My husband died. Yes, my loving husband whom I only knew for thirteen years is gone. I can’t string words together to create sentences or even phrases that can amply describe the sadness I feel, even as a writer, there are no earthly words that can capture my grief. All I know is his death has changed me, and it has changed my writing.
Michael became ill in mid-May of 2014. At the time, we didn’t know what was really going on. He was experiencing back pain that steadily got worse. Much to our detriment, we trusted our family doctor. He told us time and time again the pain was nothing to worry about, and Michael would be fine. He was wrong to the worst degree. My husband ended up at Beth Israel in Boston two months later where we were told Michael had pancreatic cancer eight days before he died.
Through all of Michael’s sickness, his hospital visits and stays, his home-bed-ridden days, his tests, and the vials and vials of blood drawn from his body, I stopped writing.
In the hospital, Michael told me to make sure I didn’t stop. I said, “I can’t right now, but don’t worry, it’s percolating” and then I laughed because he frequently used this as an excuse when I caught him playing on his iPad during work hours. My story was in fact brewing, and I now understood that he wasn’t playing hooky.
The moment I had left off in the novel, I had to decide if a main character was going to die.
It’s been two months and a week since my beloved died, and I’ve returned to the opening of the book because I’m not the same person, and I know my writing has changed. While reading chapter one, I was hit with how superficial the novel is. It needs meaning behind the actions and I need to add layers and layers. The page once lived contently as a two dimensional space, but now I can see the possibility of an infinite amount of dimensions, and it’s my job to put words inside those worlds. I don’t know if I’m up for the task yet, but at least now I can see the empty space where as before I didn’t even know it existed.
Just like my real life, I have to find something to fill the emptiness. There has to be more to this world I’ve created than just the words I’ve used to express it. Something lurks beneath my sadness, something greater than my grief, and I think when I search with a bright enough light, I’ll find out just what that is.