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Just…Write…

photo (18)As I sat down to write my New Year’s Resolutions (more on that tomorrow), I decided one of my resolutions was to come up with a personal way to honor my late father, John Cole.  He passed away right before Thanksgiving after a prolonged health battle.  Thanksgiving, the funeral, my birthday and everyday life followed in rapid succession.  And in between all that,  Wyokiddo, Outdoor Guy and I all caught a wicked stomach bug.  I didn’t have time to think, much less really deal with my grief.

I’m doing okay.  Mostly.  Sometimes, I will think of Dad and one of the thousand wonderful memories we shared and it makes me smile.  Like the time, when I was nine, that he bought me a Michael Jackson doll as a Blue Light Special in K-Mart on Christmas Eve.  The man did love a bargain.

Other times, something more poignant comes to mind and I am filled with such a tremendous sense of loss that I can’t help but cry.  I still can’t fathom living the rest of my life and never seeing or speaking with or hugging my dad again.  Grief is a journey, I suppose, and I’m just starting the trip.  I have many more miles ahead of me.

But one thing I decided to do for myself was to find some way, my way, to honor my dad.  I wanted some act that would speak to the man he was, but also honor what he meant to me.  I considered donating money in his name to one of his favorite charities.  I thought about joining a civic organization and following his example of servant leadership.  These ideas and a few others rattled around in my head all through December, but none felt right.

But the other night, I tried to think of the most inspirational, wonderful thing my father ever told me.  And without even spending ten seconds considering it, I had my answer.

“I love to read what you write.”

I raised my head from the dining room table.  I was puttering on my laptop, trying to ignore the television across the room blaring at maximum volume.

“What?”

My dad smiled at me over a copy of Wild Times, a publication for fourth graders about Wyoming’s wildlife.  It was a freelance writing job that I had picked up recently.  At his request, I’d brought him a few copies.  He held up the pages, a small salute from his over-sized green recliner.

“I love to read what you write.”

“It’s just a kids’ magazine, Dad.  It doesn’t really mean much in the grand scheme of things,” I told him.

“You wrote it.  That means something to me,” he replied.  ” I love to read what you write.  Always have.  Always will.”

Then he bent back over the glossy pages and finished reading.

Those words, shared by my dad sitting in his ugly chair while Vanna turned letters on the Wheel, were the most wonderful praise and inspiration he could have ever given me.

Dad wasn’t filling me full of empty praise, or bragging up what was definitely not Pulitzer winning material.  He was just telling me what my writing meant to him.

“I love to read what you write.”

They are words that I now understand will help me start on my path to healing.  Until tonight, I hadn’t written anything in over six weeks.  No news releases, no blog posts, no pages in my manuscript.  Any topic that I contemplated seemed so trivial and silly in light of what was going on in my life.  I felt like if I was going to write, it better be something epic.  And I have been severely lacking in epic.

But now I realize, the power is in the journey, not the destination, to borrow from Arthur Ashe.  It doesn’t matter what I write.  I should just…write.  It is the act itself that can bring happiness.  Healing.  Hope.

So I’ve decided, my way to honor my father is to write.  I will journal, blog, finish that short story about two boys and a duck, work on my novel or pick up freelance writing gigs as the time allows.  And I will share what I write.  Because maybe what I write will mean something to someone else.  But even if that doesn’t happen, I know it will mean something to me.

And it would mean something to Dad.  Wherever he may be.

Teresa

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1 thought on “Just…Write…”

  1. Somehow I came across this written in your blog this morning. It’s now Almost May 2017. I love to read what you write. Thanks for sharing your writing with us all.

    Like

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