I wrote this blog a year ago – and for a bunch of “I got busy” reasons, I never published it. But today, I’ve come back to it, thinking about a last year and the moment I met Brenda Lee Free.
I don’t remember how I found her on Twitter, but @BrendaLeeFree was tweeting about the book she was about to release – near the time Our Interrupted Fairy Tale was scheduled to be launched.
A few friendly, yet distant exchanges, I clicked over to her webpage. I learned a little more about her book – and a little more about her love story. Ebb From The Shoreline was a story about her and her husband Kevin – their courtship and the weeks leading up to Kevin’s passing. Another young, super studly Canadian guy, succumbing to one of the rarest cancers in the world.
I have been following Brenda’s book/life journey for over a year – last fall, while doing a signing in hot and sunny Toronto, Brenda Lee walked into Chapters.
While she photographs well, she is prettier in real life – and I recognized her the moment she walked up to my table. I’ve never really met anyone online that I felt connected to so quickly. A big hug, less than 30 seconds of small talk and we got right down to it.
We spent the first ten minutes talking about our books, how they are doing and any tips we can offer the other. The remaining 20 minutes were spent going back and forth with blunt, honest, and genuine questioning as if we had been friends for the past four years.
How hard has it been writing about your person?
What does your new husband/boyfriend think about it?
What do your inlaws think of the book?
How did you get over the “hump” of feeling like you’re marketing a story that is about your life?
Do you still dream of him?
For someone I’d never met, from somewhere I’ve never heard of Pennsylvania, we seem to live somewhat parallel lives – and I could have talked to BLF for the whole day.
Before we parted ways, I offered to send her home with a book. Her cat shaped, blue eyes looked at me with the same semi-apologetic expression I would have given her if she would have asked me the same question, “No thanks. I’m not going to read it.”
I knew exactly what she meant and took no offense. No matter how similar our paths have been, how similar our hurt and loss has felt – neither of us were interested in reading about it. We get it – and neither of us care to take on another love and love-lost story.
I think that was the best part for me. Knowing that there is someone out there, someone I might never see again (but hope to), who knows what it felt like, and what it feels like now.
And with that little piece of freeing knowledge, I feel a little recharged, feel a little less guilty, and I’m so thankful that this little book has lead me to something as great as meeting Brenda Lee.
Today marks the seventh year since Kevin’s passing. And BLF – I don’t know how you’ll spend today nor do I know exactly how you’re feeling, but I want you to know that there is another girl, a timezone and country away that gets how sad, weird and warped a day like today feels. xo