I opened the box with trepidation. I could feel my heart pounding so fast in my chest that my head was spinning and my vision blurred. My blood pressure must have shot up at the instant I started cutting the tape. Nervous? You bet. I wasn’t this scared when I had my first date as a widow. I really didn’t care about my first date. It was just something to do.
On the other hand this box contained my life. It held my heart. It was filled with my memories and packed with hope for my future. Such a small box to contain so much. I looked at the box in awe. OK, breathe deep. I was talking to myself. Not out loud so anyone could hear me, more of a mind whisper.
The last cut of tape and the cardboard flaps popped up, becokening me. I dug through the thick paper crumpled around the sides of the box and reached under the bubble wrap. My hand finally felt what was hiding from me in all the wrappings. Cool and slick to the touch. I ran my hand over it and then grabbed a corner and pulled it out of the packing material. My book. Actually ten copies of my book. The result of twenty-three months of work. I count each month of my writing as I count each month since my husband died. Twenty-three. It won’t be two years until May.
The book looks exactly as I wanted. What surprised me was its feel, slick to the touch. A paperback book with a cover that felt almost sensual. Perhaps I was expecting a matte finish, I don’t know. The feel of my book gave me pleasure as I touched it. I caressed the cover like a lover caressing someone for the first time. Tender, gently, in awe of the beauty at my fingertips. I held it up to my face and rested my cheek on it. Then I slowly opened the book and ran my fingers through its pages. Mine. Already a possessive lover I didn’t want to let go of my book. But my book is now out there. You can find it on Amazon.
The cover is the fabulous dress one would wear to entice. Designed by someone else, but worn by me. Underneath the slick finish is the soul of the book, my story. When the beautiful covering comes off what will the body be like? That is a frightening thought. Like being naked for the first time with a new lover. I will stand there exposed. My book is my memoir on my first year as a widow. I am baring it all, and then more. How I chose to deal with grief might not appeal to some and others may not like my writing style. The excitement I felt at completing my book is now replaced with a bit of nausea, as I am petrified with the moment of truth. Will I pass muster? Be accepted? Asked out again? Or will the light be unkind to me, my flaws overcoming the heart that is open and vulnerable.
Fear. How it can paralyze you. I look back over my last 23 months. I had to face the greatest fear of all, the loss of my mate. From a place of darkness I came to a place of light. My book is not one of grief but one of finding joy again. I almost forgot that was the reason to write in the first place. To show you can move forward, recreate yourself and find meaning again.
The cover is amazing and the story is real. It is me. Some will like me and some won’t. Isn’t that the way in life with everyone you meet? You open up, expose yourself and see if there is a connection. If a friend is made. I did not start out as a writer but the loss of my husband made me write. The process has brought me some amazing friends. Suck it up, I tell myself. I admit in my book it is finally a relief to realize I didn't have to like everyone and they don't have to like me. A pleaser finally letting go of that baggage.
I’m smiling. The excitement is building. I have written a book. I have completed my mission. I have made a new life. For now that is the best reason I can think of to celebrate. My biggest fear of standing still with grief is gone. I think any other fear is small in comparison.