I’ve been working on my new book Grief: The Great Yearning for the past couple of months, trying to get it as perfect as possible for publication, though I doubt anyone will notice if there are any typos. So, far, no one has been able to read it without weeping, and tears would mask any imperfections.
The text has been ready for over a month, but for some reason, the printer kept smearing the back cover copy. This sort of delay drove me nuts with my other books, but I’ve been patient with this one. I know it’s important to get it published, and yet I’m ambivalent. Do I really want all those raw emotions let loose on the world? Forever after, I will be a grieving woman. Even if I find happiness in some unimaginable future, my grief will still be there in my words, as desperate and real and profound as the day I felt them.
Today I received the final proof, and it is perfect. (Well, perfect except for the typo or two I have since found, but I am NOT going to worry about those.)
I’m sitting here weeping as I write this. I don’t know why the publication of this book makes the death of my life mate/soul mate final, but it does. His death and my grief are no longer my personal affair, but something real, something books are made of. He has no funeral plot, no memorial, no epitaph engraved for all eternity. Or rather, he didn’t have those things. Now he does — this book is his epitaph, his memorial, the final resting place for my grief.
It’s as if the past thirty-six years, and especially the past twenty-three months culminated in this one moment tonight when I held the book in my hands. Where did it all go? Where did he go? Where did my love go? How can our shared life, begun with such hope and radiance, have ended already?
I know now there are worse deaths than his, and there are worse fates than mine, but still, this wasn’t the way things were supposed to end. We always took care of ourselves, didn’t make stupid or foolish decisions, didn’t act rashly. We were kind to each other, looked out for each other, respected each other. We shared as much as is possible for two people to share. And this is how it ended: between the covers of a 166 page book.
It will still be a few days before Grief: The Great Yearning appears on Amazon in print and Kindle, and a few more days before it shows up on B&N, Apple, and the various other ebook sources, but my part is finished. And suddenly, I don’t want to let go.