It was rough. Death is rough. It makes you question things, like : why am I spending so many hours working on a silly little novel? People are dying! I need to do something productive, something that will change the world, save lives, and have an affect on people damn it!
Self-loathing. Survivors guilt. Silence.
But it wasn't a complete black out. I did write an entry commemorating my mother-in-law's passing, and another post inspired by my husband's self-inflicted guilt that is common when a loved-one dies. Dulce is Home and Remember Me were both written from deep inside my gut, through streams of tears, and during a long stretch of sleepless nights. I posted them on Google+ in a few spots where I know the community members would welcome the entries, though one community admin actually removed my link because I didn't follow their poetry posting guidelines.
Whatever. It didn't matter. I was just looking for... I don't know...comfort? serenity? assurance that it was okay to write in the face of tragedy? that it was okay to put your emotions, your visions, your hopes down into poetry form to help you get by? Who knows why I wrote those two poems. I just did.
I didn't shared those two pieces with my husband because I didn't want him to see I was writing while he was still suffering. Half of me was relieved to write my thoughts down, but the other half was ashamed that I was moving on. I had to keep it from him until he was ready, until it was okay to go back to a sense of normalcy.
Then, one night, I went to sleep at four in the morning and forgot to close the browser on my laptop. Later that morning, my husband spotted the blogger admin page up on the screen. His curiosity got the better of him. He read the two entries and went back to bed where I was still asleep. He immediately woke me up.
With a tear streaming down his cheek, he thanked me for writing Dulce is Home and said it was beautiful. He was able to see his mom the way I described it in the piece. He envisioned his mother running uphill, the way she used to when he was younger, when SHE was younger, and imagined her smiling and laughing with his grandmother. It was the first time he thought of her in a way other than how he last saw her : lifeless, frozen, and in a coffin. Or before that : wheelchair-bound, sick, with half of her body out of her control.
In Remember Me, though I wrote it as my own message, my husband took the sentiment to be that of his mother's. She wouldn't have wanted him to remember her suffering. She would have wanted him to remember her happier days, when she was strong and healthy and full of life.
Because of these two tiny, itty-bitty, little pieces of poetry, my husband was able to imagine his mother happy again. He was able to look at her old photos and wallow in the sweet memories instead of letting the pain of her death cripple him.
Of course he still mourns her, but he's smiling again, telling us stories and laughing. Something had revived in him. He was on the road to recovery.
So, is it okay to write during a tragedy? I don't know. It depends. Maybe yes. Maybe no. As with most things having to do with death, there is no right way to behave. There is no correct way to act. Everyone reacts differently. We just have to be true to ourselves. But, if the muses reach out to you and help you put your river of pain into a piece of work, don't be ashamed of it. Accept it and be thankful the muses are there to guide you through the murky waters.
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Hope you enjoyed this month's IWSG entry. Make sure to link to other guest posts from other awesome writers at the Insecure Writer's Support Group website.