Living in Two Worlds

Beach photoI remember reading one of those “best advice for writers” articles that told me I should never let life get in the way of my writing. It’s good advice, but I know from my own experience, living that philosophy can be impossible.

My sister died suddenly. Although she had a serious illness and death was imminent – no one expected her to go so quickly. She was my best friend. I thought I would be by her side, when she left this life, but it all happened too quickly.

Some days the grief and sadness are paralyzing. Those days I can’t move or do anything to stop the pain. Admitted they are getting fewer all the time. But those feelings definitely get in the way of my writing.

Tree and SunIt’s been over four months since her death. Her children buried her ashes on Mother’s Day, but I wasn’t there. I’ve never found anything consoling about a grave – it’s not what I want to remember about someone – especially someone with whom I shared my entire life. I want to remember her. She was so much more than a stone marker.

Dealing with the loss of someone close is difficult and coming to terms with that loss takes a long time. Being a writer, I find my fictional worlds interrupted. No matter how much the writer in me wants to write, at times the grief dominates.

Last October I signed a contract with a publisher. I got the first round of edits in February, the day after my sister’s funeral. May 5, three months to the day after her death, marked the release of my e-book. Some of the greatest moments of my writing life – the signing my first professional writing contract and release of my first book – have been very hard to celebrate.

I’m living in two different worlds.

In one world, my life is busy. Toy story - being a writerI have a wonderful family and terrific friends, and enjoy a healthy active existence. I’m happy and thrilled to be a published author. I want to celebrate this accomplishment. I want to publish more stories and continue on the path I chose for my retirement. I want to throw all my energy into my pursuit as a writer. I have so many ideas and stories to tell.

Then life gets in the way and I can’t seem to get the words onto the paper.

In the other world, I’m sometimes drowning in the loss. Silly things bring my sister back to me – a song, an old sweater, a commercial for her regular grocery store, or even the smell of a Bar-B-Q. Sometimes I forget she’s gone and dial her phone number, and then reality hits. The pain and hurt take over.

I know it’s getting better. women superheroesTime is allowing me to heal, but I do wonder sometimes how long it will take before I can think of her without feeling lost or dealing with the sadness. I’m looking forward to the day when my memories of her bring a smile to my face. I know how much she loved me and influenced my life. I cherish the strength and endurance she taught me. She was my super hero.

The effect of her life on the people around her, will last forever. The effects of her death will eventually disappear.

I’m writing a new book and I’m finally starting to make some headway. Regardless of my plans and intentions, it’s been a struggle. As a writer, I know my writing is improved and I’m depicting people and emotions much clearer in this current work, than in everything else I’ve written.

I have to wonder if life gets in the way of a writer, or if life IS THE WAY for a writer to mature and grow the craft into something special.




7 Responses to Living in Two Worlds

  1. Pingback: Living in Two Worlds | Christine Hayton – A Writing Adventure

  2. I’m sorry for your loss Christine, even though it isn’t fresh. It’s never easy losing a loved one.
    I tried to quit writing once, but it didn’t stick. I’m sure you know from this experience, if we’re passionate about something, it will hound us until we make it part of our lives.
    Good luck with your new book!

    • Thanks Ben for the kind words. If I learned anything it is that I can’t stop writing and the troubles I face only make me and my writing stronger. Keep writing – you’re good at it.

  3. sharonledwith says:

    I think we’re living in the same two worlds now, Christine. Well written and so true: Life is the way for a writer to mature and grow our craft. Glad to hear you’re picking up the pieces and rearranging them into something beautiful. Hugs.

    • I’m sure you understand more than most – as I in turn relate to your situation. We can only continue and allow our experiences to help us grow into better people and better writers. Thank you for being my friend.

  4. Cynthia Diotte says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience with me Christine. I have enjoyed your writing in the past, and still do, but I am sorry for your loss. I had no idea of the lingering pain. Your story of two worlds is well described and familiar to me as well.
    I hope and pray the joy of life bursts through for you in every way again. I also look forward to your blog again. Thank you for inviting me into your worlds.

    • Thank you Cynthia for your kind words. It’s been a long haul, but despite the pain and loss, it is possible to go on and live your life. Separating your worlds is the not only way – but the one that is working for me.

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