Tuesday, May 18, 2010
GRIEF...How Do You Deal With It?
In the early part of 2000 I lost my husband to liver disease. A horrible but preventable death if he had chosen to live differently. However I was devastated because at age 56 I was too young to be a widow. He was not even 47 yet; so young and with a young son of 25 he left.
I had been unable to work for the previous couple of years due to caring for him and now had to re-enter the work force. I went to work at the nearby Louisiana State Park as the District Office Coordinator and shared an office with two men who were rarely in.
My job demanded learning spread sheets and different computer programs and skills and I had up until that time barely mustered maneuvering the mouse from place to place, but with lots of patience the men guided me in the basics and I practiced.
Of course his death would not completely leave my mind and there was no one to talk to so I began writing on the computer and realize I had never used a word processor and had not typed since high school, but I typed and I typed and before I knew it I was caught up in a story. I began tearing pictures from magazines, pictures of people; people we all know from People Magazine and such. In my mind they became my family. They represented my deceased husband, and all my children. My parents, my extended family and my friends that I didn't have.
I couldn't stay too true to my story or I would have been writing about my life and my life at that time felt too painful. I didn't want to let anyone in so I had to re-invent my life. I became the matriarch of a family of simple, poor, practically illerate hill family from the Tennessee mountains. I had to learn a new way to talk, and spell, and think. Of course I drew my strength from this very strong woman from the hills. She faced hard work, death, disappointments, fear and all the things we in life are faced with and she endured through her faith in God, determination of spirit, and a caring family. Through this hillbilly woman, I learned to do the same. I interwove parts of my own life within these colorful characters and made up the rest. Again, I typed and I typed.
I went to bed thinking of the folks on James Mountain and got up in the night to pen what I had dreamed or had thought of before my storyline was forgotten and when I got to work and got my office work out of the way, I wrote some more. In no time, I had filled huge binders of pages both pictures and the written word and it was more than a story. It became a saga. I fine tuned it and wrote some more. Within the year my story could be finished. But how could I finish it when I now had living to do?
I met a man in 2002 that I fell completely in love with and to my surprise, I remarried. The book still hearkened. The family wanted to keep on living, so I bought another binder and began writing where I left off. My name changed so I had to change my story name, thus changing the title but the people were the same. Minus a few who had gone on before me or no longer a part of my life.
I got well. I healed. My grief subsided without me being aware of trying to move on. I had crossed over to the living. I found the second book much harder to write and still do. I'm happy in my life today. It is full and it is complete. I have a loving,healthy, happy and active family. I love Jesus, adore my husband who is absolutely the true love of my life. My health is fairly good especially in my mind and I have friends in the bloggy world I never could have dreamed up.
I know for certain that Rest High On The Mountain was a gift from God; the ability to weave this tale to heal my aching heart. There is no great pull to write about my hill family now as they are far too busy living to contend with. I am too busy.
But as in my post yesterday, I will print little exerpts from time to time for you to get a glimpse at what life in the Tennessee Hills was like for the Reuben James Family.
As only in my mind.