How ironic is this timing? It’s a 4th. of July kind of time for me, too (Independence Day to kick off the Grandpa and the Truck series!)
This is my 311th. post on this blog…310 have predated this one, times I shared my thoughts on a host of issues.
I started this blog at a fairly hopeless point, in a life buffeted by crises (I’m not being melodramatic—just real.) And I did it for purely selfish reasons—I desperately needed to find anything positive to hold onto.
My mate of 20 years, the guy who stood by me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer (that’s when he moved in, in direct contrast to others who leave during crises) had just been struck on a mountain road eight miles north of Asheville, North Carolina.
End-result? He suffered a broken neck, went into ICU after choking, and “died” in a Code Blue at the hospital a day later. Hospital staff resuscitated him but he was a mess. So was I.
It started out idyllic enough on that Sunday in sleepy Weaverville, NC, a morning I met three women friends for brunch. In the midst of our howlingly-funny anecdotes, I got the call—my husband had been removed from his little Sebring by the jaws of life and taken to the hospital.
Over the next days, he endured a 9-hour operation, then he suffered an anoxic period, bringing on his “death,” where no oxygen went to his brain. After doctors brought him back, he went to ICU, where he was kept sedated, on a diet of propofol.
When he finally came to, I noted the drastic change: The man who’d been leader of his National Guard Unit, the one who jogged five times a week and entered 5k races in his late 60’s, became a fog-bound shadow of his former self. Gone was the funny swagger…the witty commentary…the humorous anecdotes.
Over the next 18 months, we clawed our way back to some semblance of normalcy, following a regimen of my bringing him to four-times-a-week physical therapy sessions and visits to specialists.
That summer was an awful one as we clung together, barely limping along. It was then that I did what I’ve done in the past—tried to glean purpose out of what happened.
In 3-times-a-week posts on my newly-formed blog, I forced myself to focus on the positive in life (a Blog of Encouragement), whether in other people who serve our human family or by just considering a different perspective on what transpired in my own life. In other words, I refused to wallow in negativity.
The amazing thing about all this? That forced focus opened other channels.
Now, 310 posts later, I’m in a far different place, for the blog spurred me on to write and publish the Grandpa and the Truck stories, a collection of real-life experiences my long-haul trucker husband had over his 30-year career, moving households across America.
We devised the plan of how we’d do this, over the many hours we sat in doctors’ offices or endured countless therapy sessions. The retired trucker had always told me of his career experiences, over the 20 years we’ve been together.
It’s just that now I put them to words.
We have a mission and we both believe in it: To get the word out to the world about the amazing contribution truckers make to the American Success Story, in stories written for little children.
But it was my blog-writing that gave me the courage to put my stuff out there, ignoring the little voice deep down that says “Maybe my material’s not good enough” (you know—the one we all have.)
That’s right…each time I got over my aversion to telling some deeply private aspect of me (sharing my self-doubts) by hitting the “publish” button, I confirmed my purpose as writer. I’d go after what I want to do…no matter what.
With that, I began interviewing illustrators (critical for my children’s picture books) and I found her—a woman whose work captured my husband’s essence…his character…his unflappable way. Last January, my trucker husband, Asheville artist Dana Irwin, and I began seriously working on the Grandpa and the Truck series.
End –result? Any day now, Book 1 in a series will come out, with two more books to follow by October. Then, I will go on a guest-speaking tour, whereby I use Grandpa and his big rig as vehicle to teach children about our wonderful country’s diversity and beauty, as well as important life lessons this trucker learned.
But it all happened because of the blog and THAT happened because of my husband’s awful accident.
I am amazed at the turning points of my life, and I will continue to feel that tho’ awful things seemed to conspire to derail me at times, they have also contributed to some of the greatest periods of growth….
But I needed to step through that door of fear first….
Now, you can go through your own door and visit my new website, where I shift gears (pardon the pun, but I’m a Trucker Lady now) at www.grandpaandthetruck.com, telling the stories of long-haul truckers to little ones. I’ll periodically still post here, too….
Please visit both sites often…After all, I’m still “Biddy,”…just now driving a big rig. Happy 4th. to you all…May you arrive at your own personal “Independence Day.”