If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at email@example.com.
Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
LIFE CHANGING EVENTS
All of us have life changing events starting us off on a different path. Marriage was one for me as well as the births of my children, but the biggest life change for me was caused by the death of my oldest son,
Even as a baby, John was active and curious about life. Once when he was 16 months old, he climbed a ladder to the garage roof when my husband went to get a tool. At two and a half, we woke up one morning to find he'd opened numerous canned goods with the electric can opener in the night.
John was tall and thin with dark curly hair and wore glasses. He had neither athletic skills nor interest in sports. To keep from being bullied in the 5th and 6th grades he became the class clown. Fortunately, the teachers still liked him.
It was during this time he started plying the trombone in the school band. He started piano lessons, too. I never had to nag him to practice the piano unlike the trombone. He became a very skilled pianist and outgrew two piano teachers and was on his third.
John enjoyed nature, camping, Boy Scouts and science. He was artistic and loved his art classes even though he got a D in art in 4th grade because he didn't paint his pumpkins orange. Years later we discovered he was color blind, but I don't think that's why he didn't paint his pumpkins orange. He was a very creative and independent soul.
When he became a teenager, in addition to all his other interests, he took up magic. He devoured every book he could find on magic and practiced for hours in front of a mirror improving his sleight of hand tricks. Every birthday and Christmas he got new magic tricks, and he also used his newspaper money. Eventually, he started performing at birthday parties and other events. When he didn't have one, he went to nursing homes and hospitals and performed for free. His father had a special carrying case, about the size of a small suitcase, made for him. It was painted a shiny black and had his name "John Alden, Magician" painted on it in fancy letters.
In the winter of his senior year, John started complaining his leg hurt. Then I discovered he had a large lump on his inner upper thigh. Why he never mentioned this I've no idea. It was cancer. Thus began our trips to the Cleveland Clinic and my stays at Ronald MacDonald House. It was a rather rare form of cancer, but his exceptional oncologist kept up with doctors from Sloan Kettering and other cancer institutes for the latest treatment. John was at the Clinic for a week going through tests before they administered the chemo. In that time he made a lot of friends entertaining other kids, doctors and nurses with his magic. When they started the treatment, it was horrible. He couldn't keep anything down for ten days. I remember a young girl being brought to his room in a wheelchair. She wanted him to perform some magic tricks, but there would be no magic for a while.
That started our seven month saga. There were two weeks when he felt good between chemo sessions and actively did things with his friends. He was able to go to the spring prom and with help from a tutor, he was able to graduate with his class. The audience had been told to hold their applause until everyone got their diploma, and they did that until my son walked out on stage with the cane he'd painted. Then everyone applauded.
After three sessions with that chemo, it was not in recession, but he didn't want to quit trying so they started a different kind plus radiation. This was milder. He lost his hair with this chemo, but not his sense of humor. When his hair started coming out, he pulled out a big clump, handed it to his balding father and said, "Here Dad, have some hair."
On Sept 19th, he was getting a blood transfusion when his lung collapsed. The room filled with medical people, one with a large needle to inflate his lung. He looked at me and said, "No more needles, Mom." I agreed and with that I let go of all belief he would be healed.
Two days later we took him home. The doctor warned us the day his lung collapsed he would have no more than two weeks and probably not that. He lived out the whole two weeks and not always at home waiting, either. I caught him leaving with his car keys pulling his portable oxygen tank. He told me not to worry; he'd pull over if he experienced any problems. He needed to find his friends who'd become unavailable when he called. I stayed home and prayed.
Our priest came and said Mass. My parents, a sister and an aunt were there, too. When Mass was over, John did a magic show for us. Then there was a day he didn't go anywhere. That night I sat on the edge of the hospital bed in our family room, and we watched British comedy shows and laughed. When he go tired, he asked me to sleep on the couch near the bed. I knew what was coming and lay awake for hours, but he was still sleeping quietly when I got up so I sent my husband and kids off to school. A few hours later he asked me to clean up the room and make it neat. So I called my husband and had him come home. Father Crumley called to check on John later, and he came and gave John communion and sat with us for a while. The TV was on to Wheel of Fortune. Through my tears I was competing with John to answer the questions and he was beating me.
John fell asleep that afternoon, but about two o'clock he sat up and stared intently into one corner. Finally, he nodded and said, "God" and lay back in my arms. At three o'clock, his brother and two sisters came home and John quietly died in my arms as if he'd been waiting for them.
Yesterday it was 32 years since John died. The death of a child is one of the worse life changing events one can go through, in my opinion. Some people let it destroy their life and never go on. Others refuse to let the grief control their life and set out to make the world a little better place in some way. I chose the latter route. A year later I started college and became an elementary school teacher. That doesn't mean I still don't grieve for my son, but the pain has softened and mostly I think of the good times and enjoy my children, grandchildren and recently some great-grandchildren. Also, it set me on the path to becoming a writer.
What life changing event, good or bad, changed your life?