Back in 2010 or so, I wrote a book I call Grieving Futures detailing the slow collapse of my family and my emergence from that as an adult orphan. It’s a painful book and in retrospect I’d write it very differently, if I were writing it today. But it is also an important artifact of who I was at the time, deep in therapy and at a major crossroads in life. I was coming out of the dissolution of a 14 year marriage and was on the precipice of starting graduate school in library studies. I was also getting books published under a pseudonym. It was…a tumultuous time.
But nowhere near as devastating as my life in 1996, not by a long shot. It was coming to terms with the fallout of being the full time caretaker of my mortally ill parents that moved me to write about what I went through after their deaths. I sent it out into the world in 2010 roughly edited with a mostly plain text cover, not expecting anything from doing so other than, I suppose, letting it loose into the world. I was shocked that people read it, and even more shocked that some found value in what is a rather brutal text, to be honest.
Last year I updated the book and redid the cover, also adding a new preface and afterwords. I wrote about why in a post at patience&fortitude (my mostly defunct site about atheist grief…nowadays I have an irregular column at Atheist Republic for those musings), but I think it got lost in the trauma-drama of the year.
I stumbled over the book again, having pushed the memory of it into the dank recesses of a busy mind. It feels self-serving to share it, to talk about this harsh yet sincere story, knowing that people who read it usually find it upsetting. I have comforted many friends who read it and become distraught at the thought that I went through those things.
But…I have also comforted people I don’t know who went through similar situations, who are still fighting anger and grief and disappointment. I think it is for those people, those grievers who feel so alone and worthless, that I keep coming back to Grieving Futures as something of value, despite its originally self-serving purpose. I know that back in 1996 I felt desperately alone and if my small little book of angst can help others not experience that on top of all their grief, well then, I suppose I am happy to have bled out the words.
Also published on Medium.