Today is the fifth anniversary of my daughter's death. I think of her every day and every day I promise to make decisions she would approve of and make her glad. In some ways, it's hard to believe my daughter has been gone for five years. Where did the time go? What did I learn? One thing I learned is that two teenagers and two grandparents can come together to form a grand family. It is a true miracle. Still, all of us had to go through a lot of pain to get to this place in our lives. I learned that my grandchildren are kind, brilliant, helpful people. Today, I we share mutual love and mutual respect. During the last five years I learned grief can be shared. Family members, close friends, and total strangers have come to my aid. But the most important thing I learned is that each of us has the power to come to terms with grief and create a new life. My daughter would want me to laugh, set goals, and enjoy each day. I'm doing these things. Ten percent of all the grandparents in America are raising their grandchildren. and the number is going up. So in memory of my daughter I have written a book to help GRGs (grandparents raising grandchildren), and GAPs (grandparents as parents), and hope it will be published soon. You are in my heart, Helen, and always will be.
I continue to write about loss and grief. My grief reconciliation and recovery articles are posted on the Open to Hope Foundation website and EzineArticles. Right now I am trying to sell a book about grandparenting. It's an uphill battle in a down economy. Why do I continue to write? One reason is to track my feelings, but it is the lesser reason. The main reason is to help others. When I attended The Compassionate Friends Conference in Bloomington, MN last summer, I was struck by the power of shared grief and healing. Reaching out to others gives new purpose to my life and I just submitted two presentation proposals to two organizations. While I hope my proposals are accepted, it is't imperative. Helping others is what is important to me. If you want to share your feelings, or challenges, or successes, please post here. I will read every word!
After I've given a talk about recovering from grief, many people ask me how to go about writing a book. Some authors use a random approach and write about whatever comes to mind. I work from an outline. First, I determine the main topic of the book. Next, I identify sub-topics and make a list of them. These are my chapters. I put this information in outline form and let it "percolate" for a few weeks or months. During this time some chapters may be deleted and the order of the chapters may change. Then I start writing. Sometimes I deviate from the outline, but for the most part, I stick with it. I encourage you to write your own grief story. Start today. Don't try to impress anyone; just be your yourself. Writing will lead you to new discoveries and a new life.