“Tracey. You can’t be serious.”
I laughed. She always was such a drama-queen.
“Well Tina, yeah, I’m pretty serious.”
“But how will I know what’s going on with you?!”
“Um, we’ll talk like normal people?”
“Ugh. You know what I mean,” she said and I could hear her pouring another glass of wine.
Tina’s husband, Hank, was watching the baby so we’d been able to have a nice long chat. Over the course of the past hour, we’d gone through the normal topics – her son Jordan, My Boyfriend, people we knew in our hometown, her husband, her job, The Cat.
And then I’d told her about the blog.
Which was, that I was done with it.
“But I thought you and Lux were going to rebrand!” she cried. “And you were going to write about going from being the big city girl to the country girl, adjusting to living with your high-school sweetheart, looking for a job, small-town life? What happened to all that?”
“Yeah…we did talk about that,” I conceded, pulling myself up off the couch to go to the kitchen. “But I just don’t think that’s going to work here. I mean, the best thing about the blog was the other ‘characters’. And this town is too small to do that. There’s just no way for me to protect everyone’s anonymity. Even if I were to bury their identities, people would easily be able to figure out who I was talking about. And that would make it too hard for me to write freely.”
“Hmm, I guess that makes sense,” she said.
“But listen, even if I could, if I could somehow protect people and their ‘storylines,’ it really doesn’t matter. I can’t go on in this format anymore.”
“Because, Tina,” I said, as refilled my glass. “I need a break. I need to actually process my grief about my Mom – not observe myself processing it so I can present it publicly in an interesting and articulate way. Writing about it is forcing to me keep a kind of distance and I can’t do that anymore.”
“I understand,” she sighed. “So do you mean you’ll just never post again?”
I thought about this. “I…don’t know,” I said slowly. “Maybe. I mean, I do love the working on the blog….I don’t know. If something interesting comes up that I can write about, then maybe. But in a linear, consistent sort of way? No.”
“So what are you going to do now?”
“Workout,” I said as I put her on speaker and placed the phone on the table. I moved to the refrigerator to get the fixings for the sandwich I make each night for My Boyfriend to take to work the next day.
Look, I know it only takes a few minutes and he could easily do it himself – but everyone knows a sandwich tastes better if it’s made for you.
“Um, what does that mean exactly?” she asked.
“It means that I’m taking the rest of the year off. All I want to do is exercise and regain my strength – physically, emotionally. I just want to run. And go on walks, and hikes, and get my health in order, and cook. I want the time to go to my Mom’s house and sit with her and talk to her and figure out what my new normal is supposed to be. I mean, every single thing in my life has changed in the past six months and I need to deal with that. I just want the world to stop a bit so I can can catch my breath. I am fortunate that I can do this right now – so I’m going to. The holidays are coming quickly and I worry if I don’t do this now, it’s going to be a very, very rough road ahead for me and everyone around me.”
She paused for a moment. And then she said, “I think that’s a very good idea, Tracey.”
“What the hell is going on over there?!” she asked in response to the screeching now coming from my kitchen.
“Oh, sorry. I just opened the packet of turkey for My Boyfriend’s sandwich and The Cat is going insane.”
“Oh my god,” she breathed. “She’s worse than Jordan.”
“Anyway,” I said, and placed some turkey in a pile on the floor. “So that’s the plan for the next few months. And then, after the first of the year, I’m writing the blog into a book.”
“Really?!” she exclaimed. “How exciting!”
“Thank you. It actually was Colette and Brian’s idea.”
“How will you do it? Like what format?”
“You know, I’m not sure.” I folded a piece of provolone onto the sandwich. “I originally thought I’d just transcribe the posts – I mean, they really ended up reading like a book. And I have a number of them that I didn’t publish – because of timing or whatnot, so I could add those in and it could be like a ‘never before seen’ type of thing. But then I also thought maybe I’d write it more as a memoir – with behind the scenes stuff. But…I don’t know. There are a lot of things I can’t talk about without breaking people’s trust and anonymity. So maybe I’ll write it as fiction, that would give me a lot of freedom. I’m going to have to think on it. Maybe ask around.”
“Well, whatever you decide, I think it will be great.”
“Thanks, hon.” I pulled out a sheet of tinfoil to wrap up the sandwich.
I then heard a wail in the background. “Ah, well,” she said. “I think my break is over. I’m sorry.”
I laughed. “It’s okay. Please give Hank and Jordan a big hug for me. I miss you guys.”
“We miss you too. We’re still planning on coming out in the Spring to visit.”
“Okay great, we’d love that.”
“I am so glad you and your Boyfriend found each other again. I can tell you are really happy.”
“I am. He truly does make my life almost perfect.”
“Good. You deserve it.”
After I hung up with Tina, I grabbed a sharpie and drew a heart on the tinfoil of My Boyfriend’s sandwich. As I always did. Then I put it in the fridge and grabbed my wine. I went to the livingroom to finish up the latest edition of 20/20 on ID.
About an hour later, My Boyfriend arrived home from practice.
“How was your night, baby?” he asked.
“Good,” I said, as I rolled to my side on the couch to face him. “I think I figured out how to end the blog.”
“That’s great,” he said. He leaned over to kiss me on the forehead. “I know you’ve been worrying about that for weeks.”
“Yeah,” I said. “I have.”
“I’m going to get ready for bed,” he said and made his way to the bedroom, where I could hear him chatting with The Cat.
I then got up from the couch and went to my desk to work on this post. To be honest, I never really got it to where I wanted. There was so much else I wanted to say – about grief and how we are managing it, my relationship and how we are adjusting to this new life, my thoughts on ending this project. But I just couldn’t ever get it right. So after a few hours, I finally said to myself, “This will have to do for now. I can always come back and fix it later. Later, when I’ve had more time. I just need some more time.”
And with that, I logged off the computer, clicked off my desk lamp and went in to join my little family.
And now, this chapter is over.
This has been an extraordinary experience for me. I have loved writing every 124 of these posts, reading your comments, watching the debates unfold over certain topics, getting advice on next steps I should take.
This project has changed me in ways I never could have expected. Not only in my writing, and not only in my career and the direction in my life but me as a person. I have become more self-assured, more confident, and it has forced me to get to know myself, good and bad, in a more in-depth way than I ever could have known. I will never, ever forget this time in my life and I will forever be grateful.
And I will forever be grateful to my amazing family, my incredible friends and of course, My Boyfriend. Not only for those of you who let me write about you, which is what made this project so special – but more importantly for what you’ve done for me behind the scenes. Cheering me on, supporting me every step of the way, and, in the past five months giving me your strength when I had none of my own.
So although I am unsure on what the next chapter for this project will be, I hope you’ll all like our Facebook page or subscribe to the blog so we can keep you in the loop on further developments.
And, as luck would have it – just as we are ending, there are a lot of new readers and to you I say: please check out the beginning of the story HERE.
It’s been one hell of a ride.
Cover image: Photo I took on the outskirts of my hometown.