I Didn’t Want To Write Today

I didn’t want to write today.

Yet here I am, tentatively tapping at the keyboard. Feeling my way into the next sentence, fumbling through another paragraph. The words come, they always do. A hesitant trickle at first, before I relax and they flow freely. And when they flow freely, then I am free as well. From the past, from the voices that claw at my ever fragile mind. I didn’t want to write today. I had to write today.

I lost my father nine years ago today. To prostate cancer. I remember sitting in a waiting room at the hospital, as a brutish consultant dispassionately informed us there was no hope. I’ll never forget that man. He might as well have been telling us the weather forecast for the week ahead. The words meant nothing to him, yet their impact shattered us. Nothing would ever be the same again.

I rose that day. There was a funeral to arrange and I was the only son, the eldest child, the one of whom strength and courage were expected. So I donned the mask and played the role to a packed auditorium. I was the centre of attention and, sick though it may sound, part of me revelled in it. Though surrounded by death, this was my lifeline. I clung to it for all I was worth.

I revelled, but then unraveled. The bottom of a pint glass became my harbour from the storm. A temporary respite, however, for when I lifted my groggy head above the parapet, the wind and rain lashed more furiously than ever. I was adrift, askew, a mess. I struck out for shore, my compass spinning, floundering, sinking. Constant drinking. Until the day, I said no more. Until the day I stopped.

I’m battered today. Battered by sickness which has reared its ugly head again when I thought I’d shrugged it aside. Fretting over immaterial matters. Matters that don’t really matter. Marathons that aren’t being run. Books that aren’t being written. Six years ago they would have buzzed and niggled until I cracked open a beer and shooed them from my mind. But now, I write.

Battered but blessed. Looking ahead, clear headed and driven. The glass is half full these days, the wallowing no more. I want to make my father proud of me and, more than that, I want to make those still here proud. My wife and children, my friends and anyone else whose life I touch. I’ll visit my past and learn from it, grow, but no longer be held prisoner by it.

No longer consumed, obsessed, possessed. Still stressed. That is me. But blessed. Blessed that these words pour from my pen, from my soul. There’s hope, always hope. If you take nothing else away from this post, I hope you take hope. Hope that there are better times ahead, times you deserve, times which will reveal the real you, the true you, for all the world to see. Is that so hard to believe? For belief costs nothing?

Why do you write?

What do words mean to you?

Are you battered, blessed or both?

42 thoughts on “I Didn’t Want To Write Today

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  1. Thank you for sharing your pain and your soul with us. How blessed are we of your reminder to see the blessings that remain in our lives as we battle our grief. There is growth through grief and your example to others is a light that will shine on. A wonderful message we must not forget.

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  2. Such powerful words!

    I am so sorry for you loss! I realize, even nine years have passed, you still miss him. However, he is there, guiding you.

    The way you changed your outlook on life and its dealing, is commendable! Not many can say (and do) what you are saying (and actually doing).
    The stress will always be there like you have mentioned above, but the determination to care for loved ones around you, over focusing inwardly on the self, and over wallowing in self-pity and despair, shows a resilient spirit. Nothing will break you. You are stronger than circumstances and past mistakes.

    I truly loved this post. Thank you for writing and sharing. And hey, that book is going to get published one way or another! How could it not be?? Look at how you write! Look at those words skillfully spun together to make a stunningly beautiful tapestry of raw stories weaved into… the most beautiful colours of ‘hope’!

    Hang in there creative friend! You are like no other. And we see it in your words.

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      1. Thought of you today when over lunch with a ‘book narrator’. Another friend at the table asked her if she could a Northern Ireland accent!

        In terms of the café, I’m still idle, and my spot (right on the fence) is looking more like a permanent one everyday!
        But if I ever do ‘jump’, it would be lovely to have you do a reading 🙂
        One never knows 🙂

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  3. Bless you for changing what this day means for you.

    I remember in detail the moments surrounding the notification of my father’s death (suddenly, no warning). It never leaves you, even when it’s done compassionately. It’s unfortunate that the person delivering your devastating news didn’t have the empathy you deserved.

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  4. Thank you for choosing to no longer drown your words, but rather to make your voice heard. To share your pains, your hopes, your healing is a balm for many. Congratulations on overcoming. And for finding the place where you can thrive, grow, learn and love. Life is precious, especially for those who share from the heart.

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  5. I’m sorry to read what you wrote, and commend you for turning it around. Tossing you heart and pain out here is a courageous thing to do. What I’ve found is when you do that, it tends to take the power out of the hurt and pain away. It’s when we hoard it like a miser that we’re in trouble. Hang in there, Brother.

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  6. I’m sorry … a rough day for you. I hope you’re getting better now with antibiotics? I’ve missed your posts. The death of a parent is … I don’t know even how to describe the grief, regret and overwhelming sadness. Sending you hugs.

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  7. In Dutch there is a phrase that is best translated as “I wish you strength.” My friend, I wish you strength. Loss is hard. Addiction is brutal. But God is big and he loves us through it all. 💙

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  8. I write because it eases my mind. It let my feelings flow easily and it makes me feel a sense of relief. I find that I can let my pain or joy or whatever flow from my heart through my words where I hope it some form it helps someone else. By the way, so sorry for your loss. God Bless you.

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  9. Why do I write today? Because it quiets the noise in my head. I love to write and write I shall.
    it is very therapeutic if I may add my own opinion. I think more people should try it.

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  10. I am sorry for your loss, Stephen.
    I don’t always have words…I can’t always write. It does not come easy to me.
    I hope you are feeling better!
    I apologize for being behind on blogs. I am trying to catch up this evening.
    Take care.

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