This blog post is a hard one to write. Last week, I received word that fellow author and good friend Sheila Connolly had passed away peacefully at home. Her cancer updates had not contained good news, though Sheila herself had remained steadfastly optimistic. For someone I had only had contact with a little over a year, and only spent three days with at GCLS in Portland, her passing left a big gap in my life. She and Beth had bonded over knitting, and Sheila had sent Beth all her surplus yarn, so the loss is one we both feel. We know we’ll see her again one day, but we will miss her presence here, now.
She could not have known that when she wrote, I was going through a period of doubting the value of my writing, of feeling so frustrated with the endlessly uphill slog of trying to market books in a sea of other books. I’m pretty sure I cried as I read her message. It still makes my eyes tear up. All my worries suddenly seemed pretty insignificant compared to what she was going through. No matter what else happens with writing and future publishing, her message will always be a touchstone for me.
Despite the sadness we’re still feeling a little over a week after Sheila’s passing, I can’t write this post without sharing a couple of bits of good news with all of you.
Remember “Brian”, my patient recovering from pancreatic cancer? Well, I discharged him from physical therapy yesterday. He was having a hard time being cut loose, and still has a long way to go to build his strength and endurance back up, but he’s ready to fly solo.
Another incredible piece of good news is that Beth and I are finally set to take the trip of a lifetime – hopefully the first of many. We’re going to Ireland! And we largely have Sheila thank for getting us off our butts, getting our passports and actually making the commitment to go. I know she’d be grinning and sending us all kinds of wishes for safe travels.
Same to you, Sheila…