery, so real life seems bizarre and dislocated. Not that it isn’t, usually, but we’re so accustomed to the mayhem we fit ourselves into the patterns around us and call it normalcy. This week felt like we belonged in a different picture entirely.
I’m lucky my office mates are understanding and compassionate. In fact, we received a condolences card from them in the mail yesterday that moved us both. Today, we saw the obituary. In an odd instance of real-life parallelism, I realized my mother-in-law died almost eight years exactly (within a week) of her mother. I remember my grandma speculating about the impact of her mother’s death on the timing of her death. Grandma died in February of 1997, as I recall within a month of the anniversary of her mother’s death.
It seems a foreshadowing worthy of fiction and a reflection of some of the strange experiences we’ve had in our mourning. The day after Sharon died, we had tickets to a concert we’d been looking forward to for months. In my haze, I forgot our tickets in the car, so hubs went to retrieve them before we finished dinner. He was graced with a rainbow that was already gone by the time he returned to the restaurant. The next day we came home to a horde of dragonflies–the first we’ve seen on our property in the two years we’ve lived here. This property isn’t one I’d normally consider hospitable for those insects, either, since we’re not even remotely close to enough water to sustain them. Both instances felt out of the ordinary, like we were being smiled at from the other side.
We’re working toward normalcy, though it’s sometimes more difficult than others. I’ve been editing as time and focus allow, though it’s frustrating to me that I’m not already done with this story. I love that I found an editor who challenges me and points out those areas where my writing is weak. It also means that editing is much more than “approve tracked changes” this time around, and I’m lucky if I get 10 pages done in a sitting. I’m writing, rewriting, and adding more every time I face the manuscript. This is most likely to end up my longest novel at this rate–though I won’t be changing the core damage that drives my protagonist… even if it may be triggering for some readers.
My reading and research indicate child abuse is prevalent, and most likely to be committed by mothers. Survivors’ long-term mental health leads to a host of coping mechanisms, that include a much more wary approach to relationships. Given the size of the population affected this way, it feels right and important to me to tell a story with a protagonist who faces these issues. From a different angle, women have other hurdles to overcome in being found credible. In fact, my new favorite coinage is “wo-minimizing” as opposed to “mansplaining” for its more proper focus on what happens in those interactions.
This week will be crazy with work travel Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, so there’s no time left for wallowing in sadness. So I’ll keep plodding forward and worry about missing deadlines more when I’m in a better head space. In the meantime, I recommend you visit the other ROW80ers, and I’ll be back again next week with my regularly scheduled updates.