Well, I told you I'd get back to you a bit more about my writing. If you read some of my recent posts, you've seen that writing Christmas stories to enter into contests was what distracted me from my blog writing. But writing those stories to send to contest also did something more...writing helped me to deal with losing my precious baby.
I think I told you that I had gone to a 'write-in' to try to write a Christmas story. I remember really struggling with this. I had cried to my husband a few days before saying, "I can't wait to start writing again. Then I can make the story end how I want...with a happy ending. With a woman who doesn't lose her baby." I feel so awful that I said this. I know things happen to us for a reason, no matter how difficult it is to understand. I guess that doesn't mean that we still won't think and say stupid things. I guess in my pain I had to try to regain control over something. From the moment I learned that our baby had a fatal diagnosis, through the 5 days of total uncertainty, to learning that he had died so quickly, I had lost all control. I guess I never had any to begin with. But when you write, you create the world, the characters and everything that happens to them--good or bad. How can a woman who just lost a baby not want to regain some control?
So I carried a lot of these thoughts with me when I sat down to write that night in my little spiral notebook. I also struggled with finding a happy ending. When you think of Christmas stories, they typically all end happily--whether they are secular or religious. Even if there is some sadness in the story, things wrap up on a joyful note. I stared at my notebook that night. How could I even come up with a happy ending when I had felt so gloomy for weeks? I toyed with lots of ideas but nothing came to me. Happy ending...happy ending...where was there a happy ending for me to write about??
That's when, as I wrote in my previous post, I just started describing myself putting up Christmas decorations. I figured I had to start somewhere, so why not start writing about myself? It's amazing how writing anything can lead you to where you were meant to go all along. It was like I was offering myself a gift that I desperately needed--the gift of hope. That was my 'happy ending'. It wasn't specific but it was something to hold on to and that was enough.
The story I wrote that night was called, "Jacob's Star." A week prior I heard those words in my head but I had no idea what to do with them. I liked the idea of having my baby's name in the story and something about a star...later that week Sammy (my 5 year old) had asked about wishing on a star. That was it. My mind played with the two ideas, threw in heaps of my pain and fast-forwarded my D&C to right before Christmas. I played with the idea of experiencing something so painful right during a time of joy and peace. How would a woman...a mother get through the holiday having just lost her baby especially when she had two young children who needed to feel the joy of Christmas?
Out of these ideas and questions came my story. My main character found hope at the end of the story. It's that hope that I've been trying to hold on to myself. It's also this hope that I've hoped has touched readers in the two different states where different versions of my story were printed. The comments I heard back from the judges just lifted me to a state of non-stop smiling. I am still feel blown away every time I think about how my story won. I am just so thankful. Of all stories for me to write and submit, this story was the most important to me.
Could it possible that writing this story wasn't just for me, but also perhaps for someone else out there wondering where their happy ending was? I've been thinking a lot since winning the contests. Could Jacob's death have been for more reasons than we'd ever know...even possibly to touch someone else in some way? What if we are all so tightly linked in this world that everything that happens to us can be linked to someone else--to help them in some way, to motivate them, to lift them up when times are dreary. Perhaps all we have to do is to look, to share, to help. Perhaps that's what we're supposed to do. I had so many women share with me on Facebook that they, too, had lost a baby. I felt so comforted by this--I wasn't alone. Others knew of my pain.
Writing "Jacob's Star" was right for me at this time in my life. I have had so many different feelings building that I had to do something with. Why not write them down and try to find something positive to move forward with? And for me, the best news....why not share this story with others and let them find something positive too? I've been so blessed with this story's printing as a first place winner. I'll never know exactly how many people have read it (or will stumble on it online in the future). I'll never know if or how it's touched people. All I can do is to be thankful for the opportunity to share my grief with the world and to hope that it has reached someone out there. I am truly thankful for how this story has been read by others. If anyone has not read it (through my Facebook links) and would like to in the future, please let me know and I can post a link.
So, stars and hope. It looks like I've been drawn to stars this year. To me, the Christmas Star, the one that the wise men followed, represents the hope that God sent us so long ago. I've always loved looking at the stars. Now I have just one more reason to love looking up. Maybe someday just as my character did in my story, I'll see "Jacob's Star" for real. If not, just knowing my baby's up in Heaven means I have my very own star, "Momma's Little Star". How I love my little star!
To my Jacob, Merry Christmas Sweetheart! Know that your short life here on earth has touched your momma and others in more ways than you will ever know. Thank you for being my inspiration to write again. Know that I can't wait for the day when I'll hold you in my arms. I'll cover you with kisses and tears of joy. Know that when I cry now, I cry tears that are lighter...full of hope and full of loving thoughts of you.
Wishing all of my friends hope as we enter into the new year!