Grief: The Great Yearning is one step closer to publication. Today I received what might be the final copyedits. One of my fellow bereft volunteered to proof the book for me (actually, a mutual friend volunteered him, and he was kind enough to go along with the suggestion), and he turned out to be a phenomenal copyeditor. Found mistakes that all the rest of us missed. We don’t even have the excuse that we couldn’t see the words for the tears, since he had the same problem.
Very few people have managed to get through the book dry-eyed. Even though each person’s grief is different, there are enough similarities that this book speaks to everyone. It’s been called powerful, profound, exquisite, wrenching, raw, real. One woman wrote me, “I really like your book. When my husband died I devoured books about loss of spouse…maybe 30-40. The ones that were most helpful were similar to yours in that they recounted the journey. NONE were as complete as yours and that is what I wanted.”
Some people think the book will be best as a companion to those who are grieving. Some people think it will be best as a book to give their friends and relatives to help their loved ones understand what the bereft is going through. Some people think it should be required reading in classes for would-be therapists. Some people think it should be handed out to everyone whose spouse signs up with hospice so they are not shocked and bewildered when grief hits.
I never set out to write a book about grief. I merely cried out to an unfeeling void, looking for whatever comfort I could, trying to understand what had happened to him and me and our shared life. Apparently all that chaotic feeling ended up on paper, and now those emotions are tidily packed away into a book. Well, packed away until someone opens the book; then emotion explodes out of the binding.
Writing fiction comes hard to me. I have to drag every word out of my depths, but the words in this book came gushing forth. Of course, I was writing for me, not for others, and I didn’t have to create emotion out of nothing. I had emotion to spare.
Perhaps the time is right for this book. Perhaps it won’t mosey along like my novels, but will burn up the atmosphere when it takes off. Perhaps I really did write an important book. What a strange thought.