As many of you may already know, my 90 year old father passed away on Father’s Day. He was elderly, but relatively healthy. His final illness spanned only 10 days. This summer has been a precious time — time outside of time — as I stay with my mother and we all get used to living without Dad.
You can still meet my father in the pages of my memoir. Both of my parents are important characters. We had a complicated journey together — maybe all parents and children do! Writing the memoir opened up the space for us to work through some trailing pieces of story. As my parents read early drafts, we had heartfelt conversations. I changed words and sentences because of their input. I did not sugarcoat anything, but I valued their lens. I am — and will always be — grateful for that process, which helped finish some unfinished business. I thanked them in my book’s Acknowledgements:
I am also humbled by the generosity and moral courage of my parents, Nick and Joan Huizenga, who allowed me to reflect honestly, and sometimes unflatteringly, on a faith tradition they cherish. Our relationship is proof of the healing power of love.
I am so happy that I can honestly tell you this: my Dad was proud of my book. He had a chance to hold an advance copy before he died. He told visitors to his bedside: “I have four daughters, and only one of them is ruined!” He said this with a big grin and a twinkle in his eye, often to their perplexity. After all, there were four of us sisters bustling around attending to him, all apparently in good health ourselves. How exactly were any of us ruined? Everyone just smiled and let the comment pass — as one does around the elderly at times — and the next day Dad had transitioned into the dying process.
Yes, this summer has been emotionally and spiritually powerful for me. For the past six weeks I have been in a private place of grief and gratitude and reflection. My writing has been for my eyes alone. Now it’s time to get back to the public face of writing. My memoir launches on Tuesday, August 2. A flurry of articles and interviews has begun, geared for book launch. Writers may write because we feel called to do so — but selling our words is a business like anything else. We have to find our readers.
Here is one of the first launch articles, which attempts to answer the question: Why would someone write a memoir about a painful experience like rape? The article is over at Tyndale’s Memoir Addict site. I hope you’ll click over to read the article — and share it on social media if it speaks to you.
Also, you may want to take note of some upcoming radio and podcast interviews next Monday and Tuesday, which are listed in the sidebar.
As always, my heartfelt thanks to you for reading.