Friday, June 8, 2012

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction by Amanda Elder Silvers

One of my lifelong goals has always been that I would one day be a published author.  It's a goal (need, desire) that burns deep inside me and gnaws away quietly at my soul.  It has since I was a child.  I've given much thought to what type of book or books I would like to put out there for the general public, but I'm fairly sure it would be a biographical account of my life.  I could do a devotional book or a fictionalized account of people I know or places I've been or dreams I've had, but the truth is my everyday life has provided me with enough material to fill a multitude of books.  I'm sure you've heard the saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction."  Well, in my case it certainly is.

In 42 years on this planet I've developed the ability to find humor in even the most horrific of situations.  I believe this little coping mechanism has helped to keep me sane for the majority of my life.  When my father died last year I was going through the most unimaginable grief with my family that any of us had ever experienced.  For most of the time we all felt as though we were having an out-of-body experience.  Your loved one dies and then you are forced to go into overdrive planning, organizing, and scheduling the funeral arrangements.  How ironic it seemed to me that during a time you are literally in zombie mode you are being required to make huge, important decisions.  I would recommend having death/burial arrangements written out well beforehand so you won't feel you are floundering quite as much as I did.  Anyway, I digress... The day after his death my mother, sister, and I go meet with the funeral director's assistant about arrangements.  This KID, and I mean KID, is doing the best he can, but we've been told we are his first family, his "test" family.  Great.  We are in the middle of overwhelming grief and we're going to get to be guinea pigs.  Fabulous.  As he explains the details of what we can expect, expenses, and the cremation process we all sit somberly with our heads down soaking it all in.  That is until I hear the oddest word I'd ever heard fall off his lips.  He is explaining to us that our father's "cremains" can be picked up at such-and-such time.  My head tilts to the right a bit as I look up, eyebrows furrowed.  "Cremains"?  Is that even a word?  I shoot a slick side glance over to my sister who meets my gaze and instantly knows what I'm thinking.  We both attempt to suppress our delight in this much needed moment of comic relief and in unison see our mother attempting to telepathically calm us down, but we know she gets it too.  I think I even quietly pulled out my phone to Google the word.  Yep.  Sure enough.  It's a real word.  After we finished with the toddler in charge of funerals and all the paperwork was signed we walked outside and my sis and I giggled.  I said, "Cremains?!  You know the first thing I thought of when I heard that word? CRAISINS!"  We all three just fell out laughing and for the rest of the week "craisins" became our private password whenever we needed to inject moments of silliness.  I even sent pics to them from my camera phone each time I'd be in the grocery store and pass a bag of Craisins.  Odd?  Yes.  Funny and necessary?  Yes.

I could go on for days with such stories.  I've previously wanted to blog the above story, but decided I needed to get enough time between the actual event and the story so it wouldn't seem callous.  The beauty of it is my dad knew and loved me.  He would have been cracking up right there in that room with us.  That's how my family has always been.  I wouldn't change a thing about that. 

Over the years I've accumulated numerous blogs and stories about my family, friends, college years, childhood, and life.  I've got stories about a first date I went on which involved picking up a dead body from a funeral home in Atlanta (all of my stories are not funeral based, I promise).  I have stories about medical experiences which were hysterical and I've written much about the people I love. 

I've often envied authors like Stephenie Meyer who can pen all-consuming stories of vampires and werewolves.  I've not been successful at fiction.  I'm very much an in-the-present person and my writing style reflects that.  I hope to one day write a book which the world will get to read.  My hope is that it would bring a moment of laughter to someone who may be having a bad day or perhaps one of my shared experiences will resonate with someone going through something similar.  I pray that God allows me this wonderful accomplishment.  I know if it is in His plan He will show me the way there.  To any of you readers who like to write, I encourage you to continue.  I've found no better way to cleanse my inner self of stress and sorrow than putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.  Writing truly is a gift in that it gives something back to each of us.


Steve B said...

Good Stuff! always enjoy your Blogs. Steve B

Steve B said...

Good Stuff! always enjoy your Blogs. Steve B

Linda Maynard said...

Hi ...
In line with your suggestion of making funeral arrangements ahead of time, my husband has been telling me some things he wants and doesn't want at his funeral, just thi past week.
He had mentioned in the past that he wanted bagpipers, playing Amazing Grace. At the time, I mentioned that the cost would be high.
So this past week he said..." Oh just get a CD and it will be just as good" low and behold I found one at Goodwill and it was even 1/2 price this week!
I chuckled at your blog.
I have a brother and sister in law who, just like you, find humor in almost everything...I wish I had more of a lighthearted attitude

Amanda Silvers said...

Thank you for your comments. I always love to get feedback. Have a wonderful week!

Kerry Luddy said...

Love your humor, Amanda, and your encouragement.

Elicia Livesay said...

Amanda, Since the moment I met you I have looked at you as an inspiration. You write beautifully and are an amazing person in so many ways. Thank you for sharing smiles, tears and chuckles with us.

Amanda Silvers said...

Thanks for these kind words. I'm happy you enjoy reading. :)