Of Bloggers and Mothers and Death and Cosmic Coincidences

I spent two and a half hours this morning writing about my mother’s death. I know I haven’t been blogging much, but I have been writing. In fact, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), trying to pound out 50,000 words of new original writing during the month of November.

I finally finished the first draft of a novel I began two years ago. But with it ended, I still had 18,000 worth of words to write about something, so I’ve been working on shorter pieces. Twenty-two months after my mom’s passing, I decided I was ready to write about my experience of her death in more detail than I have so far. I can do so now without completely breaking down.

I met one of my writing buddies at a coffee shop this morning and we sat together with our laptops, composing our individual pieces of prose. My friend left earlier than I did, as I wanted to stay until I’d gotten my word count done. Besides, I was on a roll, typing up my memories as they came and I didn’t want to forget anything.

The piece I’m working on is therapeutic for me. I don’t know yet if I will share it or if it’s only for myself. But it surely did bring up a lot of feelings and recollections for me, including the memory of how I spent my first several weeks of grief surprised by my own intense desire for some sort of communication from beyond the grave.

After two and a half hours of work this morning, I came to place where I felt comfortable stopping for the time being. I swear I am not making this up. The minute, I closed my laptop, my phone buzzed in my pocket. When I checked it, here’s what I saw on the screen:


I almost fell out of my chair. Gmail was alerting me that a blogger I follow has a new post published. I don’t pretend to fathom the ways of the universe.

Reclaiming My Space

Yet another birthday. Mine this time. Yesterday. And with it a goal for the coming year. I want to reclaim some personal space, both on my calendar and in my house. Whenever it comes to shuffling things around in an attempt to make life work, I’m often too quick to volunteer for giving up something of mine to make the needed room, whether an activity, a goal, an object, or my home office space.

This is supposed to be my office for writing and whatever else I want to do in there. It’s pretty messy at the moment.

Messy office

Our house was built around 1901. I believe this upstairs room was originally a sleeping porch. The house needed A LOT of work when we bought it. This room didn’t even have real windows, only storms. We installed windows, put in carpet (found an end roll the right size for $50!), insulated the ceiling, and painted the walls, so I could have a writing space. I started the project so full of hope and cheer.

But, letting my inner martyr take over, I’ve gradually allowed everything else to encroach on it. Might as well keep all of our paperwork in there, right? Paid bills, taxes, insurance claims, mortgage stuff. I’m the one who handles the finances, so it only makes sense. Then sometimes we have a box of random stuff with no designated place, and we’re cleaning the common areas because we’re expecting company. Oh, I can put that box in my office, out of the way, “for now.”

And eventually we moved my mom to town, into her little tiny half of a room in the skilled nursing facility. With her came multiple season’s worth of clothing and many items she couldn’t let go, yet has no room for. Hmmm..where to put it? I know! How about the writing salon turned storage unit?


Oh, but see the green container there on the right with paper stuffed in it? That’s a sign of progress. Of hope. See the filing cabinets? They had been so bulging I’d stopped putting things in them. The green container is a paper shredder. Those papers were shredded after this photo was taken. I’ve made a good start on transforming this jumble back into a usable office by purging my files of old utility bills and operation manuals for appliances we no longer own. Tax returns from the early 2000s – gone! I freed up a ton of space so I could start sorting and filing the more recent piles that have been growing.

My plan, my small, specific, tangible goal for this next year of my life is to reclaim my writing office and begin using it again. I’m going to work on it at least four days a week, even if I only have ten minutes. Take a look at the progress I made this afternoon.


I’m talking about the bookcase. See how half of the top is clear of paperwork? That empty spot represents an hour of work on my part. There had been a huge, tottering pile next to the smaller stack that remains. Some of it got filed, some shredded. About half of it is on the floor there in the photo, but has since been moved to a recycling container. I also returned the clothes hanger to a closet. I’m not sure how it made its way to the room to begin with.

This will happen. I’m tired of the sad, discouraged feeling of loss I have when I look into this room. I will have my writing space again within the year.