I have a way of writing my way through hard times. I wrote jokes for Joan Rivers as my young daughter went through three years of surgery, chemo and radiation. She died. I continued to write. I wrote a moving book called, Laurie, One of the Lucky Ones. After her death, I changed the title to Laurie, A Mother’s Story. I met a grief counselor who suggested that I write letters to her. That became Letters To Laurie. Fortunately I no longer have copies of those beginning books.

Now I was not only writing comedy, I was walking the spiritual path. I had a teacher that breathed fire at his students. That didn’t bother me a great deal; it was nothing compared to the death of a child. I was learning to walk through the Children’s Department and not flinch too much as I saw the color pink. I threw myself into awakening like there was no tomorrow. I didn’t change much.

The first years without Laurie were hard ones, indeed. I had to deal with the unexpressed grief of my son, my husband’s workaholic solution to grief and my own increasing isolation from society. A saving grace for me was a Bichon Frise puppy that we got five weeks after our daughter died.

We moved across town to a new house. That house is now 32 years old. The dog got hit by a car and we got a new puppy. She lived to be over 16. We had her put down while Bob was dying of his cancer. During these years I put one foot in front of the other. I left my teacher’s group when Bob was diagnosed. It was just too far to travel. My life was one big windshield and I was a tiny bug. Life being fair was out of the question. It was not even stormy. It was a tsunami in which I built a life raft out of the teachings and began writing essays as the waves pounded at it with fury.

Then the great silence began. I have experienced 7 years of it now. It is not always pleasant but it is genuine. I have won my freedom. Did it the hard way. Hung in there. Kept the faith. Learned to know myself. Learned to know simplicity and grace are the same thing.

I almost took a vacation and then realized that I am now on vacation every day. The waters are still. I have published 2 books. I am now what I would call a real writer. I know when to begin and when to end. Essays, that is. I have a GPS that shows me how to get to the blank screen and let my fingers do the talking. I hope that some of you are listening.

Vicki Woodyard

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