Going Forward: Life Beyond Tragedy

As I navigate my way, not out of grief, but to learning how to manage it, I also find that, as is often the case, tragic events bring stark realities to the surface. My greatest constant and comfort these last couple of weeks has been writing, though many days an hour spent editing was a challenge.

That challenge, though, was an hour removed from the pain — until I’d realize I was no longer typing, but instead staring. From that little seed grew my production again, though it remains a fraction of what it was before the news.

It’s funny how life works, and how our minds work. As I look at my life now on the other side of tragedy, I realize some perspectives have changed. Meanwhile, realities I’d avoided before became inescapable in my long hours contemplating.

Few are better at avoidance than I am.

Some new and unavoidable perspectives…

  • I discovered via an unimaginable tragedy that I had no idea what true mourning was. All that came before was mere sadness for relationships I characterize now as what could’ve been, but wasn’t.
  • Times of crisis bring a family together — unless the family disapproves of the life you lead. Then, you grieve alone. There’s a reason why I write about found families.
  • It’s possible to find your own way to managing grief. I did it. There was even some support from the online community that filled my heart to capacity. I also found online resources that helped me.
  • I moved to Montana because it was within a day’s drive and the climate suited my health. Unfortunately, after nine years, it’s time to admit it’s intolerable for other reasons.
  • As the dust settles in the aftermath, I discover writing is more important to me than it was before. I don’t know how many years I have left, but I’m devoting them to creativity.

Okay, wow, that’s a lot to unpack and I’m not going to try and do so today. It does, though, explain my periods of deep contemplation.

For now, I’m still being kind to myself as I move forward. The rest of the year, I’ll work on whatever appeals to me at the moment. Right now, that’s a short story, Layover in Dalewater.


Courtesy: Pixabay

Before the tragedy, I’d been considering where I might relocate to outside Montana. That search will gain importance after the first of the year. My lease runs out in late summer 2023 so the move will happen.

I’d wanted to publish in 2023 or, at the latest, 2024. It looks like the latter will be my choice. I’m a little heartbroken about it. At my age, every year gains importance, but waiting makes the most sense.

It might seem from all I’ve shared here that I’m in a bad place. In fact, aside from the lingering sadness, I’m in a good place. In some aspects of my life, I’m in a great place. Having long avoided so many issues, but no longer able to, I find there’s a certain level of relief. It’s me saying, Okay, I’m not happy about it, but at least I know what I have to do.

That last happened in 2014 and led to moving out of Wyoming in a snowstorm at three in the morning. I’m rather meek and unassuming —until I’m not.


About Christina Anne Hawthorne

Alive and well in the Rocky Mountains. I'm a fantasy writer who also dabbles in poetry, short stories, and map making. My Ontyre tales are an alternative fantasy experience, the stories rich in mystery, adventure, and romance. Alternative fantasy? Not quite steampunk. Not quite gothic. In truth, the real magic is in those who discover what's within.
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