As a first time author I really had no idea what to expect. Before I even did my first author event all I did was visualise me with a stack of books and signing them as people lined up. I never thought I would have amazing, heartfelt conversations that would come to mean so much.
At my first author event, a woman came up to me and said "I have cancer, I am having one of my good days and I am currently going through chemo." I should have hugged her, I didn't expect to hear this and yet I should have. Michael looked so well for months, you couldn't tell he was stage 4 terminal cancer.
An older woman came up to me to say she lost her husband to cancer and kudos to me to be able to write about it. She couldn't, it has been two years and it is hard. She just doesn't know.
Another woman came up to tell me that she just lost her husband to cancer and they were married for over 25 years. She said "no one wants to talk about it." I hope she calls or writes me as I will talk to her and I told her that. I am no expert, I only know how I feel.
I was asked questions such as, have I dated since Michael died? How did he deal with the terminal diagnosis, did he accept that he was going to die? How did my sons feel about my dating someone who was dying?
Someone else's sister had gone through something similar to my story. The difference is that the man she dated was very sick but he chose not to reveal this to her until later.
A man came up to me and told me his wife was dealing with a major health issue, not cancer and she was going to be okay. He was so grateful, he just wanted to share his story.
As hard as it is to see people in pain, I am glad they trust me so much that they share their stories. I really do care and it is important to everyone who is grieving to know someone will just listen to them. The words I really came to hate at times were "Everything happens for a reason" or "God never gives you more than you can handle". Neither of these help when your heart has shattered into a million pieces.
I met another woman a few days ago. She told me she was reading my book and the page that she was on. She told me she was reading it every night. Her eyes welled up as she told me this. She said she was enjoying it so much. I am glad it is bringing her comfort when she is either remembering or dealing with something now.
If my book wasn't about cancer, loss and grief I wouldn't be the recipient of these very personal and touching stories.
Although I have been fortunate to sell many copies of my book, I have been more fortunate that so many strangers have shared their stories with me. For this, I am truly honoured. Thank you.