Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Big Life Drama Moments

I experienced a major life change last month. Actually, the whole of 2012 was a bit of a challenge. My mother moved in last January, suffering from serious health issues that were quite mysterious, mostly painful, exhausting, and frustrating for her, me, and the rest of my family (meaning, my husband and 2 kids - no one else, I'm an only child). Typical of our relationship, my mother and I clashed and bashed as only alpha mothers and alpha daughters can do in times of unyielding I-don't-know-what-the-heck-to-do-nowness and I found myself in the odd position of trying to take care of my mother, and protect my kids from all the drama.

In my world, when someone I love is suffering, it can really set me off-kilter. And the bratty me that never wants to grow up is stubborn about not wanting to reverse roles with my mother. For the adult me, not knowing why someone is suffering, why they can't help themselves, why I can't help them, consumes my patience like a half-starved wolf. 

September 2012 rolled around and after a sudden kidney failure, she finally had a diagnosis thanks to the persistent efforts of the medical team at Beth Israel Deaconess:  stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma.  Normally HL is treated with high success rates, but as my mother had been struggling with symptoms for six years, she had a steeper hill to climb and pretty soon that hill became a mountain. She passed away on November 6, 2012.

My mom's passing was is tough, and it came too quickly after my father's passing in 2008. Remarkably though, my years of studying emotional character arcs and universal story arcs for both my writing and my healing practices have served me well in real life.  I've learned that big life drama moments aren't meant to suck us down into an abyss of sorrow or anger. These moments are in our lives to teach us about ourselves, about life, and about the magic fabric that ties all of our hopes and dreams together. If we, once in a while, allow ourselves to step back from the immediate experience and observe how we deal with crisis, we can mine the experience as something more than just a tragedy. It might even make for a good story someday!

what's your story?

My experience with my mom's illness, her diagnosis, her treatment, and her death has transformed me into something more than I once was. More compassionate, more loving, more understanding, more filled with awe, more at peace. While I don't recommend you all go out and get yourselves a life-or-death circumstance, I do wish for you (and your characters, for all you writers out there!) to find the courage it takes to free yourself from your beliefs about what an experience should be, so that you may discover the transformative experience that it really is

Blessings to you in 2013 and happy writing!