Life, The Thing That Happens

Last week, my husband lost his job of 25 years, and I was diagnosed with stage two non-alcoholic liver disease, all within 48 hours. Emotionally, I’ve been all over the map for the last seven days. Optimistic one minute, crashed to the bottom of a pit the next. This morning I am definitely in the pit. My husband’s job was one of those new bosses coming in with a big broom and getting rid of old management situations. I saw it coming about six months ago, but I also didn’t. My husband tends to be fairly positive and optimistic, and I’m the cynic in the relationship, but because he thought things would be okay, so did I. We believe what we need to believe in the moment, I suppose.

The liver disease came as more of a shock. I’ve had pain under my ribs for years, but I always thought it was radiating from a vertebrae I have which isn’t quite in alignment with the rest of my back. I don’t drink (I might have four drinks a year, but inevitably it makes my head ache, so I tend to avoid it), don’t smoke, and usually eat a fairly decent diet and get regular exercise. This disease, as it turns out, is probably what killed my aunt (who raised me for the first six years of my life, and whom I have always considered my first real mother). She too didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, but unfortunately did have a great deal of stress in her life. She died of liver cancer, which is where this disease lands if it goes undiagnosed for too long. I did have it all checked out five years ago, and all my tests were clear. Still, I wish I’d gone in earlier—this time I’ve ended up with jaundice and bruising on my abdomen—I didn’t know you could actually bruise from the inside out, but yes, as it turns out, you can.

Either of these things would have sent us for a tailspin. I guess like Wile E. Coyote, we don’t see the anvil poised over our heads until it lands on us. Well, it landed with a thump last week, let me tell you. My husband did nothing wrong and they didn’t even give him a reason for letting him go, they just did it. He gave 25 years of his life to them, and always went above and beyond, including thousands (literally) of unpaid hours for them. Companies all seem the same in this regard these days—they simply have neither heart nor soul. We’re not exactly spring chickens, and he was only three years out from early retirement, so this has been such a blow to him.

I don’t know what the future holds, and while none of us do, currently mine seems completely blank—I can’t see a picture of it at all. I’m struggling to make huge changes to my diet, at a time when we have to cut right back on any and all expenses. Eating well is not cheap, as I’m sure most of you know. All of it feels exhausting, and I find myself truly overwhelmed. Other times I buck up and think of the people in my life who have had far worse things happen to them, and managed to get through it, or at least learn to live with it, despite what must often go on inside of them. In other moments I simply want to get in bed and pull the covers over my head for a few days. I have generalized anxiety, and of course it has shot off the charts this last week, and with my liver, I can no longer take my meds—so I stress about what the crazy anxiety is doing to me physically as well. And yes, I’m exercising, but it’s only taking the edge off right now. I think I’d need to run a marathon before I could bleed of this much anxiety. Stress always turns to anxiety for me, it’s my body’s default setting for a number of reasons, not the least of which is it’s simply how I’m wired chemically speaking.

I’m not sure what all this will mean for my writing as we move forward. I don’t make enough money as a writer to sustain a household—not even close. So I may be looking for outside employment, which will put an end to writing much of anything for a while, I suspect. This is a really hard and bitter pill for me to swallow—writing is like breathing for me, I don’t function all that well when I’m not doing it. Unfortunately, I just have never hit that plateau where the books sell themselves, and I’m coming to grips with the fact it’s not likely I ever will. I’ve always had to advertise, which of course costs money—so at present, ads are something I can no longer sustain either.

I know often people don’t understand this—because the comments are said to my face—but writing is really hard work, which requires laser focus in order to do it well. I never want to put less than my best effort forth, and of course in times like this when my brain feels scattered it’s that much harder. And my self-esteem takes a hit, so I look at the book and think it’s a big horrible mess which will get terrible reviews if it ever sees the light of day.

There’s so much other stuff swirling in my head—it’s quite possible we’ll have to move and I hate that. I love this town, I love living here, my parents are getting older and starting to need more help, my girls are here or nearby, as are my grandbabies. I don’t like cities, and don’t want to live in one. I hate the thought of someone else living in my house, maybe ripping out the trees and roses I’ve spent years growing—it literally hurts my heart just to think of it. The world probably sees my type as a fool—an overly sensitive fool who loves the small things and wants to take care of them. I feel like so many of the people who succeed (in the way we seem hellbent on defining success in the West) are not good people, not kind, and not caring about what or who they destroy. Please note, I did not say ALL people who succeed, but a good number of them these days.

For now, though, I’m going to put my head down—once it stops spinning— and finish Butterflies (book five of the Exit Unicorns series) but until I have a better idea of how things will play out for us financially, I’m not sure I’ll be able to actually produce it for sale come March, or whenever it is done and edited.  I know many of my readers don’t realize that I don’t have a publisher, and therefore any and all expenses for production of anything—physical books, audiobooks, bookmarks, etc comes out of our pocket. So if the money isn’t there, there’s nothing much I can do about it. It might be there by then, but it’s quite possible it won’t be.  I’ll try to let you all know closer to the time, if I’m going to be able to put the book out for sale or not.  It’s not that I wouldn’t make my money back, I would, it’s just whether I can front it at the time.

Fortunately, the book is mostly written and I know working on what’s left will become a place of refuge for me—I love being in their world, because I totally forget about mine when I’m with them. I think I can still finish it by the end of this year, but if I’m not happy with it once it’s done, I will take the time to rework it until I am happy—or as happy as I ever am with my work.

This isn’t a plea for sympathy, by the way. When I’m upset, I tend to write it out, and that’s how I begin to sort it out in my head. Right now, my thoughts keep running in unproductive circles, so this is my attempt to start getting my head in some sort of order and hopefully begin to move forward in a less manic fashion. Also, I’m going to ask you really nicely not to tell me that change can be good, etc. I’m not in a place where I want to hear that right now.

I will find my fighting Irish spirit soon, I’m sure, it’s just taken one too many body blows this last while.

27 thoughts on “Life, The Thing That Happens

  1. Per your request, I won’t tell you that things will get better (even though I truly believe that “everything happens for a reason” and God has great plans for your health and happiness). But I will say that I’ll pray for you; pray that things will work out for the best as far as finances go and that your liver will rejuvenate itself with time and doctors’ care. In the meantime, I’m sure you know what a following you have and how well-loved you are. If it comes down to needing front-money to publish Butterflies, we’ll simply start a go fund me page. I guarantee that will raise enough to publish, and there’ll be no need to repay it.
    Trust, my dear friend, that all will be well!

  2. I’m glad you can use your writing to help You. You give so much to us, your readers, with your words. I am asking St. Brigid to watch over you and Pat, and to send you Strength.

  3. Im so sorry. I love your books and think why dont you have a Publisher and an agent? I think you are a much better storyteller than many writers, and should be better known than you are. Take one day at a time, do your best.

  4. Love and Prayers…for Strength to endure, Hope to fill your heart, and Faith to sustain you through these hard times.

  5. I will be praying for you, your husband and your situations in life. I was anxiously awaiting your book but if it has to be put on “hold”, so be it. Your life and health are much more important. I know you have loads of fans and I know they all with you. Our hearts are with you. Love and peace.

  6. So sorry to hear all of this. But… As they say… When it rains sometimes it pours… I have been through some tough times as well. I remember saying, OK God, enough is enough. You & your husband have each other & your family. That is a true blessing. Somehow, someway, things do work out. I am sending positive thoughts & many prayers your way.

  7. Things do change. At times for the better and sometimes not. The truth is that this too, shall pass. Meanwhile try to enjoy whatever you can find during the day. Every bit of joy you can grab and pull to you will help in the long run. Try to find something positive even if its a huge stretch. Blessings and hugs. And in a half hour a day you can write something. Do what you can when you can and take care of you and your husband.

  8. I am very sorry. It is all unfair and wrong. I do want to offer one pragmatic thing… your husband should seek the guidance of an employment lawyer. I too lost my job after 24 years and I did get myself a lawyer. I was very happy with the results.

  9. So sorry your family is in this difficult place. Thanks for sharing the situation. I will be praying for your health and resolution for your husband. You are a gifted writer and I wish everyone could read your books. May you both have peace and strength to walk through this storm.

  10. Sending you light and love, my dear. And I will definitely contribute to a fund to help publish Butterflies if you need it, or anything else. I will keep you in my thoughts.

  11. Either one of these events would be devastating, so I’m so very sorry to hear this disturbing news. I’m sending my encouragement and very best wishes as you both work through these issues as well as my fervent prayers for your well-being. Love you and your books, but take care of yourself first.

  12. I have no words to properly convey my feelings at this moment. I wish you strength and moments of peace to guide you. There is so much to say but none of it seems complete in my mind much less my words.

  13. Cindy. I am sorry for your troubles. As Mary stated above, your fans will support you. GoFundme or whatever is needed will be given freely to assist you. You truly have a gift. Best wishes and prayers.. Margaret Cook

  14. I love your books! You are a wonderful writer and I can’t believe you don’t have a publisher! I hope that you find a way to continue, you have a gift. I’m sending love and healing energy your way! Hang in there! ❤️

  15. Cindy, I am so sorry to hear your news. Devastating on all fronts. As much as I
    Personally would mourn you not finishing your heart books, I certainly understand.
    I am sure most of your readers, myself first, would help fund you being able to
    publish Buttterflies. Good blessing on your family as you navigate through this.
    Love and hugs
    Karen Hill

  16. OMG!! Talk about a double whammy! You are in my prayers. Maybe meditation would help? I don’t know how I would feel if I weren’t able to take my meds for anxiety ! Don’t worry about life decisions just yet. Breathe and take one day at a time. Focus on the positive Maybe it will end up being good that your husband has to find new employment. And you discovered your liver illness early on ; this has to be positive. I know all of us followers will be thinking of you and sending positive feelings and Angels your way! I’m glad you let us know. Patty

  17. As one who has been fighting the return of my Breast Cancer 3 years ago I have some idea how you feel. It’s very frightening to not know what the future holds and how much time I have left to spend with my family. It’s very much an emotional roller coaster. Some days I feel strong and tell myself that I going to fight the disease as hard and long as I can and there are other days that I just want to cry thinking about how I won’t be around long enough to see my children get married and have grand babies. But I’m thankful for the life I’ve had, for my family and friends, and for the adventures I’ve taken.
    I started reading your books when the cancer returned and they helped me escape. I often worried that I would not live to see the last book but I believe I’ll still be around to read it whenever it gets published.
    Stay strong, take one day at a time, and know that there are many people out here wishing you well and praying for you

    • I’m so sorry that you’re having to battle with cancer for a second time, Claudia. I know life is random in how it dishes things out but it stills feels unfair and exhausting at times. I will keep you in my prayers. I am truly glad to know the books helped you escape a little during such a rough time. Honestly, for me that’s one of the biggest blessings of my writing life- knowing that Pamela and company can give people a little escape when life just gets too real. Hugs to you.

  18. Will be praying for you and your family. Your books are my very favorite. Can’t believe that publishers aren’t lined up trying to get your business. Wishing you the strength to withstand this crisis.

  19. Breathe, just breathe. We are praying for you. I will buy a complete set of books and give them to a friend. Write a short story/book of what you are going through. That helps with two problems. I had a husband quit his job and then as soon as possible retired. I now have to work until I am 67 to make up the money deficit and have insurance. That definitely took some adjusting. As far as the cancer goes, call there American Cancer Society, now. They took my calls at 2:00 AM. They are wonderful. They are family. Reading a book about someone going through the same thing would have been wonderful.

  20. Prayers of strength, comfort, healing, as well as light, love, luck and laughter are going up to the Heavens for you and your family! And yes, keep us posted on the publishing…the fan-world will help with a go fund me page!

  21. Cindy, I am so sorry. Hugs to you and prayers (they do help) for comfort, peace and direction. I completely understand about your house and trees and roses. I feel exactly the same way. And don’t give up on the writing. If it’s in your head, get it written and then see. A blessing may be just around the corner. But do take care of yourself. Your health must come first.

  22. This hurts my heart so much because you are so talented and truly one of the most gifted writers I have read. I know it’s hard and it sucks right now but use that energy for something positive as the most beautiful things can grow from tragedy. Just ask Pamela 😉

  23. Wow Cindy, you have a lot on your plate. Thank you for sharing your feelings out here so that we share them with you. I have often thought that I would love to write, but never felt I had a story in me just waiting to jump out – – you have described being an author in a way that makes me understand that it isn’t a matter of just sitting down and writing, and I think that is so important for readers to know!

    Many good thoughts and prayers for you and your family right now. I join with others here in saying that I’d be willing to join in a Go Fund Me – I just checked your Facebook page and saw that you have over 8600 fans there. I have no idea what the costs to publish and distribute a book might be, but please know that your loyal fans want to help you in any way we can. I fell in love with your books! You have a wonderful gift for storytelling, and your writing is simply beautiful. What are the chances that you might be able to do a presale on Amazon once you are able to get the book into the form you want it to be? Sign me up!

    • Thank you, Sheila for your kind words. I usually do set my books up for pre-sale on Amazon, but I don’t get paid for that until a couple of months later- that’s just how the payment cycle works. I think it should all be fine though. Right now, I’m just worried about actually getting the book finished on time. 🙂 Thanks again for the offer of support, it means a great deal to me to have such wonderful readers.

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