The true story behind “Crossing”


Hello everyone!

I just wanted to share a little something personal about the postcard story Crossing posted previously.

As I sit here writing this my 89-year-old grandmother is taking some of her last breaths.  She was diagnosed with colon cancer in September and in the last few days contracted pneumonia.  She is on hospice care already so they are not treating her in any way except to make her as comfortable as possible.   She also has Alzheimer’s disease and while she has remained herself for the most part, she is unable to hold on to new information for no more than a few moments.  For this reason we did not tell her she has cancer.  Until recently she remained at home but when she had a floor and was unable to walk by herself after she was placed into a rehab.

Many people, after having read Crossing, have questioned whether Alzheimer’s can really disrupt her pain.  While I admit I do not know if this happens across the board or if this is simply my grandmother’s legendary ability to take pain, I can tell you that she is not suffering because of Alzheimer’s and that is fact in our case.  I’m deeply thankful for it.  They only way we know she is having some discomfort is that she gets fidgety but if you ask if she’s in pain, she says “I feel good.  Let’s go home.”  Last night she had what was likely her last rally.  She’s sleeping and breathing very heavily and I will be leaving to be by her side very soon.

I wrote Crossing right after we found out about the cancer.  It was part biographical and part fiction.  I got up in the morning, sat down and wrote the story.  I normally struggle with stories, hem and haw over them until I rip them to pieces and give up.  However this story flowed through me and after just one or two proof reads I submitted it to be published.

When I sat with my grandmother a few days ago, I had a surreal moment where I felt like I was in the story, right down to the view outside the window.  I wrote that all without having been to the rehab yet and it was amazing to me how accurately I wrote things.

I plan on going to see her later today but first I have my duties for the church, which today include setting the altar for tomorrow’s services.  Thinking of going to the church today fills me with fear and joy.  It has always been the place that I go to be with those who have already left me.  I feel my mother there all of the time and expect to feel my grandmother there too.  However, there is a good chance she will pass any moment now and I almost feel like it will happen while I’m at church, serving God in her honor.  This is the major reason I did not ask for someone to cover me there today. I want to set the table for her, but I do not want her to go.




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