On this Mother’s Day, I’m doing something very brave for me. I am sharing OUT LOUD a very painful time in my life. How my sister mothered my children when I couldn’t.
How is that brave? Because I find it SO hard to cry in front of people, to let down my guard and bare my soul. It’s far easier for me to be funny than to dig deep and be serious. Always has been. Even writing about sad things is difficult and on the odd occasion that I’ve written about those days when my husband John was dying of Crohn’s Disease I usually sobbed over the keyboard. I couldn’t imagine speaking about it out loud. So, naturally, whenever there was an audition for the chance for me to read one of my stories in front of a group, I always took the easy way and wrote a humorous one.
However, not this time. When Jennifer Scharf of Inside Voice asked for Mother’s Day pieces, I found myself thinking it was time for a change. John’s death was 20 years ago. Time to be brave. So, my heart thumping, I unearthed a piece I wrote two years ago and tweaked it. Then to prepare myself for the recording session, I read it out loud, over 20 times, to my dog Poppy. The first time I couldn’t get past the initial sentence without crying. Poppy, lying on her mat beside me, was the perfect audience as she had no reaction other than to sleep peacefully at my side.
Then Thursday, podcast recording day, arrived and I did final preparations, steeling myself by reading the piece over again an additional 10 times. When 1:00 came, I thought I was ready. However, just to be sure, I gave Jennifer a heads up that I might cry and need to stop. She assured me that was fine and we launched into the recording.
My nails digging into my palms to distract me from the sentiment behind the words, I managed to get to the very last two sentences before breaking down. I asked to stop and Jennifer came back on and, her voice breaking, she assured me it was fine to stop. I steeled myself and tried again. Nope. My throat closed and we had to stop. Big deep breaths, and I barreled through it. Nope. We agreed the reading was completely lifeless and stiff. So, on third attempt I managed it.
To listen to the podcast and the wonderful pieces of the other brave writers who answered the call, simply click on this Mother’s Day Special on Inside Voice. My piece begins at 20 minutes, 50 seconds in.
Thank you again, Jennifer Scharf, for being so supportive and for enabling me to do this.