Recently the folks who have guest posted here have one thing in common: writing has helped them navigate pain. Brenda Boitson is no different. I met Brenda on Twitter, and then eventually in real life at Square One Coffee. Her husband died on October 28, 2008 due to a rare Angiosarcoma tumor when she was 24 and he was 36. Today she shares her reasons for writing with us.
* * * * *
When I was “trapped” in the hospital at Johns Hopkins while Kevin was being treated for cancer, I was going stir crazy. I was used to being in social environments, not stuck in a disinfected room, only able to talk to doctors, nurses and specialists. I began the blog to not only keep everyone up to date on my late husband’s health, but to keep me connected with a world in which I had been cut off.
After Kevin died, I found myself unable to be in large groups. I became claustrophobic to an extent, and I dreaded answering the phone. I would text friends and send emails, but I did not want to talk to anyone. It was too difficult. So instead, I wrote. When it was 2 am, I would get on my computer and just type out my feelings on my blog. Sometimes I felt as if I was over-sharing, but I didn’t feel I could share these thoughts with anyone specifically, so I typed them to whoever cared to read. I didn’t want to wake up my sleeping parents downstairs to bawl when I felt these deep emotions. Frankly, I wanted to be alone in my grief, but I still needed a way to speak out.
It occurred to me, not quite a year after losing Kevin, and after I began becoming more involved on various social media platforms, that writing, whether it be a blog, tweet, or facebook status, allowed me to connect to the outside world. If I didn’t want to deal with the feedback, it was a safe way to connect. People had shared, in person, things that I didn’t want to hear. I heard about their stories of grief and loss, their comparisons on my loss and theirs, and I knew if I heard another platitude, I was going to hurt someone. If my friends wanted to reply to me, they could, and I could delete it, or ignore it. Or I could reply back because it was something that I was ready and willing to accept.
Writing was and is my venting outlet. Over the past 2.5 years that I’ve been actively blogging, I have diminished the content that I share with my audience, and I am hoping to change that. I want to be real with my readers, but mostly, I want to speak the truth to others who are grieving. I want and need to share my experiences with them, however intimate and intimidating they may be. Writing has given me freedom, which is something that often fails me when I speak. I become flustered when I speak: I choose the wrong words, and sometimes I make situations worse by speaking. With writing, I can review what I am going to say, and weed out what I want my audience to be able to understand.
I do believe that if I was not able to write what I was feeling, I would still be in my old bedroom at my parents’ place, unable to connect with the outside world. Writing was initially a safe place for me to reintroduce myself to society as a widow. Now, as I adjust my roles and work to becoming Brenda again, instead of just a widow, I can write about those transitions and brace myself and the world for the new me.
* * * * *
Check out Brenda’s blog (www.crazywidow.info) and follow her on Twitter @crazywidow.