I have a goldmine of material with which to create a book. It is a collection of emails, letters, research, diaries and cards related to my husband’s illness. He was ill for eight years. Initially, I was copying emails and internet research to take to him in the hospital. When he came home, I just continued collecting things thinking that, perhaps, my children would be interested in reading it all at some future date.
It seems to me that this is a fabulous foundation for a book. Just the narrative itself, as told in emails, is interesting. In addition to that, though, I want to write the book that wasn’t there for me.
My home is in a small city in Alberta, and during this time there was not a support group for me to attend. Even if there had been, I was working full time. It was all I could do to keep it all together with going to work, being a caregiver, and being the mother of teenagers. I got a lot of loving support from family and friends for which I am eternally grateful. At the same time, though, the advice and help that I often received from people who didn’t know me well was either sentimental, patronizing, or religious. None of that was what I needed.
I want to write the book that I didn’t have. I want to help the women and men who find themselves where I was, and I want to affirm them in the struggle, the change in the marital relationship, the exhaustion, and the coping mechanisms. I don’t want to sugarcoat it, and I don’t want to be negative. I just want to be a voice of real experience.
Just to complicate this writing project a little more, while I was going through this caregiving experience, I was also spending time on the computer and meeting people in chat rooms. To cut a long story short, I met a man who lives in Kenya and became infatuated with him. I have kept all those emails, too. That relationship is over, but it was a mind-blowing and expensive experience. Is this a second book or a thread of the first one?
I started to transcribe some of the emails related to my husband, and before I had even scratched the surface I had 75 pages. Much too much. (Incidentally, the process for this requires scanning hard copy originals because I didn’t keep a digital record. This process is mind-numbingly dull.)
So, I have ground to a halt and am wallowing in paper and frustration. Thus, at the suggestion of a friend, I am creating this blog. I am presenting my problem to the world in the hope that the world will help me through this maze. It’s either that, or my sister has offered to come over with a match.