Saturday, October 25, 2014

Mourning the Seasons of My Life

Leaves on the Ground by byrdiegyrl on flickr via CC by 2
It's been a tough year and an especially difficult summer.

My cat died. A reunion with family members that I don't see very often was special but bittersweet. In fact, the living proof that we're all getting old smashed my black-and-white-photo childhood memories to pieces. My birthday the following month dropped me squarely into the retirement-eligible age group. Then cancer claimed my brother and continues to threaten our dad and a very young cousin. It's been tough.

As hard as it's been to accept these realities, the toughest part of the year for me was losing the writing community I'd been a part of for over seven years. I know this will sound insignificant and even silly to some, but the sudden demise of the online space I had called my virtual home for so many years hit me like a ton of bricks. Having spent most of my waking hours there every day for so long, the loss of that online space and the relationships that built it was as real as an F4 tornado flattening a small city.

When I first learned that the site was shutting down, I felt like someone close to me had suddenly died. Then after digesting the situation for several days it became more of an empty-nest feeling. Indeed, I feel eerily similar to the way I felt when our sons left home. Back then, I mourned for more than a year until the changes of going from a family of four to "just the two of us" took hold and became our new normal.

As the stages of mourning the writing site have progressed from denial through anger, beyond bargaining and now deep into the depression phase, I'm trying to grasp the hope that a new, maybe even better "new normal" will accompany the next step, acceptance. I look forward to when I'll be motivated to write again. Maybe eventually I'll actually feel like I'm part of another community.

Assigning the loss of my online home to a level equal to the loss of an in-real-life person, even a family member, may seem shallow, melodramatic, or even cruel. But to me the loss is real - and it hit me hard. I know that everything in life goes through seasons and that while I went through a bitter winter all summer long, it's fall that is beginning to bring healing to my hurting soul. Like the falling leaves outside my window, the hurt is slowly drifting away. Hopefully by springtime I'll feel fresh and new again.

Just writing these words has helped. Seeing evidence of life moving on, season by season, helps, too.

Photo from Flickr via CC by 2.0

4 comments:

  1. I am sorry for your losses, but trust me - you'll find writing friends again. There are so many communities out there and so many people who write, and who meet online or in person that I'm sure (hope) your feeling of loneliness won't last long.

    I've made some friends a while ago on a fanfiction site, and in time we decided to exchange email addresses and continue to talk, even though none of us write fanfiction anymore. We encourage each other, read each other's drafts, and send virtual pats on the back after rejection letters.

    Try to do the same - find some online friends, but once you feel comfortable enough talking, exchange email addresses, so that if that site goes bust as well, you'll know how to get in touch with one another. Good luck! And as writers say "Butt in the chair, and write!"

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  2. Jolanta, what a wonderful comment. Timely, too. I do have some good writing friends and have made an effort to get more involved with them since I wrote this post. It helped to "vent" and things are getting better. Thanks for taking time to encourage me with the gentle kick in that place that needs to be solidly placed in my writing chair!

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  3. I am very glad to hear you are felling better and are writing again. I have to find some time to finish up my stories as well and start submitting again. I managed to publish a few poems and some essays, but no fiction yet. :(

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  4. I'm looking forward to reading more of your writing. The travel blog is fabulous! Thanks again for your encouragement.

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