Thursday, November 26, 2015

When is the right time? Tricia McGill


It’s always best to know when it is time to leave, or when it is the right time to let go of the past. Some people can never make the right decision and there is nothing more pathetic than hanging on to a love that has obviously shriveled and gone, or a treasured possession that simply has been around too long.

Let me explain why I have been contemplating this subject. The other day I sold two gold rings. Not such a great decision you might think. To start at the beginning, I had to meet someone in another suburb where I knew they had one of these stores where you can either borrow money or sell objects—such as gold and anything else of value, so I thought it a good opportunity to take these rings and some other articles to see what I could get for them. Let me explain this store. It is basically what would, in the old days, have been a pawn shop. You know, where they had three balls hanging outside and an old miser inside behind the counter rubbing his hands together at the money he was about to make out of some poor soul who had hit hard times.

Times haven’t changed so much. Believe me, I was astounded and heartsick when I saw the people in there who were trying to get as much as they could (probably to pay debts). One young fellow had two electric guitars and was being told they weren’t worth much. Not sure how much he eventually received. A woman was selling (or pawning) a necklace and a brooch, and looked shocked at the amount she could get for them. But what was worse was the list on the wall explaining what the repayments would be on a paltry loan. One other young man had a pile of payment receipts in his hand and paid a balance so that he could collect his guitar. It was apparently the day for guitarists to retrieve, or sell their treasured instruments.

I digress, as usual. Back to my two rings. One was the signet ring I gave my husband on his 21st birthday many moons ago, and the other my wedding ring. Now, you might think it callous of me to even consider selling off these treasures. But it wasn’t by any means. My husband was an inveterate bargainer and liked nothing better than haggling over a price of something. Just ask anyone who knew him what it was like to buy a new car or even a washing machine! He would drag me all over the city to get the right price, and I know he would be pleased for me that I got a good price for a ring he barely wore. He wasn’t a jewellery type of person. And the other ring-mine, wasn’t the cheap little one he placed on my finger in that freezing cold church well over 50 years ago. No, this one was my second ring that he brought back from England as a gift after one of his numerous trips home. It was time to part with both.

I’ve been blessed, as I have never had the awful decision to make of letting a lover go when the love had fizzled out. But I made the decision to let my husband go when the time was right. He passed away in November and it wasn’t until the following March that I knew it was time. I woke up that morning and knew exactly where he was going, so rang my sister to tell her I was going to scatter my husband’s ashes. She and a friend came along with me and I took him to a beautiful spot near where he loved playing golf. I chose this place as it reminded us of Cornwall where we both loved to spend holidays. As I scattered his ashes from a clifftop I told him he could stay around or go home to his beloved England. Soon after that he came to me in a dream. The strange part was, he was wearing a bow tie and dinner suit. Now, he was more comfortable in a track suit and I was lucky to get him to wear a tie once a year, if that. He had obviously dressed up for the occasion to let me know he was going and this was goodbye. I am sure he took my advice and went home to London where he came from. He knew it was time to go and I knew it was time to let him go.

As writers we often like to cling on to our characters. It’s a good thing to know when the time is right to let them go their separate ways. Ask any writer and they will probably tell you they had one favorite they just hated saying goodbye to. For me, when I finished Mystic Mountains I just knew I had to continue on to let readers know how the future mapped out for Tiger and Bella. The intention was to continue on with their eldest son’s story, but Remy intervened and decided he had a better story to tell. Same for Travis, I simply couldn’t let his story end after The Laird, so Travis got his chance to tell how his life went. But then I had to let them go too.

I’ve always believed that life is made up of a series of pathways. We come to a crossroads or fork in the road where we have to make the decision which direction to head off in. I thank the Lord that I have been fortunate enough to choose which path to take (or Fate has helped me) and it has always been the right time for me.
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