My 2009 had so many ups and downs I am dizzy just rethinking it. There were some incredibly joyous times that stand out. My son’s college graduation, my stepson’s wedding, finishing and having published Replacement Child–the book that I had always wanted to write. The financial meltdown was no fun for anyone.
But my most intense sadness came this summer when my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer and died quickly, in less than two weeks. It was a shock to us all. Her daughters and I watched in disbelief as her condition went swiftly from bad to worse. It was impossible to grasp that she had to be intubated shortly after being admitted to the hospital. And, then the final moments when something went wrong as they cleared her airway and she gasped for breath were unbearable. She died as I was in the midst of the last edit of Replacement Child, and choosing the cover art. Gratefully, I thought to bring those mock-ups to the hospital and my sister pointed immediately to the one that now graces the front cover of the book.
Since then, I have busied myself with a book tour and promotion and learning the ropes of the new world of a published author. The nuances of book marketing sometimes make me absolutely nauseous–knowing there is something always left undone, more to do, more to learn. I know that the tumult I created was mostly to help me deal with the hole in my heart. Sometimes I just wanted everyone to stop breathing to mourn my big sister. And, at times it still enrages me how we all go on without her. I won’t make a resolution to be over this grief, I believe that is here with me for the long haul. But, there are things I do want to get on with.
That brings me to my Top Ten Resolutions for 2010:
1. Clean my damn office. I know I lost a terrific idea, and a Ring Ding, under the stack of papers on my desk.
2. Embrace the marketing of Replacement Child as a second job. (You think it’s easy? It’s not!)
3. Start a new writing project. That does not include “thinking” about starting a new project, or “researching new ideas” or “brainstorming with colleagues.” It only counts to put my butt in my desk chair and start writing again 4 hours a day.
4. Get comfortable with the fact that my 21-year-old son no longer lives in my home. You’d think I’d get that when he moved all his clothes, his bike and changed his mailing address–but I still kind of expect him home for dinner. He is not coming–he lives in another state! Get over it!
5. Diet and exercise are a given. Start over, be diligent, lift more weights, eat less bread. (Ok, maybe I have to cut out the M&M’s too.)
6. RE: #5, plan more active recreational activities and drag my husband along to keep him in shape too. Nothing strenuous–but some walking and bike riding in good weather couldn’t hurt.
7. Learn some new songs to play on my guitar, and keep playing the old ones. The new ones aren’t really as good.
8. Try writing songs again, even if they all sound the same.
9. Take more time with my good friends. We really don’t know how much time we have to be together.
10. Make sure my loved ones always know they are loved deeply by me and appreciated for just being themselves.