The Road Back – Six Months Of Learning To Write

I originally wrote this post for a friend’s blog, Tesshardwick.comTess asked me to write about why I wrote.  This piece went in a direction I wasn’t expecting.  I hope you enjoy it.  Thank you for challenging me to explore Tess…

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I write – as it was a suggested guest blog topic for me.  It just dawned on me.  I probably began writing because I am a horrible public speaker.  Don’t get me wrong.  I can talk.  But I think there is a definite difference between talking and speaking.  If you asked me to speak in front of a group I would freeze.  Freak out like Jan Brady in the episode where she pictured her audience in their underwear just to get the speech out.  Yes, Jan Brady I am.

I’ve always liked to write.  Studying communications in college transformed my writing.  My turning point was a public relations writing course and a teacher who challenged me to say more with less – a concept I bet my husband wishes I would use when I ramble at him.  That PR writing course challenged me in a way no other class ever had.  Suddenly writing became about grammar, context, the perfect verb.  Getting my point across precisely and concisely.  To this day I can still sit and analyze a piece for hours – editing, polishing, enhancing.  Writing fast is not my strong suit.

My writing changed 6 months ago.  It took on a new meaning for me.  There became passion to it.  September 15th was the day my eldest child lost a friend to suicide.  It was something that rocked Mt. Si High School deeply.  Cody was a great friend to many.  He was friendly, outgoing, a champion athlete with a smile that could change anyone’s day.  He was a kind, loving boy.  He was loved deeply by many – friends and family included.

I began writing about my daughter as I tried to help her deal with the sudden loss.  I spent many hours chronicling her struggles, her depression, her deep grief.  I felt compelled to write because I hoped I wasn’t the only parent attempting to help a hurting child.  I was along for her grief and healing ride.  Writing helped me understand her pain better – and just possibly let others affected by the loss know they were not alone.

Through this journey I found a voice for my writing – or so I like to believe.  I never knew who was listening.  Annie’s journey became one for others to follow – and know their experiences were not singular.  Writing became a way to let hurting people know some of us remembered the shining boy we never knew was hurting.  I wrote so others would realize Cody could have been mine or their child.  Depression can touch anyone.  It is clinical and it is real.  No certain type of child or adult is immune to it.

Writing soothes me sometimes.  It allows me to reach out in ways I cannot with my speaking voice.   I learned many things over the past 6 months.  I learned how strong and fragile people are all at the same time.  I learned there is a strong, kind person named Joan who reads my posts.  I tear up thinking  about how honored that makes me feel.   She has a beautiful grandson she misses deeply and a strong, faithful family that she loves passionately.

Why I write is important, but I think more important for any writer is where the words comes from.  If they come from your heart, from a place of love, then maybe your writing can do some good.  I am hoping in some small way mine does.  My only hope is that my writing lets anyone hurting and healing know that warms thoughts for Cody go into the universe each and every day – not just on the 15th of each month.

**  Dedicated to Annie, Anthony, Andrea, Peter, Jordy, G’Ma Joan or anyone else for whom the words “six months” are so profound.  Inch by inch, step by step, minute by minute, day by day.  May the road find you peace and love. **

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