My mother became ill in January 2015. Three months later, she died.
After the drama of the funeral, the work of settling the legal and financial business, grief hit me. Grief clobbered me, like a tornado that destroys everything in its path. I could hardly function for over a year. I rarely left the house, except for grocery shopping and a few errands. I am the only surviving family member, so I was all alone in the world.
Fourteen months after Mother's death, I was no better. I hated waking up and facing another day. And there was the guilt...what could I have done to prevent this? What if this, what if that? I am retired from my "real job." I was a free-lance writer for years, published eight books, but that stopped too. Many days, I just sat home and cried.
But the first week of July 2016, everything changed.
I woke up at 5:00 one morning to a violent lightning storm. I'd never seen lightning like that, and knew I couldn't sleep through it. An hour later, the storm eased, and I decided to go downtown. It was my birthday, and I didn't want to sit and mope. I went to lunch, my favorite waiter served me, and I even got a free dessert. I felt better. It was the first day in almost a year that I didn't cry.
A few days later, I went to Taste of Chicago. I walked to Grant Park, thinking, what a spectacular day. Bright sunshine, temps in the 80s, no rain. I arrived when the gates opened at 11:00. By the end of the day, I had a book. Not just an idea. An entire novel, characters, plot, everything. It all came to me during the day. I even acted out one part of the book while I was at Taste, hiding behind a sign.
I immediately began work on this new book. The first draft was finished in six weeks. And I felt I was in a special state as I worked on this project. I'd had this feeling before, with my novel "Wild World," but this was much better. For the first time in months, I felt happy. I looked forward to working, getting this story done, seeing where it would lead me. I found myself singing along with the radio at times. Yes, I was much better.
I fell in love with my lead characters, Kerry and Shaun. Kerry is a widowed writer who cannot move on. When she meets Shaun, she comes out of her grief and moves on to a wonderful life. It takes time, but it happens.
Working on this new book brought me out of my grief. Yes, I still miss Mother. I always will. But I have work to do, a lot to look forward to. I hope my readers enjoy the story of Kerry and Shaun.