When my husband died, I was responsible for three teenagers, and I had a demanding full-time job. Grieving was lonely even though I was surrounded by concerned friends and co-workers. The most comforting suggestion was to treasure the good memories. That helped. I don’t have much to say to those who thought I was ready within weeks to seek new romance. It’s not being part of a couple that matters but who one’s partner is and how long the partnership lasted.
For at least a year I remained in a dazed state. No one was going to pick up my family and work responsibilities so I continued to function in those roles. Having to focus daily outside myself was probably a good thing. Besides family and work not much else seemed to matter except, when I couldn’t sleep, I wrote short stories and two novels. I would never think of publishing the novels but use characters from them and the experience I gained from writing four hundred pages for each novel.
I never attempted to publish the short stories but I printed them out. The font and margins look strange. The pages are numbered and my name and address appears on the first page, but not my email address because editors then wouldn’t open attachments. Somehow the stories were moved from my old home to my new one seven years ago, although I don’t remember making a decision to keep the stories. Recently, I rediscovered those old stories in a pile of papers I planned to throw out. They need revision, much revision, but the characters and plots are unusual so I hope to eventually place them.
At first, when I read them again, I didn’t recognize the person who wrote them but gradually she’s becoming more familiar. I can’t see how the plots or characters link to grief or loss directly. They contain much mayhem and violence, and several offbeat characters. I notice water images and threatening plant life.
Now I enjoy chipping out the main path of each story and it doesn’t matter that, on the surface, it seems far removed from how I felt during the year after my husband died. Best of all, I can revise using a pad of paper and a pen so not having my computer in the hospital doesn’t stop me.
Have you found stories waiting to be finished that you can barely remember writing?