In a recent blog I discussed what reader’s were saying about Give Sorrow Words. In this post I want to touch on a particular thread of remarks that relate to why I have been so open and willing to share our story.
Writing about your child who has died is a deeply moving and painful voyage , but nonetheless a voyage that was necessary for my own well being. The process of writing our story proved especially daunting in the early days. However, somewhere during the fall of 2010 I found my writing pace and devoted two to three hours daily writing down our family history. The earliest drafts were cumbersome. Offering information which would have made a very difficult read almost impossible. Fortunately, the editor that worked with me suggested that I cut the book almost in half. After some reflection it turns out that I would not have be fine with early drafts. But it must be said that these words needed to be written. They needed a home and were part of helping me find my writer’s voice.
For over three years I wrote in the early morning before anyone was awake. I scribbled thoughts down in my car as I waited to pick up my daughter. I even wrote on a beach in Florida and on my dock at the cottage. Writing by water was a serene experience. Frankly, the act of writing gave order to this newly chaotic life without my son.
From the comments I’ve received it appears that readers are able to access a very difficult subject through witnessing the ebb and flow of an ordinary family. And I did not shy away from the truth. In fact, it was paramount in understanding what had happened to my son. I could no longer live in denial. I had to now deal with the facts. One reader writes: Your extreme openness is so very disarming, it seems to strip away any possible prejudice, leaving the emotional content so clear and so ready to be absorbed. “
Readers continue to tell me that they are taken with how much I do share in the book. For me there was simply no other way than to write honestly and openly about depression and suicide, if others were going to understand what we could not. I found peace in searching for the truth about my son’s last years and through that peace I have found purpose.