I’ll be honest – writing From My Mother was painful. I cried – a lot, and not only the first time in the writing, but again and again in revisions (so hopefully my copy editor catches and forgives any errors missed through the tears). I started writing without a plan, instead I was fueled by a desperate plea. I needed to heal and writing served as the only therapy I was brave enough to undertake. I purged my raw emotions onto blank pages, exhausting myself through simple clicks on a keyboard which carried the most complicated thoughts of my life.
More than once I wrote until I couldn’t, then went to visit the cemetery where my brother is buried less than ten yards from my mother. One night, after writing about her final days, I drove to my mother’s plot, lay my back on the bare earth above her bones, and prayed for her strength to help me through.
I had a young child at home, a loving husband I could enjoy, and a full time job as a teacher. There were reasons to quit writing and let life be easier. There are still reasons the writing may be better private than shared with the world. I’m ashamed of some of what I wrote about my own actions. Progress could have stopped with the first twenty rejection letters, but a vision pushed me forward.
If I would have read From My Mother before I lost my mother, I would have been better for her. I would have lived life differently. I would have been a better person…
MMD is a rare disease and families like mine aren’t easy to find.
The vision which pushed me through the pain was of some 16 year old girl somewhere in the world born healthy from a mother who carried a terminal disease. A girl with a sibling who wasn’t as genetically lucky, a girl who knew she would lose more than one family member too soon, I wrote for her.
The young boy affected by myotonic dystrophy trying to understand the world and make an impact the time he has, I wrote for him.
The mom who carries a silent disease and is misunderstood by the more fortunate in health, I wrote for her.
The dad and husband who puts all his being into caretaking, maybe even forgetting to take care of his own needs, a man like my father who carry a handicapped child on his back up a mountain trail in a National Park then drives home six hours as his affected spouse sleeps. I wrote for him.
I pray each night now that From My Mother will find the reader who will not just enjoy the story, but the reader who needs the story. With every inch of my being I believe I was born to write this book. This is part of my fate, and writing through the pain was an irresistible calling. It had to be done. There are readers out there who, if I can find them, have never read the voice of someone from a family with myotonic muscular dystrophy and deserve to, readers who will be changed by the catharsis of reading about a family like theirs and hopefully feel renewed grace through experiencing this story of faith in the final days of a terminal illness.
I wrote for them.
I wrote for me….
Help me share this story so From My Mother can find the readers who need it. Share this post on facebook or twitter or with someone you know in person. We’ll reach them together.