Writing has always been more than just telling stories. I love to tell a story, but I’ve also used it to keep from falling apart. Getting the pain gathered onto a page is a cathartic way to force them out of my heart. Sometimes I worry about “oversharing” with the emotional side of my writing, but then days like today come up and I decide it must be.
I am living with addiction, but I am not the addict.
I am the counterpoint in his story. A melody colliding with his chosen lyrics.
Every addict has at least one of me. A parent, a sibling, a spouse, a friend. The person on the sidelines convinced that, with words of love and encouragement, we can all get through this.
We are The Savers. Wrapped in our comfy version of denial that allows us to believe if we plan enough, beg enough, cry enough, scream enough, we can fix it.
But deep in the corner of our mind, past where the denial lounges, reality resides. And in this place inside ourselves we know the truth. The truth that no amount of tears can wash away.
This is not our fight.
This demon is yours to defeat.
We can stand with you, but we cannot stand for you. We can cheer you on, but we cannot make you fight.
We will give you your wings. It is up to you to decide to fall or fly.
– Alie Dumas-Heidt
Can you see it?
The cracks so thin.
Darkness spiderwebbing across my skin
Can you hear it?
The silence so deep.
Echos scream from corners, memories weep.
Can you feel it?
This heart bleeds, gives in.
Tattered then shattered, pieces lost within.
Can you fix me?
Can you show me how to stand?
Fix my dress, find my pieces, take my hand.
– Alie Dumas-Heidt, Dec 27, 2016
I can’t claim all writers write about death but I can say what I write about often – ok, pretty much all the time – includes death. I started a novel about a vampire who isn’t one of the nice vamps. I started my detective series and there are obviously a few homicides there. Then I started a fluffy romance novel. I was writing it just for fun, to have a light project to work on with a character that I really love. Then I somehow ended up writing a murder for her to solve. I didn’t even mean to that time, it just happens when I start writing. I started another story about a guy, his girlfriend, and their pet raccoon George and they come together to crash a plot to destroy the world. The three of them survive. Not everyone else is so lucky…
I wrote the below poem June 17, 1987 at the insightful age of 11. I know the exact date because I have a copy of it in my little kid handwriting – signed and dated of course. It shows that death has always been one of my main topics.
Death by Natalie Dumas (I wasn’t also a Heidt yet)
Death is scary and mysterious
Strikes at any time
For different reasons, and in different seasons
It worries everyone’s mind
But death will soon come to everyone
And everyone will die
Because death is just another part of life
It has hold of me
Rooting in my chest, deep
It surrounds me
Keeping my crown out of reachAlie Dumas-Heidt