It has been a difficult week.
A week ago today my husband, John, lost a good friend to cancer. Like John, Carlton loved woodworking, and they and another woodworking buddy, Vernon, spent many hours talking about tools and techniques and visiting each other’s shops. Last year, John built a beautiful oak bookcase for our son’s college dorm room, with raised panel sides and crown molding at the top and bottom. John is primarily a woodturner, whereas Carlton built furniture, so he gave John quite a few tips on the raised panel inserts. It will be an heirloom piece for our son, who will remember that it was handcrafted by his dad, with help from Vernon and their late friend, Carlton. John and Vernon were pallbearers for their friend’s funeral Monday morning. They will miss him deeply, though they’ll always treasure the memories of the hours they whiled away together with the hobby they all loved.
The day after Carlton slipped away, a couple we’ve been close with for more than two decades lost their only child, their 25-year-old son, Thomas. John and I knew Thomas from the time he was little more than a toddler, watching him grow up into a tall, handsome medic in the Army National Guard. When our house was hit by the tornado in ’05, Thomas came immediately with his father in a torrential downpour to help us tarp the shattered roof, and worked to help us save what we could from the rooms that were hit the worst. I’ll never forget the way he hugged me — for perhaps the first time since he was a little boy — and told me, “All of this can be fixed. I’m just glad you and John are okay.” His funeral was on Wednesday.
Needless to say, I’ve done little writing this week. Today I’ve been sitting at my computer working on my next Silhouette Special Edition. It’s difficult sometimes to concentrate on the generally light, happy-ever-after stories I so love to write when real life becomes difficult. I was having some trouble getting into the story this morning … and then I checked my email. A reader from Michigan had found me through this website, and she sent me a note telling me how much she has been enjoying my Doctors in Training series. She told me she is a single mother of a child with developmental disorders and that books provide her with a few hours of escape from her responsibilities. She thanked me for taking her into a place “where love conquers all, and it’s easy to believe in happy endings.”
I’ve always said I’m not trying to change the world with my books. I’m not trying to teach deep lessons or make profound observations. I simply want to entertain. To elicit a smile or a few happy tears. Just as I enjoy relaxing for a few hours with a good book or movie or television program, I hope to be able to provide a similar escape for my readers. Thanks, M.L., for reminding me of why I continue to pursue this career I have loved for so many years!
May all of you find a few moments of joy today in your own harmless, escapist pleasures and happy memories.