Losing and Finding Love:
I wasn’t sure where I’d begin or what I’d say on this blog today. As some of you know, I am a teacher by day, and this semester was especially brutal. I fell behind in just about everything, especially my writing, and felt very sorry for myself. Anger and bitterness defined me for a time, and then, a tragedy forced me to see how small my problems were in the grand scheme of life.
If you are a college sports fan, you probably know that LSU, my state’s flagship university, excelled in football this year. We are now in the championship game, and our Saints are in the NFL playoffs. The whole state is rocking, but a tragedy dampened our celebrations. Carley McCord, a young sports reporter, died in a plane crash while traveling to the LSU game in Atlanta. She and four other victims died in the early morning hours before the game. Carley was the daughter-in-law of Steve Ensminger, an LSU coach. This news was tragic for LSU and the whole New Orleans sports world. Many local players and coaches knew this young woman and her family. Her heartbroken husband has expressed regret that he missed his wife’s call before she left for Atlanta. His voice mail contains only her voice, telling him she loved him. I’m sure that Steve Ensminger, Jr. will play that message over and over, perhaps never erasing it.
The tragedy made me think of my life and my writing. I’m fortunate to have the love of an amazing and brilliant man who respects me. We became lovers in our twilight years and celebrate our married love daily. I have lost at love before and know too many who have before they can say the words they want to express. Carley McCord’s death made me think of the losses I’ve created for my characters. In Love at War, many of my characters lose those they love in war. Keith, the gifted sniper, rots in a POW camp while Nuala enters the world of espionage to defeat the enemy. George loses his wife during Pearl Harbor, but he finds love again with a beautiful but mysterious Japanese woman. In From Ice Wagon to Club House, Jude Mooney loses his fiery wife Maeve to tuberculosis, the disease that took so many during the Depression, a time of want. It will take Jude another two novels to find love again. In The Progeny, his sons also lose the women thy love to violence, but their stories will end in another novel.
The prayers of all Louisiana are with the Ensminger family as they mourn Carley McCord. We all pray that her grieving husband will take comfort in their shared memories and will eventually find peace and love again.