38: A Call to Action

38: A Call to Action

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Grieving and Recovery

A Call to Action

Action is eloquence.

~William Shakespeare

Two framed birthday cards hang on the wall in my office. I often glance up at them and smile because they guided me back to a path I’d wandered from and helped me heal.

I’m a writer. I have been since the late 1980s when my dad was alive. He was the guy who always cheered me on. Even when an editor didn’t think my work was worthy, Dad always did.

So what happens when a loved one dies and he or she is the person who’s so closely connected with another one of the loves of your life?

If you’re me, you quit writing. You think it’s a bad case of writer’s block and that within a couple of months, you’ll be back at the keyboards.

However, a year goes by and then two, then those years turn into five. You get to the point where you say, “I was a writer... once.” It was fun but it’s in my past, now it’s time to move on.

Loved ones have beautiful ways of sending you a message even after they’re gone. It’s their subtle way of nudging you back to what you love and what you need to be doing with your life.

Mine came in the form of two old birthday cards I stumbled upon, both of them sent to me from Dad. One said “Happy Writing,” the other, “Write a good book.”

I sat down holding them in my hands. Did he know I was struggling? Was he watching me every time I sat down to write and cried when the words would no longer flow? Did he sense that I’d given up on my dream when he died? Were these cards a way for him to be by my side each time I wrote?

Deep in my heart, I knew the cards were my way back and I needed to preserve them. I had them framed. I put the frame on the wall and sat looking at it. Each time I put my hands on the keyboard, I’d glance up at those cards and read Dad’s words out loud. He was still cheering me on.

It worked because since I found those two cards, I’ve had four novels published.

We all grieve. We all have our own unique timetable for healing.

While our loved ones don’t want us to ever forget them, they don’t want us to grieve forever. Also, they never want us to give up our dreams.

If you look hard enough, they’ll send you a subtle sign letting you know it’s time to stop your grieving and do something that will make them smile. Achieve something you know would have made them proud.

I was obviously meant to keep those cards even before my dad died, so I could rediscover them at a time I needed to find the path back to my dreams.

Each day I write I can see him smiling. For me, there’s no better way to honor a dead person’s memory than fulfilling a dream you both shared.

Thank you Dad. I’m a writer again.

~Susan Palmquist

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