Dawn Davis Allen
The Pause before Progress
Writing has always been my panacea. No matter where life took me, writing could always soften the course, ease the journey, and calm the storms around me.
Then, I stopped.
My life froze when my father turned 80. A strong 6'4" man of farm stock who worked two jobs my entire life until he retired from GM, my dad's life ended.
This January he'll turn 90. He doesn't know this. He doesn't recognize food or understand it's purpose in his existence. My mom lost her life partner in a ferocious evacuation process that no one grasps until they've lived through it. The horror of Alzheimer's Disease is not a punch line. It's not a joke. It's a serious assault on a family and strikes with the insidiousness of a snake in the grass.
My life stopped forward momentum as I juggled the role of caregiver to both parents. The battle to protect my dad and the stress levels it induced literally made my mom sick. She was diagnosed with cancer halfway through the battle for Dad's care and protection. Now, I had two parents in a vulnerable position, and I lived in another state. I stopped.
Writing was no longer my companion on the journey, depression was. I struggled with every aspect of my life. On paper I was living my dream. My goal had always been to teach writing to college students, and I was there. After years in a city, I'd found a peace and calm in a rural community where my dogs could roam, and I could follow my passions.
Passion is funny though. In times of great stress, overwhelming pain, and physical and emotion exhaustion, it wanes, evaporates like a wisp of heat in cold air. I feared that it was gone for good. This love of writing and need to tell stories had stopped, like I had, for good.
Next week I attend a writing conference for the first time in many years. It's one I've long wanted to attend. The question on my mind is with both parents now in safe and caring places where there needs are met, will my stop become a pause? This is what I hope for that the last nine years have merely been a pause before progress can be made.
I stopped. Now, I see if my full stop fades into a pause.