By Donna Stone
SCWW Secretary/Chapter Liaison
Long before the launch of CaringBridge, I confided in my friend the keyboard and shared updates on my son’s health situation. We needed advice, guidance, and prayers. The dramatic swings in prognosis made simple, normal conversations unnecessarily lengthy and emotional. My keyboard didn’t seem to mind if the hour was late, and it didn’t seem to judge the guiltless confessions of a frustrated mom. As time went by, my keyboard started speaking to me. Compassion. Direction. Hope. The words were small, but the meaning was powerful.
Prayer and writing provided cost effective therapy that didn’t require a co-pay or an appointment. Eleven years of worry, disappointment, brief moments of success, and tears were chronicled. I shared the hopeful highs of every new doctor visit, followed by the bitter lows of every heartless referral.
My keyboard wasn’t skittish when I overshared. It was understanding when I confided the shame of watching barbaric tubes and needles inserted into places that made my son cry. His need for educated health care decisions and earnest parenting inadvertently prompted my desire to write. The comfort and relief that came from sharing my vain, fruitless words made me become a writer.
A friend suggested I write something for publication. A short, fictional version of a real-life, comical night with my family was published in a little-known magazine and read by virtually no one, but earned a staggering $15! I was hooked.
I compiled and edited all of my gibberish into a non-fiction book called Tough as Stone – Brandon’s Story which was published in 2008. The real purpose of the book was to thank everyone who supported us and to encourage patients and caregivers to take ownership of their health. The book never saw a glimpse of the best seller list, but simply holding my humble words materialized on paper felt like winning a Pulitzer Prize.
The real victory was watching our son enjoy good health for the first time in his short life. The fruits of our struggle were visible in every day he went without pain. Words were no longer adequate. The Lord blessed us with a healthy child, while family, friends, and coworkers blessed us with their love and support.
Years later writing still feels therapeutic, powerful, and humbling. Sharing private thoughts in a public forum can be scary. In the words of my kids and Spider-Man, “with great power comes great responsibility.” My writing will never cure cancer or solve the world’s problem. However, if I use my modest words carefully and wisely to encourage or inform, then I think they are powerful.
Donna Stone is a native Carolinian and freelance writer since 2000. Her first non-fiction book, Tough as Stone – Brandon’s Story is based on her son’s lifelong health battle. Her freelance credits include children’s books, business profiles, copywriting, research material, magazine articles, web content, book reviews, and short stories. She currently writes two columns for Examiner.com and freelance assignments for oDesk and Freelanced. If she had spare time, she would spend it reading.