Bittersweet Moments

Yesterday, I was in the middle of making the bed and thinking about showering and ducking out to exchange the wrong-size toilet seat I’d bought at Target the day before. It’s a long story. I’ll get back to it later.

Anyway, the phone rang and I learned from RWA® that my entry, Exposure, was a finalist in the Golden Heart® contest in the Romantic Suspense category. To say I was excited, nervous, happy, would be an understatement. I was in shock, and shaking. I’d gone to the RWA website earlier and watched the categories fill up and couldn’t take the suspense anymore. I’d figured the results were all in, and once again that slippery little GH nomination had slid out of my sweaty grasp.

At my computer, I typed up a couple of messages and then saved them to send later. I went to the RWA site to double check. My entry and name had not posted. Talk about suspense! I checked the phone to make sure that I hadn’t imagined the call. I mean, I am a writer, and I do make stuff up. : ) My name posted about ten minutes later, around 9:45 am. I made a couple of quick phone calls to family in the U.S. (it was too early to call Australia.) Then I zipped around the internet and hit all of my favorite spots: my critique partner, Gina, my old critique group, LARA my RWA chapter, Jenny Crusie and Argh Ink, Reinventing Fabulous, The BettyVerse, Facebook, Google+ and of course my Beta readers.

Congratulations rolled in, and I was overwhelmed by the genuine love. Thank you so much to everyone for sharing in my excitement. Your caring means so much to me. By the time I lifted my head it was noon. 

I still hadn’t gone out to exchange the toilet seat, and the old one had been tossed into the trash. The old seat was one of those plush jobs and it had formed a little crack. No comments on weight, thank you very much. I often use that bathroom because it’s the closest one to the living room and my office. I never turn on the light even if it’s nighttime, and if I’m watching TV I leave the door open so I don’t miss anything. So Sunday night, exhausted from doing housework, and annoyed with my incorrect purchase, I poured a glass of wine and watched a movie on HBO. Halfway through the movie, I hurried to the loo and sat down and almost fell into the bowl. I’d forgotten the seat had been removed. I laughed hysterically and then closed the door and left it closed as a reminder. It felt good to laugh.

I’d been housebound and grieving for a week, because my eighteen year old nephew had died in a car accident in Australia. I’d talked with my mother and siblings back home, and mentioned the GH to Mum and that the nominations were also the day of Josh’s funeral. She said, “Maybe he’ll bring you luck. Maybe he’ll watch over you and pull a few strings.” We laughed about that because many years ago I had subsidy published a couple of books before self-publishing was considered okay. One book was set in the Hunter Valley vineyards where Josh’s family live. He took my book to school for show and tell and talked about his Aunty Roben, the famous author. <g> I think he was about eight years old.

I called my mother before the funeral, after showering and putting on some make up and my orange shirt to honor Josh. All of his mates were wearing orange tee-shirts to the funeral. Mum was so happy when I told her my news about the GH. She said this would give everyone something positive to think about and look forward to. Honestly, to me it felt like a message of love from Josh. His personal statement on Facebook was: If you really want something you better make sure you get it. He knew I wanted that GH nomination and that I’d worked hard to get it. So behind the curtain he pulled the strings, and I smiled and whispered, “Thanks mate.”  

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44 Responses to Bittersweet Moments

  1. Oh, Robena. I didn’t know about your nephew. What a tragedy, and I’m so sorry. Sounds like he really is watching over his Aunty Roben this week.

    Sending you lots of love & congrats again on finaling in the GH.

  2. My love and prayers go out to you and your family, Robena. What a wonderful accomplishment on your part! I’m sure Josh is proud, once again, of his aunt.

  3. Dee J. says:

    Oh Roben,

    I’m sobbing my heart out. I don’t know why I missed the news about your nephew. My deepest condolences to you and your family. I know Josh was watching out for you just as my mom was watching out for me when she died. I was mostly broke the day she died and it was going to take my last dollars to get to Texas for her funeral. That day my agent called and told me my check had come in from my first Tide commercial. It was the biggest check I’d ever seen in my life. I felt like my mom was with me as Josh is with you. His spirit will always be there. Life is so crazy with the extreme highs and lows. Josh wants his auntie to be happy. Congratulations at such a bittersweet time. I’ll be cheering you on in Anaheim. Love ya.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks so much, D.J. It was hard to deal with because of the distance. I’d just driven home through a horrible snow/sleet storm in the Banning Pass, after our LARA meeting, and got the call that night. Mum convinced me not to turn around and drive like a crazy person back to L.A. and then to pay for an exorbitant airline seat. But it felt strange not to go. However, I became the person my siblings called and cried with freely, so I felt I was of some comfort.

  4. Carol says:

    Roben ~ I’m so sorry to hear of your nephew’s passing. Thinking of you and your family, love and prayers to sustain you through the grief.

    Cheers on the GH nomination. I’ll cheer you on from the audience.

  5. Robena Grant says:

    Thank you, Carol. I hope we can meet at the conference. Even if only to grab a quick cup of coffee. Maybe we should organize a Betty and Cherry meet. : )

  6. German Chocolate Betty says:

    So sorry to hear about your nephew, and glad that, in spite of this tragedy, your family can still cheer you for your big accomplishment.

    (BTW, I had the feeling for a while after my first husband died that he too was sitting up there, pulling strings for me, as, in spite of his untimely death and all the sadness that went with it, a number of good things happened to me in that first year. I think he helped…)

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks so much GCB. It is strange how many times good things happen in the wake of tragedy. I like to think it’s the universe showing us that life goes on and we have to keep moving forward.

  7. Delia says:

    Robena, it makes my heart hurt to hear about your nephew. Much love and prayers to you and your family.

    And as much as it’s nice that you’ve got someone pulling some strings for you, I’m sure Aunty had as much to do with it as Josh. Congratulations.

  8. Maria says:

    Oh, tears. I am tearing up at work. What a lovely tribute to your nephew and the bittersweet of life. Big hugs, I am so happy for you and so inspired by you. Your story makes my heart sing and weep. Thank you, Robena.

  9. June says:

    Robena – I am so sorry to hear about your nephew. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be. I know it must be an enormous help to your siblings to have you to call.

    Congratulations on your GH nomination! That is truly thrilling!

    • Robena Grant says:

      June, thanks for stopping by. Your words mean so much to me. A friend emailed and spoke of the leaving of a gap in our lives. It’s so true. But I think it’s our job to fill up that gap with treasured memories, and while we can never completely fill it, it does somehow help and heal.

  10. Hi Robena!
    Congratulations again! Yay for the good news. Life has a way of balancing good and horrible – I know we’d spoken about the tragedy of your nephew last week.

    Shortly after my first book sold, I got word my brother had cancer.

    I think the lesson is to notice and enjoy the joyful moments in life and not to let them slip by even when we are grieving or brokenhearted.

    We have to take what we can from an often stingy universe, right?

    Hugs (both happy and sad)

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thanks so much, Lynne.
      Yes, I remember when you lost your brother. That was a rough time for you. It is such a weird balancing act to recognize your achievements and be happy for them while dealing with losing a loved on. Life certainly is strange at times, interesting, but strange.

  11. merry says:

    I’m so terribly sorry about your nephew. I love the thought that he’s watching over you and everyone he cared for. I’m sure he’s rejoicing for you and your wonderful accomplishment.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Merry, I’m so happy you dropped by. Yes, it’s important to hold those thoughts. None of us knows for sure what happens after we pass so it’s nice to imagine the spirit lives on.

  12. Roben,
    It is devastating to lose someone you love to such a random thing as accident. At the same time, to reach a goal you have had for so many years is such a blessing. The yin and yang of life, joy through the sorrow, it’s what makes us who we are.

    Sending you my love, and many hugs, and you know I’ll be cheering for you in the audience this summer. Josh is surely keeping watch!

    • Robena Grant says:

      Definitely yin and yang, Christine. You are so right. There has to be balance. Thanks for this, and I’m going to look forward to National. Win or not on that night, I figure I’ve already won. : )

  13. Nan says:

    Roben, we’ve already talked about our common experiences losing nephews in a tragedy, so I’ll simply add my condolences again here. But the big news about the GH is so terrific! And yes, I believe that Josh and our Kyle are up there in heaven, cheering us on. Take it to your heart and hold it dear–it’ll warm you when you need it.

    Wish I could be with you at the banquet to cheer you on, but I’ll be there in spirit, sending lots of winning vibes.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Yes, Nan, I agree. Our angels will watch over us. And maybe we’ll get to meet each other, in person, at a future conference. I already think I know you anyway. ; )

  14. Robena – I am misting up with tears. But you know, I am very spiritual and think that Josh knew you were having a hard time of it, and suddenly GH was there to help brighten your days. While I’m so sad about him, I am happy for you to have a bright spot and so many of us will be at RWA this year to cheer you on. Hugs and love,

  15. That’s a rainbow day. Some rain – your nephews funeral – I’m so sorry for your loss. Then a rainbow – your nomination – I’m so happy for you.

  16. Thea says:

    Oh, my. Sorry, sorry about the death of your nephew, a hard loss.
    So glad about your GH nom.
    Condolences and congratulations, I guess that’s life.

  17. Robena Grant says:

    You’re right, Thea. It is life, and difficult as it is we just have to keep moving forward. Thanks for the congrats!

  18. Janie Emaus says:

    Sorry for you loss, and very excited for you nomination. I’ll be there to cheer you along.

  19. Robena Grant says:

    Thank you, Janie. I think we’ll have a fun time at Nationals. : )

  20. Oh Roben, I am so very, very sorry (about your nephew, not the GH). I am sure he did what he could to pull those strings and is cheering you on, from wherever he is, but you have to did yourself credit, too. If you hadn’t written a great book and then had the courage to submit it, you wouldn’t be a finalist, and that part is all YOU.

    Congratulations, condolences, and a moment of shared giggles – don’t believe there is a woman alive who hasn’t gone for a near-swim in her commode at some point.

  21. Robena Grant says:

    Thanks, Bev. You won’t believe it took until yesterday afternoon to exchange that seat. As soon as I got home, the phone started to ring, and ring, and I’d left the door to the bathroom open, and the seat in the laundry room, and totally forgot about attaching it. Hours later I ran down the hall and almost took another dip in the bowl. : )

  22. Dear Roben

    Have only just raised head after final marking and report writing sessions of the term to see your happy and your sad news. So sorry to hear about your nephew, it always feels so hideously wrong when we lose family members younger than us. But huge congrats on the GH final, and will be crossing fingers for you to win.

    All the best from a (temporarily) sunny Brussels.

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thank you for coming by, and for both your condolences and congratulations. It was a tough day.
      Hope the sun sticks around in Brussels for a bit longer. : )

  23. Oh my dear girl. My heart breaks for you and your family. Josh is your angel now for sure. Nationals are going to be one amazing place full of those who love you and all you have meant in our lives. Whether you win the big statue or not, you have won recognition long deserved and well earned.

    Christine London

  24. Leigh Court says:

    Roben –
    I’m so sorry to hear about your nephew.
    I echo what Christine said…whether or not you win that Golden Heart medal, your talent and hard work have already been rewarded. And from now on, you can call yourself a “Golden Heart award-nomiated author” just like actresses call themselves “Academy Award-nominee Jane Doe”

    Congrats and condolences,

    • Robena Grant says:

      Thank you, Leigh.

      Your comment made me laugh out loud. I’m going to tell people that is my title and how I wish to be introduced from now on: Golden Heart Award-nominee Robena Grant. Ha ha.

  25. Julie says:

    Being in and out and in and out with my current Mercury-induced internet issues, I missed this.

    What a roller coaster of emotions! It’s exhausting isn’t it?! Judy was right, a Rainbow Day for sure, including the splashes!

    From my heart to yours. Big love.

  26. londonmabel says:

    A week of mourning, gladness, and toilet humor. shniff shniff

    Congratulations. And FGBVs to your family.

  27. Robena Grant says:

    Thank you, Mabel. It was a bit of a rollercoaster ride of emotions, and that’s for sure. Things seem to have settled down a bit now.