Oh, it’s been a looong time since I’ve posted. In the interim between the last post and this one, we got a puppy and our son died. That last sentence is baldly factual, but the emotions, experiences and changes that crowd those two facts are immense, more than can be encompassed in words. Isn’t that the gist of what writers try to do—either flesh out the facts with emotion and experiences that change the characters or distill their characters’ emotions, experiences and changes into words?
Some things forever change you. Most things can, if you allow it, but some things change you without your permission. You’re never not changed by death. Whether it is a person you hardly knew, an elderly family member whose death is expected or a child whose death blindsides you, you are forever changed. You see just a little differently, think just a little deeper, become aware of things you couldn’t imagine. If you’ve never done it, could you imagine how it feels to drop a rose onto a casket? Could you imagine the combination of peace, love and sorrow you can feel watching a hospice patient transition? Could you imagine you would be giving someone morphine, adjusting their cannula, applying lip balm to lips that aren’t your own? Deciding what goes on the headstone and choosing a casket?
Not the things you dream of doing, but the things you do because you have to. And they change you. I think that some changes, not necessarily bad changes
, can come about no other way than through catastrophe or death—you have to go through it--not read about it or hear about it, but blunder through it in all its messiness and anxiety. I didn’t want to be changed by death, but it has happened, in ways both subtle and obvious. And now, in writing my own character, it’s up to me to decide what changes I’ll keep and which changes I will eventually transform into something else.