October 21, 2011

Emotional Truth

One of the things I learned in my English classes at BYU that's really stuck with me is about emotional truth. Stories are just that: stories, and their name implies fiction. But if you fill stories with emotional truth, those things we all feel because we're human and we live in real life, then stories will feel true, even if they're about dragons or dystopian societies, and we will be able to relate to them.

Writing is my escape from real life, my creative outlet to stay sane and stave off the mommy-brain-rot. I thrive when I dream up new places and new plots. But real life hit us hard this week when we learned my husband's dear father passed away.

I'm sad. Sad for my husband who won't get to hug his father again, and sad for my mother-in-law, and sad for my two girls who won't get to know their grandpa better, and sad I won't get to see this man that always had a smile and a kind word for me. Right now I'm just trying to take care of the hearts of the people I've been entrusted with. I know we will all see him again, after our turn in this wonderful life is done, but until then, it hurts and it feels too enormous to bear.

I've lost people I've loved before, but after the ache eases and lets go just a little bit, every day is easier to fall back into and resume those patterns that define our lives. It's not that we've forgotten the pain of loss, but a new sorrow is always a shock. I never want to forget that feeling, so I can appreciate life just a little bit more. We can't know how happy we've been until we know how sad we can feel.

That's as emotionally true as it gets.

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