Knowing Myself

As I have written about on this page, I write fiction and am also writing a sort-of memoir about the grief process of losing our son. I had set the goal this week of completing two more chapters on that memoir, and as the week comes to a close, I have only written about a half a chapter. The trouble with a control freak like me is that I feel I haven’t met my goal, and that bothers me. But the truth of the matter is that this week the grief was too close to the surface for me to be able to write about it in a somewhat detached way. This week we celebrated the fourth of July, and could hear our good friends (and Sam’s good friends) celebrate with their annual family party. I kept trying to get the strength to walk over to the event, because we love those friends and Sam loved going to that party each year, but somehow I couldn’t muster the strength to do it. Our grandchildren came for the day, and it hit me anew how sad it is that they are growing up without their Uncle Sam around. We went to a local ice cream social, and all I could feel was how much I used to love going with all of our kids, and somehow, the empty chair seemed emptier than usual. Then, in this last week, the old maple tree across the road started to break apart, which has bothered me more than I realized. That tree has been part of our lives for all the time we lived in our house. The neighbor who lives there is in her 90s, and we heard how sad she was that the tree was dying, as she had wanted the tree to outlive her. That hit really hard, because we posthumously planted a maple tree for Sam because of his love of trees, and we love and pamper that tree because it symbolizes him. Somehow, hearing our neighbor’s distress about her tree made the symbolism of our tree even more vivid.

So, as the week winds to a close, I had to recognize that maybe what I need to accept is that I can set reasonable goals in regards to fiction, and hold my own feet to the fire about those goals, but I need to recognize in myself when I can’t touch the other writing because it’s too painfully intense.

Maybe my accomplishment this week was learning something new about myself.

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