14 April 2010

What I'm Afraid to Write

My first novel is about a young woman losing everything she holds dear ... technology, her career, her family - her father and brother.

A dear friend of mine and her family recently came face to face with one of my biggest fears - the loss of one of their young children. My heart tore apart every time I read one of her updates. I'd cry for all that my friend's family had to endure. I'd cry hoping with all my heart that I never have to deal with that. And I'd cry just imagining what would happen if one of my children left this world before me. I can only imagine how difficult it  is to deal with losing a child.

A few days later, another family friend had her son and daughter-in-law taken from them in a violent act, leaving two young girls orphans. Now the family must assume responsibility for these two little ones, little ones who are left wondering why did their parents have to die.

Beyond making me see and appreciate my own family in a new way, these events also influence my writing.

Back when I started my first novel, I purposefully chose to make my character a young woman with relatively little emotional ties to her own world. Not that losing parents and siblings is an easy thing to do, but I can't imagine anything worse than losing a child. It wasn't something I wanted to confront back then or now. Too much emotion and fear to really look at what I would do if I lost one of my children. Tears come to my eyes now as I type these thoughts.

But maybe one day, I'll write the story from my main character's mother's POV ... another woman that lost everything, her life as she knew it, her husband and her two children. Or maybe from the perspective of a family left behind to figure out how to continue living without a piece of them.

Not that I'm "qualified" to write these stories given that I've never suffered this devastating loss. But these losses my friends have endured has me thinking about it anyways.

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