Since the publishing of The Swan Garden, I have continued writing and hoping by the end of 2017, to have my second novel published. The idea behind the second novel was not difficult to decide. I didn’t want to give up Alice Leary, just yet. She had found a place in my heart and I was not ready to let go. I have to know that she has found peace.
Novel #2 will follow Alice Leary into the last stages of her life, where her daughters must figure how to care for her, and she must decide how she will draw them into her private circle of thoughts. Each of her daughters is very different in personality, as are children in real live families.
In my personal life, I have yet to have the opportunity to meet my birth-sisters, which for me would be the icing on the cake for this journey that has gone on for over 25 years. I would love to sit down and talk with them about their life with “our” mother. I would like to see their faces, watch their mannerisms, and understand our connection.
Stepping away from my imaginary world, I come back to my personal life, and can honestly say not a day goes by that I do not wonder how my birth-mother is, what she is doing, or by chance if I’m in her thoughts. I pray for the day she will become brave enough to draw her children in and tell them her secrets.
There is no question I am in her heart. I do understand that for our last meeting, when she told my husband I was her “blessed angel” who she carried in her heart. Even in this, I am still her secret, still carried so deep in her heart that she cannot move forward. I am just grateful that I am not buried in the “Garden of Angels,” in Castlepollard.
Though I have never held the secret my birth-mother has, when I look at my children I realize there are some things I will never tell them, not because I don’t love them, but because we all have pieces of our lives that we keep to ourselves. Things that I would not share with them are things that are mine, that do not have anything to do with them. People are allowed secrets. I know that my children have secrets from me and just as they should. They are adults, with private lives.
In the second novel, Garden of Nails, I have found a literary resolution to the lives of my character. The title of the book is very symbolic for me. After returning to Castlepollard the place of my birth I have come to learn the value of my life and the value of my birth-mother’s secret, as represented by the nails in the wall.
Standing in the cemetery, “The Garden of Angels” at Castlepollard I found myself changed forever because I realized buried in that “sacred” ground where the bodies of babies would forever remain a secret, and yet ironically honored by the representation of nails buried deep into the wall, and now the nails wrapped in ribbons, so they will never be forgotten. Ironic to never forget a secret.