If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.


Our reason for creating WWK originated as an outlet for our love of reading and writing mystery fiction. We hope you love it, too, and will enjoy our holiday gifts to our readers with original short stories to celebrate the season. Starting on 11/16 stories by Warren Bull, Margaret S. Hamilton, Paula Gail Benson, Linda Rodriguez, KM Rockwood, Gloria Alden, and E. B. Davis will appear every Thursday into the New Year.


Our November Author Interviews: 11/8--Ellen Byron, and 11/15--Sujata Massey. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.


November Saturday Bloggers: 11/4 Margaret S. Hamilton and 11/11 Cheryl Hollon.


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 will have the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," just published, will appear in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.

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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.

As he grew older he started a newspaper. He was the reporter knocking on doors to get the news while his brother and some neighborhood kids hand printed it.  The following year he started his own detective agency - he was an avid reader who loved The Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators and other mysteries. He made business cards and again went through the neighborhood to see if anyone had any mysteries for him to solve. To his disappointment, there was no crime in our neighborhood.

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?

                                                                                                                   

25 comments:

E. B. Davis said...

Getting married changed my life remarkably for the better.

I'm sorry for your loss, Gloria. I can't think of anything worse. Emotions have a way of surviving. Time doesn't really heal. It's facing reality and going passed the event that shows the courageous. Loss can become a quagmire. No one wants to go on with life leaving the other behind. But we must.

Gloria Alden said...

Thanks, E.B. It's so true. As we get older, we face more and more deaths of loved ones. It's a fact of life for the longer we live. But I'm not ready to face the other alternative to not facing these losses. I have too many things I want to do yet.

Anonymous said...

I appreciate hearing his story--remarkable young man...forever young. takes after his mom...

Anonymous said...

OK mom, you have me crying. As you know, I lost a child too. My beautiful 6 year old daughter died 18 years ago. As with you, it changed my life forever. I don't think you ever get over losing a child. To watch your child suffer day in and day out, is awful!! But like you, we have our wonderful memories. I love you mom!!! Sue

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Anonymous #1.

Yes, Susan, it's been hard for both of us. We do have our wonderful memories. I still remember how precious Megan was. She'll always be in my memory. I love you, too, Susan. It's you, Mary and Joe plus the grandchildren that have kept me going.

Angela Sylvester said...

What a touching story. I had no idea. You are such a strong, wonderful woman.

-Angela

Pauline Alldred said...

Thank you for sharing, Gloria. A remarkable son and a remarkable mother. My life changing event was when I lost my husband without any warning. I had three teenagers, a responsible job, and a house to run so grieving took time. Although I'm happy living in the US, my husband and I shared memories of our childhoods in the UK. I still experience something new and wish he was there for me to share it with him.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful remembrance. John definitely took after you with his quest for learning new things and his zest for life. Thank you for sharing these special memories and for letting all of us be a part of that. Roxanne

Edith Maxwell said...

Gloria, I am so touched that you shared this story of loss and courage with us. I can't even imagine losing one of my sons.

My life was changed when I went to Brazil as an exchange student for a year when I was barely 17. I became a world traveler and linguist. Parts of the year were a bit traumatic but mostly it opened my eyes to the world.

Warren Bull said...

A beautiful, sad story. Thank you for sharing it. I'm sorry I did not get the chance to meet your son. Being diagnosed with cancer and the subsequent treatment changed my life. Being able to help my father write his memoirs changed my life too.

Patg said...

A very sad and touching story.
Patg

Robyn S said...

Dear Gloria, As someone who babysat your children, I have so many fond memories. Johnny taught me how to play "Bang the Drum Slowly", on the piano in the family room. Babysitting your kids was never dull, Johnny, Joey, Susan and MaryBeth were all very active children:) We played games like hide n seek, and Johnny always had a new magic trick to show me. I wasn't around to see them grow up, but you and Jim made a wonderful family. Love, Robyn

Kaye George said...

Thanks for telling us about your remarkable son, Gloria. I've never had a tragedy of this proportion, yet. Sometimes I wait for the shoe to drop. I agree that losing a child must be the hardest thing to have happen to you. You've gone beyond your loss with grace and wisdom and humor. Good for you!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Brought tears to my eyes.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you, Angela. It's so nice to hear from yhou.

That would be a hard life changing experience, too, Pauline. How difficult to take on the role of mother and father. The brother, who was closest to me in age, died almost two years ago. Now I have no one the share my earliest memories of childhood with.

Gloria Alden said...

Edith, that was a cool and rewarding life changing event. How wonderful that you had it. Whether or not you use that experience in your writing, it had to help it in many other ways.

Gloria Alden said...

I think you would have liked him, Warren. I also know he would have liked you, too. Whether dealing with cancer yourself or with someone you love having cancer, it changes how we look at life. I enjoyed reading your father's little stories.

Gloria Alden said...

Robyn, how wonderful to hear from you. I know my kids loved it when you babysat with them. I'll have to tell Joe, Susan and Mary that you left a message. They'll be glad to hear that.

Turbocane said...

Meeting you and your family was life changing. I loved spending time with you and your family. The image of you and your guitar is the one I always have when I think of you and your laugh. When I think of Johnny it is with joy and great sadness.

Moving 500 miles from home was a major life change that I now regret.
One of the major life changing events is an illness I have had all my life and never knew until it disabled me in 1993. Nine months later my husband died leaving me with 3 young sons. But I met and married my hero who adopted the boys. Without my husband I would be in a nursing home as I have been in a wheel chair for 15 years and a power chair for 11. Without him my sons and I would be pretty much abandoned and they would never have graduated from college. My real life changing event is a life saving event and that was meeting him.

Your substitute babysitter when Robyn was busy,

Mary B.

Gloria Alden said...

How wonderful to hear from you, Mary. I'm sorry to hear about your husband and your illness. But you are lucky you found such a good man to care for you and also that you have 3 special sons.

Alyx Morgan said...

What a loving tribute to your son, Gloria. I always think it's sad when a mother has to witness the death of her own son.

However, it seems to me he went through the turmoil with such grace, poise & humor. It's no wonder you miss him. :o)

Suzanne said...

Thank you for such a touching story, Gloria. Every time I hear this story from a parent, I'm reminded of the following exchange from "Lord of the Rings":

Theoden: No parent should have to bury their child.

Gandalf: He was strong in life. His spirit will find the way to the halls of your fathers.

Georgia said...

Thank you, Gloria, for opening your heart to share. It seems we are connected thru the strength of others. I will not see a pumpkin this month without thinking of John's precious enthusiasm for life. You taught him well.

Gloria Alden said...

Thank you for your comments, Suzanne and Georgia. It's the community of others that helps with the healing. I pity those who have to go through something like this alone often because they don't know how to connect with others.

Marilyn Fritch said...

This is a wonderful tribute to your beloved son. I wish I had the opportunity to know him, but I do have your beautiful Sue to love and cherish...she is my daughter too - she fits that description more than "daughter-in-law". Thanks for sharing your inner-most feelings.