Clean Slate

I’ve been silent for a while, I’m not sure why. I took a few missteps with my writing, and I guess I needed to walk away from it for a time. If you follow my posts, you’ll know that I was blogging regularly about my memories of when Anna (my oldest daughter, now nineteen) had a stroke at age twelve. The story always seems to come out in bits and pieces whenever I’m writing about other things, I suppose because that experience is woven into my consciousness and connected to everything I am as a person. This account was going to be different, though. I had planned to write about the events from Day One until she completed her outpatient therapy, a total of over two years. I felt like I was finally in a place where I could dive back into those memories and not feel the weight of it.

The problem was that, instead of providing closure, writing in that much detail magnified those memories and made me feel as if I had been thrown back to 2010. As crazy a year as 2016 has been, it’s nice to be able to stand here and view 2010 from a safe distance – time travel didn’t suit me.

Another consequence I hadn’t considered was that there are people in my life today who didn’t know us then, people who had no idea I had a daughter who suffered a near-fatal brain hemorrhage and had to re-learn how to walk and dress herself. It puts others in an uncomfortable situation when they want to learn more, or simply show concern, because they don’t know if they’re supposed to know. (Side note: it’s okay – I don’t mind talking about it and you can ask me anything.)

After a half-dozen or so entries, I decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I need the distance we’ve put between ourselves and what happened. While I feel fine talking (and writing) about it when the subject comes up naturally, chronicling Anna’s stroke day-by-day (sometimes hour-by-hour) was not helping my mental state.

It wasn’t enough not to write any more installments; I needed to take down the entries that were already posted. I didn’t want to see them every time I logged on to my site. I needed a clean slate.

After I took those posts down, I was surprised to find that I didn’t want to write another word. About anything. Maybe I was trying too hard, or maybe it was because my life got a little crazier around that time, but I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I changed the setting on my website to “private” and walked away.

It’s been a couple of months now, and I find myself periodically wandering to my laptop and opening a blank Word document. Sometimes I write a paragraph or two before deleting, but most of the time I just stare at the stark white of the screen and think. Nothing much is coming yet, but I know it will eventually. I hope you will be here to read it when it does.

Because I’ve missed you.

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