A little over two years ago, back in that fairy tale world known as pre-pandemic, my health nose-dived. I ended up bedridden, unable to do anything, much less write. By the time we officially entered lockdown, I laid by myself in a hospital room for five days with no visitors, then again for nine days after that.

What caused me to tank also screwed up my brain. I couldn’t remember what I’d said minutes before. I would say inappropriate things and not remember them. My family invented signals to let me know when to stop talking so they wouldn’t embarrass me. I couldn’t write…I could barely speak.

Once the doctors figured out the problem and treated me for it and all of its complications, a story brewed in my head. But I didn’t have the cognitive ability to put it to paper. It percolated for two years before my brain healed enough for me to start writing it.

During those two years, I kicked myself daily for not accomplishing anything until I accepted I needed time to heal. Patience has never been one of my gifts, but I learned to give myself and my brain the same grace I would have given anyone else in my position.

That’s an important lesson for everyone — not reserved for the chronically ill. Some days you survive, and others you thrive. Recharging, whether it be a week’s hiatus or a year’s, is absolutely okay.

Grace. Give it to yourself, and you’ll be amazed at the outcome. I’m 40k words into that story now, and I take time off to recharge. Here’s to finishing it…with grace.