I began blogging back in 2006 on a whim before it was cool and everyone had a blog. A writer friend of mine started even before that, and following her lead, I thought I'd dip a toe in and see what happened.
I was completely unprepared for the community I would find and all the wonderful things that would happen along the way. Besides stretching my own creative muscles and finding that writing made my soul sing, I accidentally started a food blog and as a result had the opportunity to travel and meet some of my favourite chefs, write for awesome companies, and meet talented writers who I now call friends. I also found myself and acquired some self confidence I didn't even know I had.
Life was fantastic and I was ready to take this writing thing as far as I could go, but fate had other plans; in 2012 my best friend died of cancer, my husband became seriously ill, and suddenly we had to move to an entirely different community. All of a sudden I couldn't write. The words simply wouldn't come, and as I dug myself out of a hole of grief I began to believe I'd never be able to write again. Things settled for awhile; we adjusted to our new space, John recovered, the boy who was ten when I started writing grew up and after a rocky period moved out on his own, and we learned how to be empty nesters as John prepared for retirement. During my step back from blogging, I had been teaching children how to cook and it had become a huge passion of mine, but then I had to give it up when I developed Aspirin Exacerbated Respiratory Disease and severe food allergies to corn, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg white, rice, wheat, and peaches. I was at loose ends for a long time.
I always meant to get back to writing, but the time never seemed quite right. Is there ever a right time? I bought myself a bright red Moleskin notebook to start again, but couldn't quite bring myself to open it.
John was retired for exactly three months when we knew something was horribly, inexplicably wrong. It took another few months for the cancer diagnosis and in the flurry of doctors, surgeries, an ambulance ride and constant ER visits, any thoughts of writing were firmly put on hold, along with everything else. John's prognosis was fantastic and we were confident that he would pull through.
Again, life had other plans. Five months later, nearly to the day of his cancer diagnosis, I kissed his forehead good bye as he breathed his last in an ICU. We had always known John had fragile lungs from a bout with cryptococcoal neoformis years ago, but were unaware of just how damaged they had become with each subsequent illness and chemo had weakened him so much that ultimately, all it took was a run of the mill virus to make them fail. He fought valiantly in the ICU for a few days but when it became apparent that he would not fully recover, he asked to be removed from life support.
We are quite thoroughly heartbroken. John and I had been together for 26 years, and had plans for celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary this August. I had been with him my entire adult life.
I've spent the last while navigating the fog of widowhood; the paperwork, funeral homes, small details that may seem unimportant to some but constantly drive home the fact that John is no longer here. Through it all, unlike when Anne died and the words wouldn't come, this time I've had a desire to write so strong it has been difficult to contain. Years ago when I began writing at Notes From the Cookie Jar, it was because I had a child who didn't fit the norm. Developmental Co-ordination Disorder was, back then, a largely unknown condition and it was my goal to create our community and help others. While there is no shortage of blogs about being a widow, again I haven't found a comfortable space yet. There is no 'right' way to grieve the loss of the love your life, as every person and situation is different. If I can't find a space where I'm comfortable, there must be others out there who feel the same way, so why not create it?
Back when I first began blogging, I wrote for the sheer joy of writing, but somehow along the way I lost that joy in the mire of marketing and buzzwords. I'm bringing it back now. In an online world where people say blogs are dead, and online spaces seem to be more about sales and marketing than stories, I honestly have no idea where this space will take me, or even if people will read it. I don't even really care. I'm writing for me, for my now grown son, and for all those people who find themselves suddenly walking in a fog of widowhood.
You are welcome to follow along on my small adventures as I figure out how to navigate life all on my own, with a little help from an orange tabby I adopted.
Let's do this.