I’ve been trying for some time to try to put my experience into words. To tell the story of what happened to my family, to me, after my husband died.
At one point, I simply tried to write down an actual chronology of the events as they unfolded. A sort of journal of the entire journey. But that turned into a task very much like trying to sort through all the old photos…
I tried to turn the story into a collage of the grief of the various people affected by the loss. I don’t think I’ve ever written anything so impersonal.
I avoided everything and tried to write a story about how I’d like to escape. That showed promise, but I was going for funny, and I quickly ran out of material.
But the whole idea came together at once, waking me as ideas usually do, at 4 o’clock in the morning, with an intensity and purpose that drives sleep into oblivion and forces mind, body, and soul into action.
The book is a merging of all of the above.
I gave my story to my character. Up to the moment that the first word appears on the first page, she is me. But then she becomes her own person, experiencing her own life’s battles.
I lent her my circumstance: she has five kids and her husband just died.
I gave her my family’s trip to the Yukon. I mapped it out for her so she could follow the route. Mostly. She’s made a few changes.
I gave her my journey from despair to joy. Although she travels that course in the span of about a month, it’s taken me a few years. But a month makes for better reading, I think.
But what I didn’t give her is a name. She is most definitely her own person, apart from me. But she is Mom. She is Mrs. She is Widow. She is Hurt. She is Broken. She is Real.
She is me.
But she is also everyone. She is any woman who has ever just wanted to get in the car and drive. And never come back. She is every woman who has ever just wanted to run away. Except that she actually goes.
And what she finds along the way is what I need to share. What she finds is the secret to living a life that can still hold meaning and purpose, even when hope and faith are gone. What she finds is what we all need to discover: that the Road to Joy is paved with Gratitude.
I would like to invite you to follow my journey as I continue to reveal hers. I’d like to share the process of the writing of a story that shares the process of recovery, discovery, and creation of a self. Because I can’t believe for a moment that I’ve been given a gift of such insight and treasure if I’m supposed to keep it all to myself.
Welcome to our journey. Join me on A Road To Joy.