Wednesday, December 4, 2019

IWSG ~ Recapturing Your Love of Writing After Major Life Changes

This year has been a dud, at least for me and my family. I don't like stating that out loud, let alone writing it the way I just did. But, as my husband often says, "Sometimes you just have to call a spade a spade."

I've despised the way I've felt about writing throughout this year, but even-more-so about my lack-luster approach to all of you - my cyber friends. Some of you have been blogging with me for over ten years now. 

Wow. That's kind of cool. And special. And worth doing this living (and blogging) thing together. I'm sorry I haven't been a loyal commenter on your posts this year. I've missed you so, so much. Some of you have published stories and books. Others of you have had babies or shared how your young ones have grown. I haven't missed it. I've been reading lots of your posts, but the grief my family has gone through this year zapped my desire to comment and connect. 

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More honestly, I've come to realize that grief is a thief, and as it steals your very essence and pieces of your soul it leaves crumbs of fear and uncertainty it its wake for you to choke on. At times this year I've felt as though I were dying. Smack! Out of the blue grief would attack, and a little more of me would disappear.

Grief has changed every one of my family members and each in different ways. It's been a struggle to just do the essentials like getting up in the morning, cleaning the house, working at our family business because - as we all know - writing doesn't pay a lot of bills. 

And I'm angry that grief has taken so much from us. That it's isolated my family members into our own private living quarters where we all simply exist - my husband losses himself in our family business, our youngest escapes into his video games, and our three oldest kids just don't call as often.

Grief is a master at dividing and conquering.

I'm angry that it has taken the focus off the ones we've lost to death this year and all the good they brought to our lives for so many years. Mostly, I'm angry that I've given grief permission to do all that . . . yet again.

You see, I grew up in a huge family. We had aunts and uncles coming out of our ears from all sides of the family. I have fond memories of family gathers (on both my mom and dad's side). But once I entered middle school all that changed. Death began to visit our family and with it, grief. I remember when the first aunt died. She was actually my grandmother, my best friend in the whole world.

She was there. And then she wasn't. But I believed in Heaven and that she'd always be with me, so I carried on. And in my own little mind I think I did it specifically for her. Then we lost another aunt, an uncle, and another until we'd lost eight family members in two years time. It was only as an adult that I realized that I'd turned myself off somewhere in between all that death and grief. Don't get me wrong, I could smile and laugh with the best of them. But the smiles and laughter didn't sink below the surface anymore. That is the first time I gave grief rule over my life. 

This has been the third. (There is a second time, but that's for another post.)

Remember when you first felt that stirring in your chest to write something down on paper? You could smell the flint as your heart stroked it across your brain, igniting a feeling, an idea, a story. Grabbing the closest writing utensil you could find, you jotted down your thoughts until your fingers ached. 

I recently felt that again. 

The grief that's imprisoned my love of story and creating gave way every so slightly, and let a little light speckle in. Suddenly, I began to write a new story idea. This gave me courage to promise myself that I'd finish the edits to the second book in my middle grade series by the end of this year. It's time to work on this new story, to make grief earn its keep and inspire me to spill all the feels on the page about a boy in search of his recently departed grandfather and what death really means. It's an old ache - a middle grade personal one for me - I've let churn for much too long, and I invite you to join me on this journey. I look forward to blogging more, reconnecting, and celebrating all of you. 

Thank you for always being you. ❤️ Wishing you a safe, joyous, and blessed holiday season. See you in 2020!


I never intended to write this post, but when it began coming out I knew I had to let it. Thank you for listening.

Major 'Thank you' goes out to the awesome December IWSG co-hosts: Tonja Drecker, Beverly Stowe McClure, Nicki Elson, Tyrean Martinson! You all rock it in a major way!


  1. Grief is a thief - that is very well put.
    Sorry loss and grief have stolen so much from you. Time to steal back that time lost.

    1. Thanks, Alex. You're right.
      Merry Christmas and see you next year!

  2. Grief can suck so much out of us! I'm glad you're starting to see a glimmer again. *hugs*

  3. Grief is a thief~~ truer words ever written! Grief rips out our hearts and chews it up. And we have to try to piece our hearts back together. I hope and feel from your post, you've been in the process of re-creating a strong heart. Keep it up. And wishing you A joyous Christmas with all the trimmings!

  4. You've had a hell of a year. Grief is powerful and unpredictable and attacks when we most & least expect it. Keep taking care of you and yours. Sending all the hugs

    1. Thanks, Jemi. I appreciate your heartening words. Yeah, but I also am starting to feel like it is what it is. We all go through times like these. I guess I just didn't expect it to zap my verve like it has. At least now I know that I can get it back. For a while, I was question that.

      Have a wonderful holiday season! See you next year...

  5. I'm so sorry you've had such a heartbreaking year. I hope that it helps some to get this post out, especially since you didn't intend to write it. I hope getting those feelings out has given you some comfort and peace.
    I hope the coming year is much kinder to you and your family! Merry Christmas to you, Sheri.

    1. Thanks, Julie. In reality, it's all part of life, and I've always known that - especially from my childhood experience with death. But I never expected it to take away so much of me when I can as an adult. I guess it's true that grief is made up of stages, and we each reach them at our own time.

      Here's to a much better 2020!

  6. My sympathies that you have lost so much. Grief can be strong and sneaky at the same time. Yet it's wonderful to hear you have found that love of story coming back. Here's to a terrific 2020 for all of us!

  7. You know I can relate to everything you say. I have also had huge losses in my life and my journey from grief has been long and very painful. Can totally relate to not wanting to do anything and not being at all excited about much. I lost my total desire to write for five years and am just getting it back. Grief is so hard but it is a sadly necessary part of life, especially when we lose loved ones that we are the closest to. Glad you're starting to feel like you're getting through yours. I'm always an email away if you want to talk.

  8. I have felt that ache. I have a Pastor friend who says the reason grief hurts so much is that we know it isn't supposed to be this way - we're meant for eternal life, without any separation for a time through death in this world (kind of looking at garden of Eden times before the fall) - and so when there is a death, we feel the wrongness of it as well as the pain of it and it's devastating. I hope I haven't overstretched by saying too much faith stuff here, but please know that I'm praying for you (in a good way, not a Bible beating way) and I hope you find deep love and laughter in the middle of this.
    And I'm really glad you've felt that strong urge to write again.

  9. Hi SA, I hope the grief waves aren't as high or drowning as time moves on. I don't know if you've seen this letter written by a grieving man, but it resonates with me:

    "Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers, grandparents, mom, relatives, teachers, mentors, students, neighbors, and a host of other folks. I have no children, and I can't imagine the pain it must be to lose a child. But here's my two cents.

    I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don't want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don't want it to "not matter". I don't want it to be something that just passes. My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can't see.

    As for grief, you'll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you're drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it's some physical thing. Maybe it's a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it's a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.

    In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don't even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you'll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what's going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything...and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.

    Somewhere down the line, and it's different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O'Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you'll come out.

    Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don't really want them to. But you learn that you'll survive them. And other waves will come. And you'll survive them too. If you're lucky, you'll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks."

  10. Sounds tough. Outside looking in I doubt I understand. I even fight with depression regularly and can't remember how bad it can get during a respite.

    Know this! You're not alone.


    Anna from elements of emaginette

  11. Grief comes at you in waves. After losing my cousin - my favorite cousin - to a forest fire two months ago, it's hit me in places I didn't expect, reminding me of the grief of losing my parents 8 and 42 years ago. We can't let it drown us though.

  12. I've done the same thing with grief. It shuts down all my creativity and the only way out of it was time. I'm glad you're making inroads into coming through though I'm sure there will be days and hours when it isn't easy. May the holidays be blessed and heartfelt for you and yours.

  13. I'm so glad you were able to write about this. I think it sparks the healing process. I will be praying for you and your family. May this upcoming year be better and more productive!

  14. That was written well. Grief is a thief and he is always present making an appearance throughout our lifetime and sometimes with memory triggers. May this year bring you joy and the ability to cope that jails that thief for a time. Wishing you all healing, joy and love.

  15. Grief does steal and weigh down, but I think it (like everything) does have it's time and place. Without it, things wouldn't be fine either. But I'm glad that spark is finally back and may it hold for a long time!

  16. Oh, Sheri. I can tell that every word of this post flowed straight from your soul. I'm sorry 2019 has been so difficult for you and your family. Remember that no matter what kind of time grief has stolen from you, you will ALWAYS smell the flint (very cool metaphor, btw) again. I'm happy it's come back for you now and hope it does for the rest of your family as well.

  17. I'm sorry 2019 sucked and that Death has been around too much. Sometimes it takes a while to come back from it.

  18. So sorry to hear what you've been through. Grief is a necessary process, but that doesn't mean it should steal parts of your life. I hope in time, your family can come together more to smile and remember the good times with your loved ones. I know that helps us. We remember Andrew a lot but in the last couple of years I've also lost my dad, an aunt, and an uncle - none of whom were older than 70. I know all of them fought to the end and wouldn't want the rest of us to become stuck in a mire. I hope 2020 is a more hopeful and productive year for you.

  19. I can so relate to this. Sometimes it takes a little bit of time, sometimes it takes a lot. Time is our friend when it comes to grief, though it may not feel like it. Huge virtual hugs to you. And may next year be an awesome year for writing.

  20. Hi Sheri - unfortunately we need to live through it - grief does steal, yet it's a part of life ... it's better to grieve, or switch off until you're ready to acknowledge the grief.

    I've just written a post about a charity dealing with grief, then I was talking to a member of the book group I belong to ... and he was saying his daughter is struggling after the sudden loss of her husband in August - I suggested he went to counselling ... he suddenly realised that's what he needed ... he looked relieved, even at the suggestion ...

    Good luck to you Sheri - here's to a happier and easier year ... and to adjusting as time goes on - with thoughts - Hilary

  21. Hi Sheri!

    I know you have been through so much over the decade plus I have known you, but I didn't know how grief robbed you of your writing... I am sorry to hear it. BUT, I am THRILLED for you and the new spark that has ignited this wonderful new story idea. I think is is SO important for children of any age to read about others who have lost loved ones in their lives. They need to know that are not alone and that they need to vent out their emotions. They will now be able to do that with your new story!

    With me, life has robbed me of my writing. Not so much grief, just circumstances... I have so wanted to complete my current WIP and I am almost there, but for the past six months, I have not had the time to write. MOVING, MOVING, MOVING, has been my life. I am so TIRED of moving: packing up boxes, loading up trucks, driving these trucks, unpacking these trucks, and the unpacking the countless boxes and finding places to put all the CRAP I have accumulated for the past fifty plus years. LOL. UGH. Then, the discovery of skin cancer, yet another hurdle I need to jump over. Not fun, but thank God, it was cut out and I hope will not return. I just need to be screened every six months to make sure. A hassle, but one that is manageable.

    Once I get through my LAST (It better be!) kitchen remodel, I may be able to get back to writing. I thought moving to the country was supposed to be relaxing.... HA! try to find contractors who will show up is a small miracle. Workers here do not want to work. They don't even care about the money! This is a whole new concept to me. City contractors always want their money and will work quite hard to get it. Not here...

    Anyway... I agree we both need to keep connected to our wonderful blogger friends! I wish you and your family a very HAPPY and HEALTHY new year and new decade!

    Sending HUGS your way!


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