When I write my book, the last two things I write are the dedication and the acknowledgements.
I usually finish them up about three days before it’s due to my formatter. I need to think and reflect. Also, I know I’m going to forget something or someone, so I put it off. Now that I type this, I probably should rethink my plan. Anyway, there’s something so personal about writing both of those pieces for me. So many people along the way that help to shape the book, shape me, and shape where my head is at.
This time, the dedication for Say You’ll Stay was probably one of the most painful and cathartic things I’ve ever written.
First, I thanked the man who I thought was my everything for hurting me. By him letting me go it allowed me to find my husband. I know so many of you hate instalove, but I’ve lived it. I met my husband right after my break-up. It was a “summer fling”. A month later I was professing my love, and a year later, we were married. So, I’m THAT girl. I truly thank him, even though I’ve named a villain after him in my book … you’re welcome. (Don’t judge, you’d do it, too.)
Second, I’ve been pretty honest with everyone who knows me about my family. My parents divorced when I was nine (insert Beloved’s prologue). I was a daddy’s girl and it wrecked my world. Through my publishing journey, I’ve met so many who share very similar stories. But I was tired of living in my past.
Tired of letting one moment define a large part of my self-worth.
I let it go.
I wrote words that I’ll never say to his face. Things that I’ve held inside, questioned, wondered why I wasn’t good enough … but no more.
I got a call from two family members who read my books. Both of them cried reading it. They’ve seen me through the years grapple with how a man who was supposed to be there just disappear. Not only did he leave, he left me with parting words of not being “worth the trouble”. As a mother, I don’t get it. Then again, it’s probably a good thing. You know that saying … if you understand crazy, you’re probably crazy, too? I’m going to take that as a good sign. I don’t get him.
Writing Catherine’s story was necessary for me. I needed to let the broken little girl out. My scared, sad, desperate-to-be-loved self healed through that.
Writing this dedication allowed me to feel stronger about the broken girl who is learning to heal.