Time to Write, Perhaps to Dream

antiqueclockSometimes being in a corner feels like you’re trapped in a locked box. Sometimes the road buckles on the way to nowhere and the signs to return home are obscured by curves behind which you can’t identify the landmarks. Sometimes the darkness is so dense that sunlight doesn’t lift the pitch enough for you to see. I’ve been there for the past six months or so, maybe even a year, getting deeper and deeper into a funk. I can’t write because I’m too tired and overwhelmed by responsibilities over which I have little control and less chance of escaping. The life of another person depends upon me but my own life also demands attention, action, and there’s only so much of me to spread, to give, to take care of it all. Then too, a full time job takes more than eight hours a day; it takes prep for the tasks of the work and time for the busy details that let me appear professional. That let me smell nice.

I haven’t had time to write. Or maybe I haven’t taken time to write, certainly not the amount of time a year ago I expected to direct to my books. Writing means so much to me, and I still think and dream writing. I scribble my brilliant ideas on scraps of trash paper, genius insights snare my attention from the tasks at hand, but dawn comes before the sun rises, and dusk finds me anxious and headachy most days. Sleep is illusive and not long enough, and healthy exercise is something other people accomplish. On the surface this must look like depression but I know it is not. It’s Life 101 catching me at my heels, surrounding me with the reality check that it isn’t going to end soon, and when it does, it will only be because someone I love has passed. The fanged wolf waits at my door; I don’t know when he’ll lunge. He will though, I know he will.

Someone I love has Alzheimer’s disease. She needs everything that an infant needs, except that this adult person’s infancy continues to regress and to subsume me. Because this person cannot speak on her behalf or apologize or assist, the disease having destroyed every essential facet of her executive function, I must act for her. I do not fear death, hers or mine, though I fear the pain of a vacant life, of a lingering death. I wonder how she can live with no ability to remember everything she once loved, to plan any event, to anticipate the next day or even the next hour. I fear how long this fractured existence might continue because she is old and I am aging. I won’t say more about it except that I’m weary and that we are both frightened by what we witness of this illness as it destroys so many others with a long, slow crumbling that can only be described as a harrowing existence. Someplace between dark and blank. Barely what we recognize as human – yet they are, and she is.

So the funny New Year’s Anti-Resolution List that I wrote a month ago seems putrid to read now, a lazy attempt at humor. It was nonsense, a snapshot of my giddiness at facing another year with less accomplished than I had intended the previous year and so much that I might do in this new one. I want to write, all excuses aside. I want to paint, to travel, to take classes and learn about some of the many subjects that interest me. I want more time with my family – my husband and sons, my daughters-in-law, and my beautiful grandchildren, especially the youngest of this special brood as he lives 350 miles north of us. We see him rarely, he doesn’t know who we are. I want to write for my blog and work on my books, then embark on the tough road of submitting queries to agents, and probably of prepping my books for self-publication. Because as I worry and wonder when I can squeeze in a few paragraphs, I hear the clock’s insistent beat and know I must get ready for the next day, because it will come and I must be prepared. There is not enough time to write.

Except. It is time for me to get serious about what I can do, what I will do, what I must do. Stated here: I will write. I will write.

Watch me write.


12 thoughts on “Time to Write, Perhaps to Dream

  1. Shari, you have an awful lot to do. It will get better/easier/slower. Not today, but soon.

  2. Words won’t convey the depth of my concern, but I do hope they can somehow ripple across your mind like a stone cast upon the water. This heinous affliction steals world’s from those it ensnares. Not one loving soul of the person that is afflicted is left unscathed. So many emotions fly between the layers, unless someone has witnessed the grievous effects by families affected with a loved one that is disappearing right in front of their very own eyes, they have no real idea of how devastating and all-time consuming this disease can be.

    I do hope you carve time out to write, Sharon. You may find your direction and approach changed, but as long as you can find respite in a dialog I know you will master the subject matter. You’ll weave your words and captivate, as you always have, and your readers will continue to read because of your ability to bewitch us within your intrigue.
    Writing is extremely therapeutic. Don’t be afraid of a fear that you won’t get back to the beautiful that you wish to dwell within, but educate us through your pain, sorrow, triumphs and defeats. Prepare us. Some of us will have already walked this journey, but others haven’t, and some, sadly, will one day.

    None of us knows what tomorrow will bring, or why things happened as they did, today. We must accept our need to grieve for what sits before us, just as we must allow ourselves to grieve for those people and things we have to put aside a little more than we’d like to just so we can accomplish ‘the here and now.’
    Strength and blessings to you and yours. I am so saddened to learn you are dealing with this tremendous loss. Please continue to write. It will be difficult, but the results will bravely lead where we all will go one day, whether it is the robbing of a loved ones memory, or a struggle, different, but of equal magnitude.

    • Margie, I am so touched by what you’ve written. You understand what I’m going through – what all of us who watch and stand by our ill loved ones go through. I know through your own blog how much you’ve had to overcome. Thank you for your compassion and empathy. It’s friendships like these that make this struggle bearable.
      I will write, I do write, just not as much or as consistently as I’d like.
      I spent several hours with my mom tonight (she doesn’t live with me but in a home where the care is 24-7 and is exceptional) She called me “baby,” something she never would have said about me when she was healthy. How strange that her illness has made us closer than we ever were.
      Thanks for all your kind and supportive words.

  3. This is such a powerful post. I watched my mother wither away and ultimately lose her battle to multiple forms of cancer, then watched my mother-in-law fall to Parkinson’s… which robbed her ability to communicate and interact with us without taking away her knowledge that it had robbed her. For those caring for my mom and mom-in-law, life became 100% about caring for her. Luckily, there were enough people to help that everyone got at least part of a day “off” to go do something else (sleep often was the choice).

    I could never begin to say I understand what you are going through exactly, but I do hope you can find in this ordeal some strength, wisdom and/or knowledge that you can use in your real life or your creative life.

    • Thank you, Rob. I knew a little about the struggles you’ve dealt with; you understand even if your personal experiences were different. Your pain is your own, but the commonality of assisting someone who is ill connects many people. Though I choose not to write autobiography, my life is reflected in my work. Maybe sensitivity and awareness of details, maybe just a tendency to know when a person needs someone to be kind.

  4. Your words are very touching. They leave me speechless, and I feel your anguish. I’ve read the other comments. You have a community of writers who understand your anguish. Take care of yourself.

    • Thank you, Karen. It’s this wonderful community of writers and readers that make me want to remain a part of the group. And not to worry – I do take care and I have loving family that helps.

  5. The Pain of a Vacant Life… A diary, a memoir perhaps? Let it flow. You have just begun!

    • I love your title but I don’t think I can write a diary or memoir at this point, Tina. I’m still too close to this. I am writing a novel about an Alzheimer’s residence but it is definitely fiction and not based at all on my mom’s life.
      What do you write?

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