Writing about death

So, from Wednesday my family has been taking up the challenge to love and assist my dear 95 year old mother-in-law, who is still working, crocheting baby hats and blankets for volunteer groups, savvy, funny, alert and beloved, to pass over to join her deceased family. In our crazy world, there doesn’t seem to be time or provision for a meaningful death … a death with dignity. Her diagnosis is Aortic Dissection wherein her Aorta is shredding apart. (You may remember John Ritter , Three’s Company, died from this.) At 95 any type of surgery, anesthesia is out of the question.

It got me thinking about how many of you ever include death in your stories? Or perhaps find it uncomfortable to read a story that somehow addresses this important part of life?

In my story, A Path Through the Garden, I talk about this transition and how the main characters must face this challenge with love and compassion. As a Holistic Nurse, I included information within the story about this profound transition, end of life care and introduced the concept of Golden Rooms. And here might be an example of a strictly romance genre story vs Women’s Fiction. In a romance there MUST be a Happy Ever After ending. Women’s Fiction on the other hand can have a Happy Ever After, but also address other less than happy events women face with strength and compassion in their lives. Sometimes this is a Happy For Now ending where the story conflict involves life and death and how it affects the characters.

Also, in this story, I created the character “Henrietta” who is my mother-in-law. Here is where as writers it would be fabulous to be able to rewrite life as easily as writing words on a page.

Our challenge continues though we’ve been advised we only have days left with her. Ahhh, the writing life provides another level with which we experience our everyday lives, heartbreaks, and life challenges.

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