It’s my stop on the blog tour for Amanda Brooke’s newest release, The Child’s Secret, today. I am honoured to be sharing Amanda’s extremely heartfelt guest post with you all.
(by Amanda Brooke)
I’ve always enjoyed being creative but like the rest of my family, I preferred wielding a paint brush rather than a pen. It was only when I was faced with the unthinkable, when my little boy was diagnosed with a disease that would take him from me two years later that I began to write.
Within days of discovering Nathan had a rare form of leukaemia, I was searching on line for answers about what the future might hold for us. I found many stories from parents who were going through a similar experience but it was the poems they shared that resonated most of all. While I could contrast and compare someone else’s story to my own and wonder if my family would face the same journey as they had, it was when I read other people’s poetry that I thought, yes, that’s exactly how I feel. And when I couldn’t find a poem that quite reflected what I was going through at a particular point in time, that’s when I started writing my own.
Writing a poem might seem like a completely different discipline to tackling a full length novel, but for me, poetry was a gentle introduction to creative writing and helped build my confidence. A novel will take many months if not years but a poem can be jotted down in no time at all and at that time it served a purpose. I was using poetry to express how I felt and it helped me understand my own feelings. When I shared the poems with family and friends, it helped them understand too and was probably far better than someone simply asking how I was – to which my usual response would be the same as my son’s, who always said, ‘I’m fine.’
Looking back, writing poetry was cathartic and not only helped me cope with my grief after losing Nathan, but also helped others work out what to do for the best. It’s often difficult to know what to do or say for the best with a bereaved parent and I hope my poems helped put family and friends at ease. It was a subtle way to let them know that it was alright to talk about Nathan, even if I did get upset. It was so much better than everyone carrying on as if he had never existed for fear of mentioning his name.
Writing has transformed my life and while it hasn’t been a perfect cure for my grief, it has undoubtedly helped. I’m currently writing two novels a year, and unsurprisingly, it’s been a while since I wrote a poem. I’m not sure what I would write about even if I did had time. I’ve learnt to live with the emotions that once overwhelmed me, so it’s some comfort that I don’t feel that need anymore. I’d like to hope that the next time I do feel that yearning it will be celebrate some of the many positives in my life or those yet to come.