As I told the story of how I came to be a widow, I felt the tears well up in my eyes, my throat closing. Just as I was recalling how Kevin had asked me to stay at Johns Hopkins that night, and the next morning I could feel his breath becoming shallow, I felt myself lose it. It will be 4 years since Kevin died this coming October. I was striving for 1 year, and I made that. I saw 2 years coming, and I accepted it. 3 years came and went with barely a blip, a reaction that surprised me. 4 years? It feels unbelievable. I said out loud, “Nearly 4 years out and still this,” referring to my tears.
I was the youngest and furthest out, typical for me in a group of widows. It was neat to be with others who understood again. It seems that no matter how many years go by, my craving to be around others who “get it” is still strong.
A few people have asked me if I’m going to finish the memoir. I put the challenge out to myself, and it seems that after writing the first draft, there was such relief, that I stopped. I finished it just before beginning my new career, and I know that has a lot to do with my lack of time and enthusiasm to put towards my writing. I no longer feel the urgent need to become a successful (however you would define that) writer in order to pay the bills!
But when it comes down to it, as I pursued writing more professionally, I saw that by copy writing and travel writing I could make money. Memoir writing seemed more like the dream goal than the realistic one.
On Saturday night when I met with other widows, I realized that I still enjoyed telling my story. The ending was still difficult to relay, but the journey to that last breath was a beautiful one. It’s one that makes the ending that much more poetic.
I’m not good at giving myself timelines, but when I first set out writing the memoir, I proclaimed that it was for others to grow and learn about love and death. I didn’t realize at the time, but it was much more about me and healing.
Now? Now it’s back to others again. I completed my first journey of telling the story so that I could heal a bit. Now to share that story, in a finished and edited way, may give that healing to others. It’s just a much different timeline than I anticipated while working on the first draft.
How do you set about completing goals that morphed along the way? Do you make a committed timeline?