Tuesday, February 04, 2014
Dusting off the Keys, Sitting Butt in Chair and Trusting the Process
This is not what I intended. By now I should have published all three books in my Tide's Turning series. By now, I should have published my contemporary middle grade novel. But life had other plans.
You see, I'm not just a writer. I'm a mom and caregiver, too. I was reminded of this fact a year ago last November when I was called to wear the caregiver hat full-time.
If you follow this blog, you're probably aware of my middle daughter Elena's story. She's a brain aneurysm survivor. At age nine she stood at death's door, but by God's good grace she returned to us and learned how to walk, talk and be Elena again. The road to recovery was a rocky one, but we managed to find a new sense of normal. And I managed to keep my writing a priority.
But things changed a year ago last November. We learned that Elena's kidney's had failed and that she was in urgent need of dialysis. Since Elena needs assistance with the simplest of things, I stepped up to be her healthcare manager and caregiver. I was unprepared for the toll this role would take on me personally.
Twice a week, we awake before dawn, pack our food, blanket, activities, and Elena's service dog Sonny, and drive to Chicago where Elena undergoes a three-hour dialysis treatment. In the beginning, Elena took well to the process; but, unfortunately, this didn't last. She needs more time to recover after dialysis, activities take a lot out of her, and I've lost track of how many times she's gone to the hospital after treatment.
On non-dialysis days, Elena spends a lot of her time on doctor's visits, medical testing and therapies. I am her healthcare manager, chauffeur, personal assistant, activity coordinator, advocate and cheerleader. Free time, when I have it, is for errands and planning for and cooking the kidney friendly meals Elena must have in order to keep as healthy as possible as she awaits a transplant.
On paper it looks like I should have plenty of time left for writing after everyone goes to bed. But in reality sleep is what happens, and there never seems to be enough of it.
Keeping the faith that my fantasy stories will be read one day is one of the hardest things I've been called to do. Time marches on. I wonder if my characters will recognize me when I sit butt in chair and ask them to play. I worry that I won't find the flow when I finally carve out time to work on my story.
But every once in a while life lifts up a reminder to trust the process. Like today for example. Last year life handed me enough precious time to write "Elena's Angels," a short story for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen. They bought the story! And beginning today, the book is available in bookstores everywhere. Today as my daughter marks her one-year anniversary of being on dialysis, the timing couldn't be more perfect. Patience. Perseverance. Trust the process.