Today, I must take a brief hiatus from the things I usually speak about on this platform, to do what must be done. I see my blog as a journal of sorts, meant to give a little insight into the worlds I inhabit. As a writer, this is a therapeutic activity for me, allowing me an outlet for my feelings and views. And so, somber as it may be, I must speak here about my recent loss.
Last week was one of the craziest, most up and down weeks of my entire life. The emotional lows and highs I hit in the space of four days were enough to make me want to hide in my closet. Somehow I managed not to do that, but it was pretty dang close.
Tuesday evening, I spoke at the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association Annual Conference. The event was held in Seattle, Washington; I spoke remotely via Skype at a panel on diversity in historical romance. During the course of the panel, I learned that a professor at the school is using one of my books(The Brightest Day) as material for one of her courses. When I tell you I nearly cried. Y’all. Y’ALL! I was so excited. My co-author, Alyssa Cole, who was also Skyping into the panel, immediately sent me a Facebook message with a crying emoticon. I responded in kind though we both managed to keep it together for the panel. Afterwards, I raced into the living room to tell my husband.
Wednesday, I received and signed a major publishing contract for a single title contemporary series, one that my agent had been negotiating for a few weeks. I was so excited that the deal was finally going to be sealed. I grabbed the special wooden pen my Dad gave me as a gift, the one I always used to sign contracts. I signed it, scanned it, emailed it to the appropriate person within the house.
I was sitting at my desk, thinking I’d call Dad to tell him I signed the contract. But before I could, he called me. I was all set to tell him about my contract, until he said, “I have some sad news.” My joy deflated, because I knew what was coming next.
He informed me that his mother, my grandmother, had passed away. (It probably happened during the time I was reading through my contract.) She was my last surviving blood grandparent, the last tangible link to those who came before me. Though I spoke with her by phone pretty frequently, I hadn’t seen her in quite a while. I cried, thinking how much I would miss speaking to her, hearing her wisdom, or seeing her smile. She had the most beautiful smile.
I can’t say I remember much of Thursday. I did have a phone call with someone about an industry panel- Lord only knows what I said. At any rate, I was lauded for my insight.
Friday morning, Rita calls went out. Yes, I entered the Ritas. Yes, I got a call during the magic Rita call time, but it was from a bill collector. Go figure. In my fragile emotional state, that call sent me into meltdown. I cried some more.
My grandmother was wonderfully funny and sweet. The rapier wit you’ve come to know and love from me, comes from her, by way of my father. She loved gardening and fishing, old movies, and George Michael. She loved animals as well, for my entire life she always had a dog or two. She taught me the value of laughter and enjoying life. She encouraged my “nerdy” behavior of always having my nose in a book, but also encouraged me to climb the big old oak tree in her yard. She wholeheartedly believed I could do anything, and she told me that. As I grew up and started to make my own way in the world, she often expressed how proud she was of me. My Dad reiterated this to me the other day, as I took down the details of her life in preparation to write her obituary.
“You know, I don’t know who was more proud of you, me or your grandmother.”
I nodded at his words, even though I know he couldn’t see it since we were talking by phone. “I know,” I responded. “She told me.” And she did, often.
In the past week, I haven’t written very much. I’ve tried, but the words haven’t flowed as they usually do. I think having written this post will help.
Now, I’m left with a mission. I don’t believe in guilt, not at a time like this. Guilt is futile and serves no one; it certainly doesn’t bring my grandmother back, or honor her memory. So now I must press forward in the interest of her legacy. I am her legacy. What will I accomplish, before I leave this Earth, that will honor her? I knew she was proud of my writing, and I’ll continue to do that. But now I’m thinking beyond that, to other projects I could carry on in her name, things that would benefit others in a tangible way. I know I will begin at home, passing down the wisdom and love she shared with me to my own children. One day, they will be her legacy, and mine as well.
Until Next Time,