January 23, 2014
Laura Morefield & Charlene Baldridge
I’m embroiled in a tough task these days, back at work on the big prose book tentatively titled What Next Miss Mommy? and now subtitled The Books We Never Wrote.
The first book is my memoir about the mother/daughter relationship, which we managed to rebuild from the depths to which it had plunged when at age 58 I ended my marriage to the man Laura loved, her stepfather, the late Chuck Baldridge. The resurrection and deepening of our relationship was not easily achieved, and people who saw us together on our yearly cultural trips often urged us to detail how we did it. We never wrote the book because we never figured out how we did it. And then cancer came along, cutting short my daughter’s life, but not our relationship.
The second book was Laura’s never-completed Golf Monday, Chemo on Tuesday, an intended how-to about taking charge of your cancer treatment. Laura completed two chapters before she ran out of steam. Apparently, there were other, more important things to do, like survive.
As I came to the end of a first draft, it occurred to me that Laura’s blog titled “A Month in the Life” could and should stand in for her book. It is chockfull of wisdom. Putting it together chronologically and editing it has taken more than a week, and I’m only up to Day 21.
I found myself telling a friend that I was forging ahead with the work, however painful, because who knows how much time I have left, and there is still much to do. He assured me I will fulfill my assignments and promises to Laura and to myself.
As I said, the work is challenging, reading her words, hearing her voice. Today, after my friend left, I returned to the work and I was buoyed up by these words: “Only one person in the universe knows when my use-by date is up, and I don’t call him doctor. I trust the numbering of my days to the One who whispered me into being out of love.”