Writing has opened doors within me that I never knew existed

You would think writing a memoir would be easy. After all, you have all the facts, but it’s not, hence why it’s taking so friggin long.

I used to put loads of pressure on myself by setting deadlines, especially after someone asked, “when’s the book gonna be ready?”. But I’m learning that my writing cannot be rushed. 

The more I write, the more intrigued I am about the process of writing. Writing has been one of the most cathartic things I could have done for myself because it helps me confront the emotional shit that I struggle to articulate verbally. I’ve written about this Previously

I’ve learned that my writing style is intuitive and cannot be forced. Some days I can reflect on a particular scene in the memoir and describe thoughts and feelings like a detached outsider looking in. Then there are other times I feel like I’ve been in an emotional boxing ring after doing ten rounds with Mike Tyson. To the point I feel physically wiped out.

I have said previously that my writing has opened doors within me that I never knew existed. Well, the other week was no exception. Through writing, I found a door that had been locked for over 17 years. Let me take you back…

Friday 23rd September – I should/could have finished dad’s part of the story weeks ago, but there was a part I just couldn’t get past, and to be fair, it was doing my head in. The worst part was I couldn’t figure out why. So, tired of my own excuses, I’d made a pact with myself on a Friday evening that I would get up and turn up the following morning and WRITE.

Saturday morning, I started on the last chapter I’d been avoiding for weeks and was surprised as the memories flowed. The words bounced off the page, and I was officially in the zone. 

Before his passing, I’d always imagined myself crying over his dead body like a banshee. But instead, all I could manage was a simple tear. I was waiting for a rush of grief to envelop me, but it never came. Instead, I just felt numb. 

I’d been writing about the final hours of his death. I wrote about waiting for the GP to arrive to officially confirm that he’d died, which I found bizarre at the time because he was clearly dead. My sister and I were given the option of what we wanted, putting down as the cause of death. Pneumonia or alcoholism? I chose the latter and wondered at the time how many other alcohol-related deaths had gone unreported. 

I’d imagined that I might be able to grieve once he was taken away by the undertakers, but there was no time. There were still practical things to do, like arranging the funeral, clearing his flat, sort out his will. The list was never-ending. 

At his funeral, I recall my stomach aching, but there were hardly any tears. It didn’t feel like a normal reaction, but the last two years spent with dad had been far from normal. I’d grown accustomed to functioning in a hyper-vigilant state always wondering, “What is going to happen next”? Fear, anxiety, and panic became part of my daily life. I was like a human pendulum swinging between the hope that he wouldn’t die and the next praying for death, just to end his misery. The guilt at times was overwhelming, and his last two days were no exception. I’d heard about anticipatory grief after dad passed and just assumed that I’d already done all my grieving before he took his last breath, but I’d been wrong.

Writing and revisiting some of the intimate moments we shared reignited emotions I hadn’t felt for years. I could feel my eyes well up, and a familiar ache returned in the pit of my stomach. The emotions and tears came out of the blue and felt overwhelming. The loss of what could have been tore through my heart like a dagger. I was transported back to my younger self, to the little girl who’d always adored her father and ached for his affection. 

My writing is usually felled by frustration or anger. I have always found it easier to talk about the traumatic events that led up to his death, but this was different. I was confused and tried to figure out which word or sentence might have triggered this wave of unexpected grief.

My reaction that morning scared me. I was scared that I had somehow opened pandora’s box, a part of me that had been laid dormant for 17 years and was worried I wouldn’t be able to put the lid back on. I rarely feel the need to talk because I can typically write it out, but this time, I needed to talk it out. 

Instinctively I called a friend, someone who never knew dad but who knew my story. A recovering alcoholic, she understood more than anyone about the insanity of addiction. My words came out like projectile vomit, and If I’m honest, I still cannot remember half the things I said.

I realised that the tears that flowed that morning was the same I’d expected to experience all those years ago. I was crying because I missed him and would never have the chance to tell him how much I loved him just one last time. After an hour, I ended the call, thankful for the listening ear. I felt exhausted, but I also felt lighter and whilst it wasn’t a pleasant experience to go through, I know it was very much needed. I might not be able to tell dad face to face that I still love him, but I can through my writing. I could refer to it as a love letter. 

I now know it was never writer’s block or procrastination stopping me from writing. But that was some untapped grief locked behind a door, hidden in my subconscious. It was painful, but letting go of that untapped grief has allowed me to give myself permission to finally finish the end of dad’s story and to pick up where I left off about my journey with addiction.

So next time you see me, please ask me how the books going, but don’t ask me when it will be finished, because it will be ready “when I’m ready”.

Thank you for patience

Love Fordy x


I don’t write for financial reward or gain. I just want to help share my lived experience with others hoping that it helps. And I just love to write, so if ya fancy getting the occasional email (NO SPAM) with the most up to date blogs from yours truly, please feel free to subscribe at the bottom of the main page.



4 thoughts on “Writing has opened doors within me that I never knew existed

  1. Your words broke my heart
    I haven’t been on your journey , but I’ve had my own
    Two broken marriages, last one abusive,
    Watching my son and his wife deal with a murder , my oldest son barely talks to me , only when other people around , he likes to put on the act , I hate it
    Sooo much inside me I can’t say
    Glad you broke that barrier and released it
    When I reach that point , I’ll yell “ release the Kraken “

    1. Ahhh mate, You should start writing it out, get a journal perhaps, or better still write a letter that you will never send. We all need a way to release our emotions because otherwise they can turn on us physically and mentally xx Ps YOU ARE AN AMAZING BIRD x

  2. You said I’d identify with this, Tracey, and I do – I know the trapped emotion thing holding you back from writing, too. I’m so glad you were brave enough to push through and feel it. Thanks for showing those of us less brave (yet!) how x

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