Occasionally I tackle subject matter that strikes a cord somewhere inside of me. As in, it actually bothers me a lot more than I realized it did before I start writing about it. Something like that is happening while I work on my current novel. The book itself was supposed to be a fairly straightforward paranormal romance, but the subject matter is ghosts and hauntings. I thought I would have a lot of fun writing kitschy little ghost stories, but instead, I find myself seriously considering death, the afterlife, and all points in between.
This has slowed my writing process.
I almost abandoned the book, one that I am starting to love, because it has been taking me so long to write it. I keep going into mental tangents as I write. I thought maybe I would just follow one of those tangents and post it here. I have some personal experience with death, something I am strangely grateful for if only because it has allowed me to see life full circle.
My freshman year of college my paternal grandfather died in the hospital. I was the only person in the room at the time, my grandmother, aunt, and cousin all having taken a much needed break from the bedside of our unconscious family patriarch for some coffee. They’d no more than stepped out the door when he started to convulse. His death rippled through the small space, like a universe collapsing in on itself before a big bang- plucking at the energy of the room, which may sound strange, but I felt him going. I waived him off, wished him well. He was there one second and gone before anyone even got back with their coffee from the station down the hall. And I stood there crying at the beauty and sadness of it all. Of all the things in my life I’ll never forget, that moment is one of the most profound. Other people said, “Oh, he was just waiting for his wife and daughter to leave so he could die where they couldn’t see it,” but I was still there. If there was some universal coordination of that moment for him, I like to hope he went when I was there because he felt safe enough with me to do it, and maybe knew I wouldn’t totally freak out.
I miss you, grandpa. Much love, wherever you’ve landed.