As a reminder, this month I’m blogging about my year of cemetery walks, as well as the questions I pondered about writing and life. A is for Arrival outlines the context for this month’s theme.
Oh wow, I certainly struggled with identifying a topic for this day. Writing about death seemed too obvious. And honestly, I’ve found that my first few posts were more grim than anticipated. (I suppose I should have expected that, seeing as I’m writing about cemeteries and all.) I ran through a bunch of options: dreaming, devotion, duty, drafts, drama, desks, darkness (on the edge of town)?
Then I realized I really did need to sit down and write about death.
I am no longer a young woman. (I don’t even get carded anymore, or the few times I do I laugh about it and the server invariably says, “We card everyone, ma’am.”) I’m not an old woman yet, either. I’m in the middle of my life. I hope there are many more years ahead of me. But it’s time to stop talking about what I’m going to do when I grow up and time to start focusing on my dreams for the next part of my life. My dreams before death. My 2013 cemetery walks gave me the space and setting in which to discern the next steps of life. (Discern! Aha! Another d!)
Here are my dreams: to write. To write words that people enjoy reading. To write words that people find moving. To write words that make people laugh and think and provide some escape, if necessary. This is what I want to do before I die.
I have to balance those dreams with my circumstances and my responsibilities. I have a day job, one that I like a lot, but one that also takes time and energy away from writing. But this job also provides stability, income, health insurance. I have young children who need A LOT of attention. (Seriously, when do they start ignoring me?) I have a house and a spouse and friends who deserve my attention – and I want to give them my attention.
Death still frightens me. There’s the fear of pain and the fear of simply not existing anymore. There’s the terrifying, paralyzing fear I feel thinking about it happening to those I love. But contemplating it has made it less frightening. At the very least, it has helped me better shape my life and discern what I want to do before it’s over. And that is not a bad gift at all.