It’s been a year since I received the phone call that stopped my heart. On the Day of the Dead, I had no idea how much life would change from then until now.
I write romance, erotic romance, and each story ends with an uplifting of the soul: joy and passion fulfilled. What happens after in that Happily Ever After? It’s not all flowers and champagne and chocolate, and messy sheets.
Sometimes, it’s work. Sometimes, it’s tough. And sometimes, you hold on with everything you have, afraid to breathe, for fear of losing everything.
As a writer, one mentor Jo-Ann Mapson told me that if I live through it, then I get to write about it. In my non-fiction, I’ve done exactly that: challenges of daily life, infertility, the loss of a pregnancy. It’s all fodder, and in some ways I feel like sharing my stories helps others.
In romance, it’s heightened emotions. Some pull from daily life, others are fantasies. When my first book Sex University: Physical Education published and a co-worker said he had to stop reading at the first page because he couldn’t get past ME writing it, it made me hesitate. And then I wrote book two, The Vampire, The Witch & The Werewolf: A New Orleans Threesome, and I thought, “If he thinks I go to bed with a vampire and werewolf every night … well, more power to me!”
Reality is so much harsher.
Last night, my husband slept on the floor of our 6-year-old daughter’s room. Rather than reaching out to me in his anger and sorrow, he tends to turn inward. And I have to remind myself that it’s not me. Really, it’s not.
It’s the situation. One year ago, today, he went to his mother’s house to fix something and he found her in her bed, dead.
She wasn’t well. In the almost 14 years we’ve been married, she had multiple strokes, heart surgery and was on dialysis. In the six months beforehand, she fell five times, and still refused to move into assisted living. At the same time, she wasn’t ill.
She’d spent Halloween night at our house, slept on the pullout couch with my oldest daughter, and they took her home on Nov. 1. No one expected her to die the following day.
A year later of riding the wild slingshot of emotions, and life hasn’t settled down and taken it easy on us since then.
Personally, my creative side has suffered. Those who know will chuckle. In the past six weeks, I’ve had four stories release, and another one is set for next week. (All those were already “in the works.”) I’m behind schedule on a novel, and it’s difficult to focus.
When I’m done with the daily work and family activities, and I’m ready to sit down and write and something happens … which sends the husband to sleep on the floor … it’s impossible for me to write, especially about love.
But love is what I have right now. It’s the glue holding our family together, and making me remember the upside to the down. Love forces me to take a deep breath, and strap in. Because right now is tough, but it hasn’t always been this way, and it won’t always be.
And someday, I’ll gather these emotions together and infuse them within a story that maybe might help someone else. Because, that is what I do, I live through it.
*Group hug* Watching three women squeal right now and do a cute group hug. If you stuck with me, and read this blog, I’m sending one out to you.