Gone but not forgotten
Having completed my second novel, currently titled BRIDGED BY BETRAYAL, I packed up all the research I used for my first novel, REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO.
REQUIEM spotlights a family that struggles with the tangible and emotional elements inherent when battling a disease that is always fatal; a disease that gives you daily – if not hourly – reminders of its devastating effects.
I could not write about the fictional family’s journey without incorporating some of my own stories from my years as Dad’s caregiver. I also included other people’s stories as told to me through my work as an Alzheimer’s caregiver support group facilitator, and as a Washington State certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman. (Names and facts altered to protect those directly involved.)
The research materials I packed away this past weekend consisted primarily of the caregiving journals I kept while being my father’s primary long-distance caregiver while he endured Alzheimer’s disease.
That research also included reams of paper I organized into multi-tabbed folders containing the various doctor’s reports and findings from the seven years of dad’s disease journey.
I was not prepared for the emotion with which I was blanketed when I pulled out the large waterproof chest that had resided in my writing space the past three years. Placing my research in the chest, shutting it, and returning it to its original under-the-stairs location was extremely difficult for me.
In a certain sense, I felt I had betrayed Dad because I wasn’t just packing up some paper, I was putting away the physical evidence of his seven year battle of brain function loss.
I have no doubt that if REQUIEM FOR THE STATUS QUO was published and in the hands of readers who might benefit from the book’s difficult yet heart-warming stories I would feel somewhat better about shutting away my father’s disease history. I would feel I had done his struggle some justice; his story would have mattered more.
But I have to look ahead, I have to do my ultimate best in delivering my second novel – not at all related to Alzheimer’s disease – into the hands of an agent who will represent it, sell it to a publishing house, and place it in the hands of readers who will some day look for additional books I have written.
When my future agent asks me, “What else have you written?” I’ll send her or him my first novel’s manuscript in the hope my agent will feel it is worthy of publication.
Since completing my second novel, friends and family members have asked what I’m currently doing with my first novel. I tell them, “I’m perfecting my second novel, so my first one has a better chance.”
4 thoughts on “Gone but not forgotten”
December 15, 2015 at 7:54 am
Thank you, Irene, for pouring your heart and soul into this novel. You have honored Dad – and the journeys of all connected to dementia – in ways that transcend formal publication, if that makes any sense. May packing away all that represents Dad and his journey, and your polishing of your second novel, create a loving energy in the Universe that brings this story to light in the hands of an appreciative agent.
And – it’s hard to believe that your picnic with Dad in Medford – presented wonderfully with that photo – was almost 11 years ago!
December 15, 2015 at 8:08 am
Thank you. I also know that the story needed to be put out there to honor Dad’s and the other acquaintances’ stories so even if none of those stories make it into the hands of others, they’ve still been released; they’ve still been told.
December 14, 2015 at 4:33 pm
This sounds like a good strategy, Irene. I’m sure packing away that research material was tough. I’m sorry for that.
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December 14, 2015 at 5:01 pm
It was difficult, but intellectually I know all is not lost.
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