Mom and Bob would have been married 38 years today. They married when I was 14. When I think about how much has happened between 14 and 51, I am astounded by all that’s contained within 38 years. They loved each other so well, Mom and Bob. I miss them every day.
My sweet cousin, Maria, is marrying her love, Garret, today. The next generation. I’m home sick with a wicked bout of vertigo and nausea wishing I could be celebrating with them, imagining how beautiful and happy she is on her big day. But they are surrounded with love and laughter and family and friends in these very special moments. It is more than enough.
I’ve been in a funk since Mom died. It’s manifesting itself in most every aspect of my life. I haven’t reached out to friends much. I stay inside most of the time. My social life has become more than stagnant. I prefer the company of dogs and books to drinks and small talk.
I’m not sure who I even am right now.
And my writing. Ugh, my writing. I have edited my memoir to death, and I’m still not ready to send it out into the world. Is it something people want to read? Is it something worth sharing? Is it too much? (I’ve so often been told I’m too much.) I’ve begun a second novel as well as my first YA book. But they sit, too, untended and languishing, even though my characters are whispering in my ear to tell their stories. (I hear you, Quinnie. I do.)
I get caught up in the weirdness of the publishing world. To build a platform or to not build a platform? To invest in publicity or to do it myself? To query agents or take my destiny in my own hands? Big Four or self-pub or somewhere in between? It’s paralyzing if you let it be.
And I’ve let it be.
It’s mid-February, and it’s bleak and cold and gray outside. And every time I move too quickly, my whole world starts spinning. Literally. Maybe it’s okay to just sit right now. To recognize what these past few years have taken from us collectively, what they’ve taken from me individually.
To breathe. To exhale.
I just know I don’t want to stay here. There is so much still that I want to do with my words and my work and my life.
But I am stuck in this resting place, and I’m not sure when I’ll feel like beginning the marathon again. When I’ll commit to the training and gumption it takes to make it to the finish line. I suppose we all need rest now and then, but I can feel the weight of years creeping up on me, and I am realizing—as my body and mind begin to fail and betray me in small, unexpected ways—that I don’t have an infinite number of years left.
Really, none of us do.
Aging, though, has a way of making sure we don’t forget that our time is precious. Losing our loved ones is a stark reminder that nothing ever stays the same and that no one stays forever.
So, I can only let myself settle for so long. There are words to write. There are mountains to climb. There are people to love. There are places to travel. There is work yet to do.
But today. At least today.
I am on hold.
We have so little cultural context to support mourning. Of course you need to withdraw, to pause. Of course you are spinning. Yes we want to read your stories. When you are ready to give them, to deal with all that comes with that, you will know. Meanwhile, I hold you with respect, appreciation and gratitude while you are on hold.