When Things Get Back to Normal

When Things Get Back to Normal by M.T. Dohaney

Book: When Things Get Back to Normal by M.T. Dohaney Read Free Book Online
Authors: M.T. Dohaney
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every store before anyone could get a chance to purchase them. Only the cost factor prohibited me from proceeding with this method of keeping the book out of customers’ hands.
    I not only had no intention of publishing the journal, I had no intention of even keeping one. This came about by pure happenstance. Anne, a writer friend of mine, brought the journal to me when she came to visit me a few days after my husband’s funeral. She said I should put my sorrow on paper. She was certain this act of writing would help me immensely. It would be cathartic, she said.
    To me, her suggestion sounded ludicrous. But of courseI didn’t tell her so, and not merely out of politeness. My reticence was also caused by the lack of energy that comes from grief, the shock of sudden death and the job of tidying up the loose ends that the dead leave behind for the living. I thought her suggestion was ludicrous because I knew beyond a doubt that nothing could help me, certainly nothing as simple and as undemanding as scribbling a few thoughts on paper. I merely thanked her for her thoughtfulness and laid the journal aside.
    A few nights later, while prowling through my house, my nerves raw from the silence of the rooms and from the always startling cutting in and out of the refrigerator motor, I picked up the journal and began scribbling a few thoughts in it. It was a last ditch-effort to quiet my nerves. Before I knew it, morning had broken. From that point onwards, I wrote down my thoughts and catalogued the meaningful happenings of my days. I found great solace in doing this. I could express my pain, my anger, my fear, my uncertainties without running the risk of having others think ill of me, without selfishly passing on to others what was clearly my own cross to bear.
    I continued writing in my journal throughout the year, and by the time the anniversary date came around, not only was the journal filled, but I found I had no more need of this exercise. The
firsts
were all behind me – first snow, first spring, first birthday and so on – and I was by this time well into the process of mending. I stowed the journal away with the sympathy cards and letters I had received during the year.
    It would have remained in this box had not another friend told a friend of hers about me and my journal keeping. This person was working on a segment on grief for the local CBC radio station. She asked me if I would share my writings. I was horrified. Of course not! I said all the things that I mentioned at the beginning of this Afterword – it was too personal, too dull, etc. She persisted. And persisted. Finally, I relented and agreed to read a five-minute section of it on her program. Immediately after my reading, which was also the end of the program, she came back into the studio. She had a certain look on her face which I misinterpreted as regret for having asked me to read. I hotly defended myself before she had a chance to say anything. “I told you it would be boring,” I said. “But you insisted, against my better judgement.”
    Then she told me that she was astounded by the response to the reading. The studio switchboard, she said was lit up with calls asking where the journal could be purchased. My own telephone also rang non-stop all evening. This confirmed for me what I already knew from the bereavement groups I had attended: the loss of a loved one through death brings about deep and long-lasting pain, and we have a great need to share these feelings of loss and pain with kindred others.
    From this point and with a willing publisher, I was easily persuaded to have the journal go forth as the book
When Things Get Back to Normal.
Only later, when I was two years a widow and had struggled over the highest hump of grief,did it appear in the bookstores, and I was conflicted over my decision to have it made public. The part of me that was still wounded wanted to share my journey with those others who were still

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