Wednesday, March 6, 2013

IWSG - March, 2013


Last Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law, Rob McLennan, said to me over the dinner table and in front of everyone (to my horror) something like, "So, I hear you're writing a book!" 

My mouth dropped open, and then I heard him say how cool it would be to know someone that published a novel.  He asked a lot of questions and told me to get busy.  He was grinning from ear to ear, as was my sister, but not in a way that made me think he was being sarcastic or doubting me in any way.  It was genuine enthusiasm.

Last Friday, he passed away.  It was unexpected and tragic and a devastating loss.  He was one of those rare people that was kind and generous to everyone, as is my sister.  Apparently, when you're like that, other people of a similar spirit gravitate to you. 

There's been an outpouring of kindness to my sister and her husband's family.  The women in the area, my sister's close friends, have coordinated meals not just for my sister, but also for her husband's parents.  We offered to bring food one day over the weekend, but my sister said her in-laws had been "food bombed."  These lovely people even provided all the food for the memorial service and have been relentless in making sure my sister and her kids have the support they need.  I could write paragraphs about all of the ways they've been there for my sister. 

At the memorial service, there were three separate lines of people waiting to hug my sister for at least an hour.  It was incredible how many people showed up to give their respects and to join in celebrating his life.  I hope he was looking down and saw how many people genuinely loved him and his family.

As I wipe away my tears, I just want to say that I am not at all insecure about my writing.  I know that if Rob had lived to see the next family gathering, he would have asked me how the book was going and would be disappointed if I said was off track or let other things stop me from achieving my goal or if I whined about my insecurities.

I wish I had known him better, but he's definitely the kind of guy that would be disappointed, and rightly so, if I gave up on myself.  So I will write with even more purpose now and think of him and what he said that Thanksgiving before I write every day.  I'm definitely going to dedicate my first book to him.  I think he would have loved that.


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This post is part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a first Wednesday of the month opportunity to share what keeps you going or what stops you in your tracks.  Most of my posts aren't this sad (I think...probably...maybe not), so please come back next month. 


31 comments:

  1. Sounds like your brother-in-law touched a lot of lives. Including yours. Let that be your motivation.
    Been thinking about you Tonja. And praying.

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  2. Nice way to remember him. And a reminder of how precious life is. Let's not waste it.

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  3. Tonja, I am so so sorry for this horrible loss, for you and your sister and her family. It is wonderful that you can take that enthusiasm he had for you and your gift and finish and publish that book - for both of you.
    Karen

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  4. The unexpected kindness of people after a loss really makes a difference. It's the people I least expected to show up, and "food bomb" my family after I lost my sister, that made a deep impression on me. The support we received was astounding. And something I will NEVER forget.

    I'm so sorry for your loss Tonya and for your family during this time. *Virtual Hugs* My sister always encouraged me to write- I already know my first book will be devoted to her. Maybe you might want to think about mentioning your brother-in-law's kindness and encouragement in your dedication too.

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  5. Oh, Tonja, I'm SO SO sorry for your loss and your family's. He sounds amazing and it's so tragic to lose someone before their time. I mean it's always tragic, but I think all the more so when someone is well before their time. Wishing your family healing, though I know it just takes a lot of time.

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  6. Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

    Dear Tonja,

    What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing this. I think I'll have to come back later to comment. Tears are rolling down my cheeks thinking about this wonderful man. I can't see to write.

    Best wishes,
    Anna
    AnnasAdornments for Insecure Writers March 6th

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  7. I'm so sorry for your loss, but this is a beautiful post with an important message.

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  8. Awe... I really don't know what to say. Hugs and chocolate to you.
    Shelly

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  9. It's good to have encouraging voice, even you can no longer hear it in life.

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  10. I'm so sorry for your loss and my heart goes out to you. What a beautiful tribute to your brother-in-law. Hugs.

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  11. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I'm so sorry for your loss but how wonderful that your brother-in-law encouraged you and that you'll forever have that smile and encouragement in your mind and heart. Bring it forth when you need it. Saying a prayer now for your family.

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  12. I'm so sorry!!

    I'm glad you guys have such an amazing support system and you should never apologize for blogging about sadness and pain. It's real and it's what's happening in your life.

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  13. Thank you for sharing this very sensitive experience. I'm sorry for your loss, but you now know you have a guardian book angel watching out for your success. My condolences to you and your family.

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  14. I'm sorry to hear the news and for your sister.

    Dedicating your book to him is a fantastic idea and even better motivation to finish it. He sounded like amazing person.

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  15. Sorry for your family's loss. It's difficult to keep going with such emotions in your heart. Hope you keep writing and get to put Rob's name in that book.

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  16. I'm sorry for your family's loss. Gosh. It sounds like he was a fantastic human being and I'll say a prayer for your sister.

    He would totally love the book dedication. I know you'll make it happen!

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  17. Again, Tonja, I'm so sorry for your family's loss. I think its good of you to keep him in your heart and use him as your inspiration. Keep him close.

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  18. My eyes aren't exactly dry at this moment and somehow I'm really looking forward to your first book. From one nerdy code writing mom to another hang in there and make it great :)

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  19. Such a sweet, beautiful, touching post. Again, I am so sorry for your family's loss. Your brother-in-law will always be with you in a way, believing in you and your writing .... and that truly is a gift.

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  20. This must be an incredibly hard time for your family, and I'm very sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a wonderful man who would have loved to see your name in print. Sometimes that kind of faith and love from family can mean more than all the publishing deals in the world.

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  21. Sorry for your loss, Tonja. I pray comfort for your sister and all who are grieving.

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  22. I cried my way through your post. And now I'm praying for comfort for you and your sister and all those who are grieving for such a wonderful and encouraging man.

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  23. Thank you for sharing such a intimate and touching story. I think Rob is probably smiling at you right now. God bless.

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  24. Thanks, everyone. I'm sorry about taking forever to get to everyone's blogs. I'm a wreck still this week. I appreciate everyone stopping by.

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  25. He sounds like a great man who will be missed by family and friends.

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  26. So sorry he's gone. Definitely keep writing on that novel.

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  27. Oh Tonja, what a wonderful inspiration you have to to get you through the hard work & tough times. I'm so sorry he's gone, but it sounds like he did lots of good in this world and was well-prepared for the next, and I'm glad your sister & her family have so many wonderful people looking out for her.

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  28. Wow, such eerie echos of my sister and BIL two years ago. They were food bombed, too. It was nice to have that small task taken off the daily calendar, though. My BIL was also very encouraging, and I know he's grinning every time I publish a book. He was a voracious reader, and I came back with his Neil Gaiman collection. I cherish it. My sister and nieces are finally moving on. She sold the house and is moving to another state. I think they all need the new start. He'll always be missed. Hugs to you, your sister, her children, and his family.

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  29. Tonya, I am so, so sorry for your loss. I love how he touched your heart and that you will always remember what he said and his support. It is such a good reminder of how kind words & support can change a person's day/life. I am thinking of you. BIG hugs!

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  30. Such a beautiful, touching post, Tonja. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  31. I'm so sorry to hear about your brother-in-law, Tonja!

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