Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Death and Writing Perspective



It’s been an interesting week.

I’m sure all of you have shared your condolences to Jeffery Hargett, who recently lost his wife. His words “It took just over 48 hours for me to go from concerned husband to grieving widower” haven’t been able to leave my mind. I can’t sum up how beautiful his post is, but if you haven’t read it, click here.

My grandfather passed away this week. And though it’s not near the amount of pain as losing a spouse, it’s been pretty devastating. And even though I’ve had trauma in my past that I thought would prepare me for this, it hasn’t. We’ve had a bit of death in our family as of late, and quite a few close calls, but for some reason my grandfather passing has affected me in a way I couldn’t predict.

Maybe it’s because I feel like my grandpa really cared. He always asked me about my writing when no one else did. He always encouraged my dancing and was always in the background watching and silently supporting. He was a fascinating man with amazing war stories. He was brilliant in his field and I always loved to hear him talk about his adventures and the way life used to be.

Thinking about how the Navy folded the flag and gave it to my grandmother while a bugler played “Taps” quietly at the cemetery is a moment that won’t ever leave my memory. It has me crying now thinking about it.


I think it’s good for us to get a dose of reality every once in a while. I think as writers (and I may be only speaking for myself) we tend to forget what’s really important sometimes. We get SO caught up in querying or being on submission or writing the next best seller or worrying about our next review that we may push aside moments that we can never get back. Our happiness level tends to revolve around what is (or isn’t) happening in our writing lives. And that's too bad. 

I’d do anything to speak with my grandfather again. His death was so unexpected. And the evil selfish part of me is sad that I wasn’t published before he died. To be honest, there’s a part of me that writes because I wanted to make him proud. There are other areas in my life I didn’t succeed with, but I felt that by succeeding in writing that I would make him proud. So that hurts. 

But I know what’s most important. I do. And I’ll keep pressing forward, with writing and with life, doing the best I can.

Red. Head. Out. :D 

52 comments:

  1. Morgan, I am sure he is very, very proud of you.
    I am so sorry for the loss of someone so close to you. Prayers for you and your family.
    What happened to Jeff was definitely a reality check. Had it been me, I wouldn't have handled it as well. The loss of my wife would've devastated me beyond all hope.

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  2. Oh reality can sure be a bitch, as it can strike at any moment. But yeah it wises us up pretty quickly too. Sorry to her about your loss.

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  3. I'm sorry for your loss. I lost my granfather many years ago. Even though it was expected, even anticipated so he could be happy and pain free again, it was still hard. It's never easy to deal with a loss of a loved one. He is pleased with you though, and he will be there when your book comes out.

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  4. Morgan, I'm so sorry to hear you lost your grandfather, and also that there have been other deaths in your family lately. That's such a tough thing to go through. I don't think it's selfish at all for you to wish that you'd been published before he died. Giving someone a special reason to be proud of you is a gift to them as much as to yourself. That being said, I'm sure he was already very proud of you for all the hard work you've put into your writing. Your reminder to not let our happiness depend on what's happening in our writing lives is so important. That's been on my mind a lot lately. I hope you can find some comfort during this tough time.

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  5. Oh, sweetie, I'm so sorry for your loss. And Jeffery's as well. Death is a part of life that we know will happen, but when it does to a loved one it's so difficult to staunch the pain. But remember the plan, God's plan. Your grandfather is smiling down upon you and is going to be happy about your progress, even the little steps. Always! Hugs and prayers being sent your way from me.

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  6. My condolences, I actually went through the same thing a couple of months ago, my grandfather died late april and we buried him the day before easter. It really sucks.

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  7. Sorry for your loss, Morg. Prayers go out to you and your family. I'm here for you if you need anything. *HUGS*

    I agree we, writers tend to forget what's important. I find myself getting all caught up watching movies and reviewing them. Yes, it's very important for us to get a good dose of reality every once in awhile or otherwise, we WILL remain in our own little world.

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  8. Love this post. It's true, we all need some perspective sometimes. I'm sorry for your grandfather's passing. :( *hugs*

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  9. So sorry for your loss, I know how the death of my grandmother affected me. I dedicated my first book to her. She was amazing and wrote poetry, she too, was the only one to understand my desire to write. I still miss her, and always will. And I think he will know, and he will cheer you on - always!

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  10. I am so, so sorry for you, but it looks like he was already proud of you; the lack of a 'publishing deal' would not have made him any less proud :) He probably was sure you'd make it one day, and that's good :D I am so, so sorry for your loss; stay strong.

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  11. I'm so sorry for your loss, but of one thing I'm sure: your grandfather was already proud of you.

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  12. I'm very sorry to hear of your profound loss. My grandpap also died in August, eight years ago this coming Saturday, and I still miss him. Even now, I get choked up when reading books featuring grandfathers, even children's books. It sounds like he were proud of you regardless, even if you weren't published in his lifetime. I thought I might've disappointed my grandpap because I was 25 and still childfree when he passed on, but he probably didn't really care that he didn't get to become a great-grandpap.

    Do you know about the website Find A Grave? I added my grandpap to their massive database a year after he passed on, and also have many other interments there. It's a really comforting thing to have a virtual memorial you can visit and leave flowers, tokens, and notes at at any time. You can also ask that a loved one be added to the virtual cemetery stroll or start a thread asking for flowers, so many other people can visit, learn about the person, and leave their own respects.

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  13. I'm very sorry to hear of your loss, Morgan. I too have not stopped thinking about Jeff Hargett for long since hearing of his loss.

    I think you can still think of your grandfather as being around - he certainly will be in spirit. And you can know that he WOULD be proud when you do finally get published.

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  14. Hey Morg,

    Again, condolences on your grandfather's passing and it's a splendid honor to his service to our nation that the Navy Honor Guard was there to pay him tribute.

    PS: You know your grandfather will be there the day you publish your book. It might be the wind in your hair, or the sun on your face, but he'll somehow let you know - and remind you of - how proud of you he *is.*

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  15. My condolences Morgan. But be glad you had him for as long as you did. I lost the only grandparent I knew in my teens then went on to lose two I never really got to meet. Sometimes I feel like a part of my heritage is missing and feel a bit jealous of those who still have their grandparents in adulthood. And don't worry, if he was willing to talk about you writing and be there, he was already proud Morgan. Remember that.

    Woven has been cancelled by it's publisher. But that's not the true horror: http://amberargyle.blogspot.com/2013/08/publisher-cancels-novel-because-author.html

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  16. I'm sorry for your loss, it must be awful for you and your family. Wherever he is now, I'm sure he is proud of you and will be there when you do get published.

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  17. Dear Morgan. I am so sorry for the loss of your grandfather. We have such a special and unique bond with grandparents don't we? I have no doubt that he was so so proud of you :)

    My deepest condolences my friend. I am sending happy and positive thoughts your way.

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  18. So sorry to hear this, Morgan. *hugs*

    I have to agree with everyone who said your grandfather was proud of you. You're a very special, very talented lady.<3

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  19. Oh, Morg,

    Your grandfather hasn't left you! His spirit and love is within you. He will always inspire you to press on and he will ALWAYS be proud of you! Remember you are a part of him. Your love of vintage, for days gone by, and the respect you show to all of life, you inherited from him.

    And it's those qualities your children will inherit from you.

    I know I had inherited all of my talents from my grandfather, who sadly, died when my mom was only two. But I can see his spirit peeking through. I have some of his features, too.

    Grandparents are very special indeed. He will live within you and your children and so forth...

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  20. I'm so sorry for your loss. It's always hard, but harder when you feel blindsided by it. Just remember he'll always be proud of you and will continue to be your biggest fan. Your journey is still just beginning, and he remains along side you on the path to help you when it feels too steep and to hold your hand when you feel like you may stumble.

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  21. *hugs* I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. Your words had me crying too.

    When my cousin called me after reading my book, she was bawling. She loved the story and, yes, it had made her cry. That thing that really got her though was the thought that our mothers (sisters and dear friends) both would have loved my little book. My mom died when I was 14, and it had never occurred to me to think about what she might have thought about me writing. I like to think of her on the other side, watching me. A proud mama.

    Like your grandfather will be.

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  22. So sorry about your grandpa, Morg. It's so hard to lose someone we care about so much. I was really close to my grandpa too--where my parents were divorced, he was like a father to me--and it crushed me when my grandpa died! Huge hugs!! That's so neat that you were able to spend so much time with him and hear his stories. That's one thing that make me especially sad--that my kids didn't know my grandparents like I did, they won't be able to absorb their positive attitudes, their love for learning. So sorry again for your loss. And I know it's so hard to separate writing from everything else--to keep things in perspective!! I struggle with that as well. Hang in there!! Love you lots!!! <3

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  23. I'm so sorry to hear about losing your grandfather. It's so true that we sometimes get caught up in writing too much...I am guilty of that. I think he'll continue to cheer you on from the other side.

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  24. I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather, Morgan. I hope you find peace about his passing on soon!

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  25. First off, sincerest condolences on your grandfather. When my mom passed away in June...well, I'm still not well with it. It's only now that I even feel like resuming any semblance of writing.

    I could not read Jeff's posts after Myra passed, simply because I was too raw from Mom. My heart felt for him, though, and I offered him an understanding shoulder, just as I am offering one to you.

    The words you've written could apply to my mom. Mom was my life. She was my friend, my confidante, my biggest supporter, my everything. I still hear her from her recliner asking "What are you writing on today, hon?" I really have no other support IRL. Others think it's a dalliance..."that's something to keep you occupied...a good distraction." Like it's a hobby. I really miss Mom.

    It sounds like your grandfather was much the same way. The sentence you wrote, "Maybe it’s because I feel like my grandpa really cared. He always asked me about my writing when no one else did."

    Your grandfather DID care, and still does from above. Mom does, too. Everything I do (or have ever done in my life) was to make her proud. Although she wasn't able to see my get published, I'm continuing this venture. She'll know. And so will your Grandpa.

    Hugs and handkerchiefs,
    M.L. Swift, Writer

    P.S. I love the new look of your blog.

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  26. So sorry for your loss :( I've never known my grandparents and have always wished that I had, so you are truly blessed to have had one (a supportive one, no less) in your life for so long! I'm sure he's beyond proud of you!

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  27. I'm sorry, Morgan. I'm so sorry.

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  28. Sorry, Moragan. My thoughts are with you and your family. I'm sure he was VERY proud of everything you are and he was proud of what you've accomplished as a writer. ((((hugs)))

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  29. This is a wonderful, sad, touching post.

    I know what you mean about your grandfather. My dad has Alzheimers, and I wonder if he's going to be with us enough by the time I publish to appreciate it. Sometimes we lose them before we lose them, and that can be difficult, too.

    Hugs.
    I'll visit Jeff's. Thanks for the link.

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  30. I'm sorry for your loss, Morgan. I lost my grandfather on December and it was hard for me as we were very close together. He was more like my own father and we shared many things. Too many. I still miss him more than I can explain but as Mike says, I do understand that a part of him stayed with me, in my heart. I still hear his most common cheering when I need it, encouraging me to be brave and smile. For him, I'm brave and I smile.

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  31. Morgan, I am also so sorry for you loss. No words can heal the pain, but time does lesson the ache a bit. I am sure he is very, very, proud of the wonderful redhead you are. You are in my prayers.

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  32. Morgan, first, I'm so sorry for your loss and how sad your heart is.

    Life certainly does have a way of slowing us down and reminding us that what we do is not entirely who we are. Nor is what we do a substitute for those we love. Such a tender post-- thanks for your sweet heart and compassion.

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  33. Dear Morgan,

    A poignant, thoughtful posting. Indeed, our hearts went out to our dear friend Jeff through such trying times.

    My sincerest condolences for the sudden loss of your beloved grandfather. He has inspired you in many ways, Morgan. The inspiration, the love you have for writing, lives on. You know he's proud of you. You will see that dream of publishing become a beautiful reality. He will smile and you will smile.

    In kindness and peaceful wishes, your way,

    Gary

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  34. Oh, Morgan. I'm so sorry for the loss of your grandfather. I'm sorry for any loss you've suffered--recent or not. Death is...it's this razor and time warp and helplessness. I remember in a moment of loss looking around at the world and the cars buzzing by and thinking, "How is the world still moving? How are all of these people so unaware that this person I love is gone?" And you keep breathing and waking and sleeping and there always remains a hole in you.

    But there's also this other thing....There's an awareness. There's a whisper. There's a brush-up and a warmth and a sudden knowing that this beloved part of you is not so very far away. There's a peel-back of the *other.* And your heart beats a bit stronger. And there are tears, but of the bitter-sweet kind. And somehow you know they hear you and see you and love you even more than ever.

    You may not have been "published" before your grandfather died, but you were already the greatest of successes to him. I just know it. On the other side of things, he's probably helping orchestrate some amazing, incredible things that will come into your life. And when they do, you'll feel him there and know--you'll *know*--that he's proud of you, that he's with you, and that he loves you.

    God bless you, Morgan. My heart's with you.

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  35. Morgan, there are no words I can write that will ease this ache. Each loss is unique just as each person in the relationship is unique. I discovered a couple things that have helped me since my wife died. Perhaps they will be of some help or comfort to you.

    1) Allow yourself time and space to grieve. Everyone is different, but I found that I need plenty of time alone. I use this time to write Myra (daily) letters, speak to her in our house, in the car, at her grave site, even at work.

    2) I mentioned on Facebook recently that those we love take a piece of our heart with them when they go, but they leave a piece of theirs in its place. I keep Myra's wedding rings on a sturdy chain around my neck. I touch them, kiss them, and whisper things to her. I wanted to keep the rings as close to her as possible. There is no place closer to her than my heart.

    3) Banish any guilt that might arise. I've battered myself with "If I had only...", "I should have...", "Did she die knowing..." and so many more. I still struggle with this and find it to be the most unsettling of all emotions.

    4 & finally) Take stock of and compare your relationship to the norms. I've mentioned that I have very few significant regrets. Myra and I shared 29 glorious years together. I wanted at least another 29, but what we shared through *all* those years is something the majority of people never experience for a minute. I consider that a tremendous blessing. What you and your grandfather had is also a blessing.

    As I've already told you, you're in my thoughts and prayers. Since Myra died 5 weeks ago, a close family friend and my first cousin have both passed away. (My first cousin was even younger than Myra.) Each day is a gift from God. I pray God's peace finds you and your family. For me, that supernatural peace makes each tomorrow possible.

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  36. wow, jeff's words are extremely spot on! all i can do is agree with that.

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  37. Wow, what a moving post, Morgan. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather, and also sorry for Jeff. You're so right about those "aha"moments, though. When I get stressed or worried about writing and publishing, I take stock. I pay close attention to the details of my life. I focus on the little joys, like walking and singing with my boys. I appreciate my hard-working husband. I focus on more on my faith. All of that matters so much more than writing, even though it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle.

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  38. I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather. I do know what you mean, though. We get caught up in things and forget that life just runs by whether or not we pay attention. Thinking of you and your family.

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  39. I'm so sorry about your grandfather. He sounds like an awesome man, and I'm glad you had him to encourage you in your life. Reminds me a lot of my own grandfather :) I completely agree with what you said--we get too wrapped up in the little details of our writing lives (or other stuff, too!) and the important things get ignored all too easily. Definitely something I need to remember far more often!

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  40. I'm sorry to hear this. I just lost my Grandmother in July. It is always heart wrenching especially when they played a big role in our lives. I think the best thing to do now is write with his memory in mind and smile knowing he is still watching you.

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  41. I'm sorry about your loss. It's wonderful he believed in you. Even though he didn't see you published, I'm sure he left this Earth knowing that one day you will be.

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  42. I'm so sorry to hear this, Morgan. Your family will be in my prayers. *hugs*

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  43. So sorry to hear of your loss, Morgan. I work for my church with the bereavement committee to help families through their losses. It always rips out our hearts. A piece of you is missing, but he is with you, in your heart. I truly believe this...I know you'll make him proud!

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  44. I am so sorry to hear this, Morgan. I can't imagine. I just want to reach through the screen and hug you tight. Reading your post I realized I have similar fears about not being published 'in time' and then I remind myself that it's not the publication that makes them proud, it's who you are and who you've become. Published or not, your grandfather was proud of you, I just know it. Keeping you and your family in my thoughts. (((hugs)))

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  45. I'm sorry too, Morgan. I've lost my last grandma and my dad in the last few years and it's never easy. I feel very lucky to have known them, just like I'm sure you feel about your grandpa. He's made you the person you are and taught you so much. In that way, he'll be with you forever~

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  46. I'm so sorry to read about your recent loss.
    Thanks for sharing this beautiful post!
    Keeping you in my thoughts and prayers...
    Writer In Transit

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  47. My gram told me not so long ago that it doesn't matter if I never get published to her, it's that I didn't stop merely with a dream that she's most proud. I love her for that and I bet, if we could walk up heaven's stairs and ask your grandfather right now, he'd say the same thing. Grandparents are so precious. I'm going to call mine now and just say hi. Hugs, sweet friend. I'm asking God to wrap you in His warm embrace as you come to terms with your grief.

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  48. Hi Morgan .. thanks for the link to Jeff and I'll be over there after this. Death is the final moment isn't it .. and coming suddenly makes things just that much more difficult ...

    Lots of lovely comments here ... and you have happy memories - but it's so important to not put things off .. phoning, giving a hug, being around ... I'm sure you'll be seeing more of your grandmother now ... be it a call or an actual visit ...

    Be good to yourself ... and I'm just sorry he left so quickly .. I bet your grandparents were proud of you and had many a conversation together, before your Granddad was taken from you all ... with thoughts - Hilary

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  49. So sorry for your loss.

    We do get busy with all the crazy stuff in our lives. Seems the real highs and lows have a way of jolting us back into reality.

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  50. I'm so sorry, Morgan. I went to Jeff's link and now I can barely see through the tears. You make important points. And so does Jeff. We need to appreciate. To remember. And to cherish.

    My sister was pregnant in 1994. Sadly, our Mom died in April and my niece was born in June. Know what I believe? My Mom saw Lacy before any of us did. I say this because, like Mark said, your Grandfather will see you. And he'll beam with pride.

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  51. I'm so sorry for your loss, Morgan. I lost my father a year and a half ago and I understand being sad that he won't see your book published. But you'll never forget the support he gave you and you'll have the knowing the he'd have been so proud.
    Lots of love and prayers coming your way for this time when you're feeling so fragile.

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  52. unexpected is the worst way. so sorry to hear about your loss. and yet you found some positive to share with us. thank you! and i hope you celebrate what time you had. we all need to remember how fragile & precious life is.

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