613.260.3256 Erin@ErinScullion.com


I’m not sure I believe in writer’s block. But I am thinking I might have it and so I am going to write to get rid of it. What’s the hold-up? Well for sure the stress of seeing my mother–who will be 91 tomorrow–go downhill is on my mind. She’s been pretty good, living at the Redwoods, an assisted living facility, in her own apartment for the last 17 years. Absolutely with it. Sometimes a pain in the ass (who isn’t?) And sometimes full of fun.

Something happened before Christmas, nothing we can put our fingers on. The winter? Old age? Loneliness? Boredom? Then she got sick with a cough. And the doctor didn’t think she needed antibiotics. Then she got sicker, with what turned out to be pneumonia. She got the antibiotics, but they didn’t work fast enough, so on New Year’s Day we took her to the hospital. She said she wanted to die, she was tired of living. Then she was slowly recovering, but we (well, the doctor, of course) changed her meds to help lift her spirits. It didn’t work.

Now she is off those meds, which made her head hurt and left her continuing to want to die, and she is slowing coming back. But she is not the same. And I doubt she ever will be. She’s still with it, but she has changed. All of which is part of the normal cycle of life, I know, I understand and I accept.

This week, another milestone on her road of life. She was deemed eligible for long-term care.

As writers, we are taught to put colour into our writing. Make it vibrant! Full of life! Compelling! Active! Show, don’t tell! But I’m having a hard time showing what the pain of losing your mother looks like. And does anyone really want to know?

Of course, writing about tears would do it. Grumpiness. Snapping at your husband for no good reason. Driving by your highway exit, taking wrong turns, going through stop signs. Continually losing your wallet, phone, purse, credit card, keys, pens, important papers. Struggling with scheduling help, medical appointments, finances. Being wide awake at 4:00 am. Haggling with drugstores over drugs and pill packs.

And then there are your siblings, whom you love very much, who see the same picture, but through different lenses.

I don’t know what compels me to write, but it’s saved me before, and I think I might need it now more than ever.

There. The writer’s block is gone. For today.

And that’s all we all really have, isn’t it?