Last year, I was ready to quit working on my big life goal. I hadn’t been to any writer meetings in months. In fact, I hadn’t even worked on my children’s books. The writing no longer poured out of me.
WHAT WAS A CHILDREN’S BOOK TO ME?
I had been working on my goal of writing for children for over 17 years. Over that time, whenever I did anything toward writing and publishing, I felt joy. I felt alive. My big life goal was to both write and illustrate children’s picture books. Although I had made progress and had victories, there was no picture book publication in sight.
DEATH’S PARADIGM SHIFT
What had changed? In 2018, I looked death in the eye and it changed me. My mother-in-law, who was also my good friend, was diagnosed with cancer throughout her body.
I stayed beside Dorie on her path to the end of her earthly life. I saw death and despised it. How could the last days be so cruelly painful for such a sweet, loving person?
MY LIFE GOAL CLOUDED BY GRIEF
After that experience I spent much of 2018 stuck in grief. My friend and family member was gone. It all happened so fast. I spent the following months in shock, trying to make sense of it.
At that time, my writing consisted of journaling about Dorie. Of creating a timeline, trying to figure it out. I also needed to get down on paper the holy, majestic, paranormal parts of it. Because God worked in her life, and we were given signs of the afterlife and reuniting with family. I had faith, but was struck down from the path of my life goal by witnessing the bitter starkness of death.
HAD MY LIFE GOAL FAILED ME? HAD I FAILED WRITING?
Once my experience and thoughts about Dorie’s death were on paper, I was done writing. I wish I could say that I followed the text book on grieving like some of the tips in this article. Instead I muddled through in my process.
I’d had a go at being a children’s author and illustrator. Except for one article, none of the traditional publishing houses took me up on my submitted manuscripts. It had been long enough. I let go of my dream and stopped working toward my big life goal.