Inspiration: At the End of All Things
I always knew what I wanted to be. From the time I was old enough to spit out words, I was telling stories.
But for three years, I couldn’t find my own voice. It was buried under an endless heap of despair, brought on by problems that weren’t even my own. My mother was dying, and though I didn’t want to believe it, I think I knew right up until the moment she took her last breath while sleeping that Death was lurking around the corner, waiting for the right moment to hold out his arms and welcome her home.
Don’t I know it?
It’s only been ten months since she died, and those ten months have been harder than the endless months leading up to it; but there has been so much inspiration during these last ten months, it’s been almost impossible to turn it off at times. Sometimes I don’t even know where to put it so it doesn’t get lost.
Seven years ago, when my mother was still relatively healthy, I wrote 3/4s of a novel during NaNoWriMo about a young woman whose mother died unexpectedly. The event brought her back to her small hometown, and helped her come to terms with some preconceived notions she’d cooked up about the town, the people who lived there and life itself.
I don’t know why I never finished it seven years ago. I have my hunches, of course. I had a lot going on at the time, including finals before graduation from university, and by mid-December the nearly completed novel got shoved onto the back burner and I more or less forgot about it until a few months ago.
I found it on my portable hard drive after my husband and I came back from vacation, started reading through it, and I realized with an emotional gasp that I could actually relate to the main character in ways I hadn’t been able to before. Sure, people in my family had died, and over the years I’ve even lost a few friends, but I hadn’t lost my mother.
And despite our vast collection of issues over the years (and we had so many of them I could probably write about a hundred books about troubled mother/daughter relationships), my mother was a huge part of my world. I don’t think I fully understood how painful it would be for a young woman to lose her mother until my own mother was gone.
Suddenly, that novel needed to be finished, and so it was. I wrote feverishly for almost two weeks, bringing the story to a close with a sigh of relief. Maybe it was strange, but I felt upon completion that I could let go of my sorrow and set my mother free.
Sometimes it feels like I wrote the bulk of that story to prepare me for the things I couldn’t see coming because as I read back through it, it comforted me. My own words helped me come to terms with the way I’d been feeling, and for the first time since my mother’s death, I realized that I have to write.
Not just for her, but for myself, because watching her slip away those last three years made me understand something I still have trouble accepting sometimes.
Inspiration begs to be discovered in every moment we endure, most especially at the end of all things.
Writing is life and my own words will carry me from this life into the next. Those words will linger long after I’m gone; and those I’ve loved will never be forgotten.