This week, this little blog surpassed 15,000 all time hits. Now I know out there in the blogosphere that this is a miniscule amount, but for this little vanilla girl from an average place with average dreams it is a big deal. I started this writing to prove to myself that I could indeed do something I set my mind to and hopefully in some small way possibly help others who felt isolated, heartbroken, and alone. I have felt so alone and most days felt useless on this journey of widowhood that this little blog was a way that I could give back while I continued to heal my own heart. My grief was something that made me feel so far out on the outskirts of life that it was my way of dipping my toe back into the water of life.
When I started writing memoirs, I had just left a job that I thought would be part of my life for a long time. I was disappointed in myself and in them, well, I was disappointed with life again..
Writing has always been a part of me. I don’t journal, I write most things to be shared…narcissist I guess, but that’s how I’ve done it. When I was a youth minister, I found a voice as one of the many struggling with ministry. It was during this time that I began my life as an “officially” published (and “officially” paid) writer. I told the stories of my ministry to other ministers through trade magazines. It was a little niche that found my story valuable. My voice began to develop a different way, a ministry sort of way.
When Dave died, every grief program said to journal. They all say how cathartic writing can be. I knew that writing was cathartic, journaling though…I never really got. I could never sit and journal for myself alone (narcissist in me again). In the early years of grief, I would just vomit words onto paper, raw, emotional, and painful words. Some have never seen the light of day. I would sit in the dark of night, while my babies slept and my mind tormented me, at my computer and write…oh ya and cry, cry alot. Luckily for me an email from a former editor of mine came around soon after I had written something that could be shown in the light of day. That piece that commented on the temporary-ness of life here on earth found its way into the first edition of his new magazine. Shortly after I began blogging for the magazine and found the venue exhilarating, honest and loved that we could be authentic about our lives and our faith journey in the moment and it was published pretty much right then and there. Shortly after, the same article he published found its way into the pages of a grief based magazine (with my help of course, not by magic). I had found yet another part of my voice. Although at the time I felt like I had somehow prostituted Dave’s death, the compulsion to write about it survived those feelings.
Memoirs from Widow Island started as a joke in one of my support groups. I had been talking about how isolated I found myself as a newly widowed and mother of young children. I often said that if I survived it all I would write book – Memoirs from Widow Island. It would be a book about getting off the island. Instead, in the midst of disappointment with what I then thought was a career fail, I decided to launch the blog. I had seen a few grief based blogs and thought it might be a path for me. It started with a few modest posts and for the first year I was happy to get a hit or two from family or friends. I never imagined that it would be getting five to seven hundred hits a month…
A little dream, fueled by hope to serve others has been a spring board into a world that is filled with heartbreak and healing. It has linked me to lovely people whose wisdom and ability to share their stories with vulnerable voices have made me a better person. Their stories that I found as they found me have built a network of caring and love that I never knew.
Walking through the pain of grief and putting my words, my feelings, my hopes, my fear on the page has opened doors into a world of growth and inspiration. I have been inspired by them and have had the privilege of being inspiring to a few others. It has been such a huge privilege and I am grateful for this everyday.
Lately I have been considering my journey and wondering if my time with Memoirs is finished and I’ve been struggling with the words. I wonder if my voice has a new direction to develop. If the past is any precursor, this is true…the only thing I can count on is change. Today, though, I’m not off the island quite yet. Today, I can see the boat at the dock waiting to take me off the island. Today, I know I am closer to leaving the island, but there is still some work to do.
Thanks for your hits. Thanks for reading. Thanks for writing. Thanks for inspiring me. Thanks for filling my humble heart with gratitude again, because if there is one thing I’ve learned on this journey…it is through the sharing of our journeys that someday I will get off the island!