by Cathy Anderson Corn
Are your protagonists larger than life? Have you ever considered weaving your story around someone you know who's a character? I haven't used her yet, but my friend Judy is surrounded by stories that are stranger than fiction.
I'll just mention the part where she was hit by a drunk driver and suffered injuries that required surgery and several months in a metal halo device around her head. Oh, and while she was recovering in a hospital bed in the livingroom, her mother had a heart attack and went to the hospital, leaving Judy alone in the house.
Let's skip to the part where Judy and her two little dogs have moved to Sedona, Arizona, where Judy worked as a hospice nurse, visiting the dying. We took Judy out for dinner last fall when we visited Sedona, and she shared a hospice story.
She traveled to a patient's house one day, and there were no meds in the house to ease the dying man's pain. The meds were gone because the dying man's wife had given them to her boyfriend. As the man was near his transition time, and Judy wanted to make him more comfortable, she implemented care as only Judy could have.
"Everyone, let's sit at the table and hold hands (I think the boyfriend might have been there, too). We're going to breathe deeply and relax. We're going to send healing energy around the circle..." And so Judy, unable to give meds, did a healing meditation. The man relaxed and so did everyone else in the room, and he made his transition. A few days later the hospice got another request for Judy and her meditations.
That evening, we drove Judy home, and her two little white bijons danced on her condo balcony waiting for her. Judy is single, and they are her children, and they were excited to see her. So I was blown away when I got Judy's email two months later. Donny, ten years old, had suffered a cardiac arrest at the park during their morning walk after a normal morning at home and good health. Judy tried to resuscitate him and drove him to the vet, but it was too late.
We mourned his loss. At least she still had Dolly, just a year older than Donny, to bring her comfort.
Just a few weeks later, Judy emailed me that Dolly was very near death from Addison's Disease. A few days after that, she wrote that for the last few hours of Dolly's life, she had held her and sung her into the light.
Dolly was gone. Judy had lost both dogs in 27 days, and I didn't know how she was going to stand the pain. Sandwiched in between the passings was Judy's 50th birthday.
Then, about six weeks after that, another email from Judy. A patient from hospice had died, leaving her pets behind. Someone needed to take them.
They were two white bijons, two years old.
So Judy writes me that she now drives around the countryside taking care of people who want to live--she switched from hospice to Home Health Care. She says she still has two little white dogs, the ones the universe sent to fill the void in her life and heart, but it all feels much lighter and brighter now. Judy, a survivor, has overcome once more.
So tell me, who are the colorful characters in your life? Have you given them a place in your fiction?