Five of us are reading and writing about health and healing, hospitals, and being or interacting with health professionals.
Let me just say that these are difficult subjects to wrap plain old words around.
Even though we are total strangers, we have been asked to access some of our most painful memories and to reflect on deeply personal experiences...to write about them, to share them, and to brace ourselves for feedback.
The women who are sharing their stories with me deserve a round of applause, I think. It takes raw courage, immense effort, and deep introspection to plumb the depth of experiences like these.
One of us is writing about her brother's losing battle against alcoholism.
One of us was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 32, when her children were too little to understand. She has battled two recurrences already. Another woman was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and reflects on what she knows will be her fate. She worked in hospice for many years, and also watched her mother-in-law waste away from the disease...so she knows.
Another of us is a brain trauma research specialist who writes about her sister's addiction to prescription pain killers following uncomplicated back surgery.
These are familiar scenarios...and yet every story is unique, compelling, and hard to tell. Very hard to tell.
Is there a painful episode from your life that you haven't shared? Something you can't put into words? Something you just can't get off your mind?
My brother's story and the questions it raises have haunted me for years. I need to tell it so that other children can be spared his heartache.
Surely someone needs to hear your story. How can you say, "No," to them?
“Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts.
You need to start somewhere.”
Three weeks and counting until we take off for Tanzania...among other things!