At the beginning of April, I wrote about the bittersweet nature of this month for me, and for my mother. I shared the heartache and gratitude we each experience related to shared, and separate experiences, and how my mom’s experience inspired the events and theme of my first novel. So, it seems fitting that this month is also the month that that novel—the fictional love story born out of my mother’s real-life tragedy—hits the virtual retailer shelves. I am beyond belief grateful. Sad. And terrified.
Grateful, because I’ve realized a dream I’ve held for a long time. Sad, because after almost two decades of creating, revising, and reimagining the story, it’s time to let it go. Terrified, because I have no idea how it will make its way in the world.
I shared my terror with my husband. He was, oddly (because emotions and feelings aren’t his thing) intuitive. And philosophical.
“You’re scared people won’t like it?”
“Don’t be. Because not everyone is going to like it. Some are going to love it. Some are going to like it. Some are going to not like it. Some might even hate it. What matters, is, you did it. And you should be proud.”
I am proud.
I feel like a mother who’s standing on the curb watching her youngest drive away on route to a new job—new life—across the country, full of pride and angsty helplessness, tissue clutched to mouth as all the what-ifs, and potential calamities, race through my mind.
What if he gets lost? Or a flat tire. Loses his keys. Crashes. Run out of gas on an isolated stretch of highway that lacks cell service—Yes, I’m like this with my human kids, much to their communal annoyance (the oldest is thirty)—but after spending a child’s entire lifetime keeping him or her safe, it’s hard to let go. Even when it’s time. Even when it’s best.
My Dear One is the story of my heart. The other books I’ve written, including My Dear’s One’s sequel, My Own, grew out of my imagination, and love for writing and stories, but My Dear One is straight from my soul. Letting it go, is like losing a part of myself. But in a good way. Like when I grieved—and celebrated—each of my children’s births.
So, as My Dear One wings its way out into the world, I smile. Through my tears.
It’s been a long road. And short journey. On a shorter path, to the eternal end.
Everyone once, once only. Just once and no more. And we also once. Never again. ~Rainer Maria Rilke