Donna, A Memoir of Love and Loss was my first book and may end up being the only book I write. That should be enough. One and done. Be happy that you did it and did it good.
I have ideas bouncing in my head like ball bearings violently shaken in an empty soup can. I am still unclear what my motivations where when I wrote the Memoir. If I can sort out why I wrote the Memoir maybeI can see if I have what it takes to write more. I guess an unexamined life isn't worth writing about.
The backstory on the Memoir. I wrote an essay about my suicidal ideation to submit to American Association of Suicidology. It didn’t make the cut. I shared with a neighbor who's an accomplished writer and professor of comparative literature. She liked the story so much she thought I should continue and write more. Under her guidance I started the Memoir.
Beyond a respected and admired friend that believed in me there needed to be something more within. I can say with all honesty I am not confident in general and even less so when putting words on paper. There's a long an sordid history of why. Surfice it to say not paying attention in school, some very punishing comments when I did write, and spelling. When all is said and done even under the storm clouds of fear I charge on. One of my most charming attributes.
The suicide ideation essay is directly related to the death of Donna which you can learn more about here, here, and here. Those posts and others are essentially my thoughts on Donna, loss, grief, love, death, etc. What I was not addressing was Donna and her story which is our story.
Donna was not easy for the majority of people that knew her. She did not tolerate fools gladly, she took no prisoners, and had a singular focus on her work, graphic design. She believed, no lived, believing life is not a popularity contest. She was never cruel to people just right about her work, her vision, and design. It was not the individual it was the work. She loved talent and fostered it in others. Those few she let in were dear to her and she to them. Many of those friends told me at her funeral that it was Donna who mentored them and got them into the business. Her friendship and support made all the difference.
There was bifucated Donna. All work, design, and focus that forked to another road of a friend who supported and helped those she valued. And then there was Donna and me. Her intensity and unremitting belief in herself was not left on the doorstep when she came home. As driven for perfection as she was with herself and those who worked for her she was with me at home. I did not get a pass. I grew up in a matiarchle family strong women and was fine. I do not fear women. And I love to learn so all good.
Donna was playful and loving. She wanted to be loved just for her and she loved as fericely as she selected fonts. I benefited from that. In fact I thrived. 'It is less about how you feel about person you love and more about how they make you feel.'
When we met Donna was mum about her childhood and past. I have said this before Donna subscribed to 'There's a reason they call it history. It happened then.' Looking back did not accomplish much. My knowledge of her and her life started from the day we met. I am not saying that I knew nothing about her childhood, family, and life prior to us. It remained in the shadows. That opaque past was not a problem or limited our love. It was just something that could have expanded our today's.
That is the bas relief of Donna, me, and us. My persepective of all was blurred because I was so close and lived it. I could feel it with my fingers every day and not see all it was. Once Donna was diagnosed and became the docent for her death I began to absorb all that was since there was an expiration date.
I wrote the Memoir to exorcise my grief demons. It became a condensation of that bas relief and being the docent of her death. Writing the Memoir I discovered a new understanding of love and sharing Donna's truth with the world. Today a couple of years after the writing and publishing the entire grief thing has become less a roiling undertow pulling me into darkness. It is more like a gentle rain that covers me with gentle memories and buoys my heart.