Two good-sized cardboard shipping boxes were on the porch when I came home from running errands yesterday. They were tucked neatly away on the right hand side, away from the three plastic bags of clothes and open box of small household items to be picked up. The shipping boxes held the first copies of my book about recovering from my brother’s death and the discarded items were to be picked up by Big Brothers, Big Sisters for their re-sale store. Every so often the world seems to throw me a strange synchronicity.
The book has taken close to four years to research, write, and edit. The whole time I’ve wondered if it was a good idea or not. Maybe it’s self-indulgent grandstanding and a pitiful attempt to gain empathetic attention. It could be a response to a lack of ideas for a better story, simply something to spend time doing. Or the writing of this book could easily be a mea culpa, an apology, to my brother, mother, and God for my poor responses and lack of character when he was alive. Yup, could be that.
What I repeatedly told myself during the four years was that I had a useful idea, and if it could be presented well, it could help current sufferers of traumatic grief recover. A noble cause. I understand grief, I know the traps and problems grievers face, I have an idea that could be of some benefit. If I am really a writer, I should be willing to offer what I know in this world. Those are the lines I used to push forward until the writing was complete, the artwork was ready, and the books arrived on my doorstop.
In the afternoon I started letting people know who had indicated an interest I had copies. It is now the next day and I’ve heard back from several of them so first copies will be going out later today. I’ve had three other unrelated books published. With all of them I felt an excitement to have it in my hands, to hold the thickness and know how much I had put into it. I had met a goal, and at this critical moment before the curtain rises to a responding audience, I would feel pleasure from work accomplished. Soon enough the audience will clap, boo, or nod into slumber.
Right now, I will look at the cover that has a photo of my brother, mother and me sitting on a fireplace hearth so many years ago and I will tell each one of those faces that once again, I am sorry if I am doing the wrong thing.
The universe seems to be teasing me. Big Brothers, Big Sisters never did come pick up the donation. Sometimes you can’t give things away. And one more thing. The first books will be arriving to the first readers by Friday of Memorial Day Weekend.