Both of my parents committed suicide. Not at the same time and using different methods, but in the end, both of their death certificates indicate that they took their own lives. It has taken me a long time to be able to say this, unemotionally, but even more, unashamedly. I won’t say I’ve completely come to terms with their decisions, but I will say that I’ve come a very long way from the initial shock, anger, disbelief and shame I felt when I learned how each of them had actually died.
Three years ago, I started writing a book about how I’ve come to terms with their deaths, in hopes of reaching others who have had the same experience and, hopefully, making the journey a little bit easier for the next guy. Little did I realize that writing the book was part of my own journey which had not come as far as I chose to believe.
Today, the book has been sitting on the back burner for over two years because it started degenerating into a whiny, blame ridden piece of garbage. But thanks to my daughter’s encouragement in taking out my writing frustration in this blog, I believe I’m now in a better place to finish what I started. I gave myself an extended long weekend, partly in honor of my 58th birthday, but partly to allow me a couple of uninterrupted days of writing.
My dear friend, Candy, who has known me since I made the bold proclamation (at the tender age of 10) that I was going to be a writer has been a driving force and a wonderful source of encouragement for several years, now.. I may have forgotten all about it, but 40+ years later, she was good enough to remind me that I had a promise to keep to myself.
Candy has probably been reading my blog longer than anyone, offering encouragement, suggestions and vast quantities of her amazing cheerleading skills, until, finally, I gave her the nickname, Miss Perky Pompoms, or MPP, for short. I know she still expects me to make good on my promise to take her along on my first book tour, and frankly, she is best qualified to come, not only as my friend who never doubted me, but also as my PR manager, because she’s so good at what she does!
She suggested, long ago, that I go back to my blog posts for inspiration because, in her opinion, I wrote a lot of what should go into the book in my blog. The challenge, now, will be sifting through hundreds of thousands of words to find those gems! (I’ve copied all of my posts through December2, 2012 into a word document, and have upwards of 220,000 words. But I’ve been most prolific in the last six months, so I suspect the final number will be well into the 300,000’s, if not closer to 400,000!
Sometimes, the journey is two steps forward, one step back, and others, you go in a completely different direction for awhile. My path has certainly been anything but straight. I entered college as a Theatre Arts major, switched to Psychology and finally, 15 years later, graduated from a different school with a degree in Accounting. It’s not that I don’t enjoy working with numbers, and I’m really pretty good at it, but it is definitely my vocation, not my passion. Had it been my passion, I wouldn’t have taken so long to get there, and would have continued on to obtain my CPA and a Master’s degree, at the very least.
But deep down, I think I always knew that it was really only a decent means of making a living. In my current job, I still perform the accounting and finance functions, but I also get to do something I love, even if the subject matter lacks a certain je ne sais quoi. And writing all of the dry, technical stuff or following a set format gives me that much more reason to work on what is really closest to my heart.
I know I’m not the first to find my heart’s dream later in life, and I certainly won’t be the last, but I hope that in some way I can encourage even one person to stay that path, follow that dream, and live the life they envision for themselves as a child. That’s when the blinders are off and limitations are beyond our vision, where, to be honest, they should stay forever. Harsh reality blinds us, so often, to our true potential, and that’s very sad.
I’m reminded of a passage in one of the Mary Poppin’s books when the babies are about to lose their ability to understand the birds because they’ve gone past the age when they just accept things without question. ( I was going to get the actual quote, but the books I thought were safely on my shelf seem to have either disappeared or been misplaced). At any rate, I find it tragic that we loose the ability to wonder, to dream and to believe because of something we call “reality”.
We, as parents, try to teach our children responsibility, and, I think, at times, we overdo it a bit and trample on the dreams. I’m sure I was guilty of this with my own daughters, however good my intentions might have been. But I won’t waste time wishing that I knew then what I know now because the deed is done. What I will do is try to get the word out to future generations that they can teach responsibility while still encouraging the dreams.
My gratitudes are:
1. I am grateful for friends who believe in me even though we lost touch for years and years, and who saw fit to remind me that, once, I dared to dream.
2. I am grateful for the time to follow a dream I let lay dormant for too many years.
3. I am grateful for inspiration drawn from any and every nook and cranny in my life.
4. I am grateful for the ability to shake off misunderstandings, miscommunications and ugliness, but keep the lesson.
5. I am grateful for children. They teach us, annoy us, encourage us and infuriate us, but their presence can make us better people if we allow them to.
Love and light