A Glimpse Into a Writer's Soul featuring Elizabeth Walker, Author of The Tablet of My Heart

Getting glimpses into authors' souls might be wonderfully entertaining for readers; but for the authors themselves, it's sometimes a difficult road they have traveled and I'm not talking the publishing road. I'm talking the life road.

What many readers do not realize is that it's that life road that molds the author and becomes the backbone of the writer's soul which makes him or her the writer he is today.

Elizabeth Walker is the author of a soul touching book called The Tablet of My Heart in which she is traveling all over the cyber world talking about her book on various blogs during her first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion.

While her publishing road has been a rough one like many new authors, her life road hasn't been exactly easy, either. For his virtual book tour stop at The Writer's Life, I asked Elizabeth to open up her soul and tell us about something in her life that no one knows about. Elizabeth didn't disappoint, but she certainly pulled on those heart strings.

I'm proud to present a piece written by Elizabeth Walker about the heartaches the wife of a man off at war endures, always wondering if he will ever come back home again, only this war wasn't a war of the truest sense, but a war within himself as he faces an addiction that destroyed his family.

The Light in the Window
by Elizabeth Walker

I lit a candle once, years ago, with more purpose than I ever had – or ever will I suspect. I lit it tearfully and placed it on my windowsill to bring my husband home. I told him that I would light it every night that he wasn’t with us. I begged him to come home and I told him to try with all his might to remember the flame, to remember what it meant. I asked him to consider that flame while he was out in the dark night fighting a war that he had volunteered for. I lit it to give him strength to make it home, to be a light for him when he faced that dark hour and give him strength to hang on tight and make it back to our sons, and back to me. I spent many nights crying by the light of that candle, praying for his return. Some nights I would actually hold his clothes, smell them and cling to them as if the man that I loved so deeply was still inside of them. Most often I cried wondering if he would ever return to wear them again. I cried on them as though the shoulders of the man I married were right under the fabric in my hands, and could carry the weight of my heartache.

Many nights my eyes found refuge from the threat of tears in the image of our little boys, safe and warm and smiling in their beds. In my memory it seems like I floated over to them, kissing their little blond heads and wishing them sweet dreams – It must be my heart that makes the memory float, the way the memory of their serene faces makes my heart float.

But, it was different when my eyes weren’t on them anymore. Once I left their room, I found myself alone in the cold emptiness that filled the rest of the house – an old familiar emptiness that had threatened me in my childhood when my father passed away. Though I had conquered that emptiness once before, I questioned whether I had the strength to fight with it again.

My husband was away fighting a war. I could not help him no matter how desperately I wanted to. My pleas couldn’t bring him home no matter how genuine they were. The emptiness, fear and frustration were consuming me. The lonely nights came and went many, many times. I cringed at the danger that I knew that he was in and my heart sank from the fear of it. I often wondered, if he did return, would he would be whole, would he would be the same person. It wasn’t only the nights that were hard. My oldest son was six on the day I first watched his heart turn blue by the look on his face. It was heart wrenching to see how long sorrow framed his eyes before tears even began to trickle out of them. I know the look that a heart paints on a face when it is broken, my heart painted the face so many times. You might think that a six year old couldn’t possibly understand true heartache, but I am telling you – yes, they can. I watched my child’s heart break repeatedly right in front of me, as he persistently questioned why his father hadn’t come home, and I consistently found myself unable to explain.

Every day I tried to hide from my children what he was doing in his absence, in order to keep them safe from knowing that some monsters are real, and every day I wondered if I was doing the right thing. I didn’t know where he was. I didn’t know if he was dead or alive. When he was gone, every knock at the door held the possibility of heartache as I prepared myself to meet an officer at the turn of the handle, there to tell me that he would never come home again.

Sometimes in my tears I even thought at least then I would know. Other times I thought, If this battle doesn’t kill him – It will surely kill me. One night my little candle revealed the very truth that I was terrified to find. The way it happened was curious. My one-year-old was sitting on my lap. His silky blond hair felt like velvet on my cheek. He wiggled out of my arms to an upright position, facing the window behind the couch. We sat there together staring at the dancing flame. His eyes watched the flame in awe and curiosity. While he watched it dance in the window I watched it dance in his shiny eyes. His pudgy round cheeks tickled me. I stared at him thinking that there was nothing in this world that would keep me from protecting him and his brothers, from giving them every ounce of me in order to make them feel loved and secure. Those four boys were in every beat of my heart. As a child I often felt invisible and insignificant. I promised myself that I would not let that happen to my children. And that’s when it happened. He blew it out. He puckered his little pink lips and blew. My flame was reduced in a second, to smoke. He looked at me with innocent pride, clapping his hands, and smiled – and to my surprise, there it was…there was the flame – it was still burning right there in his young eyes. I had known for some time that my husband was not coming home, but in that moment I accepted it. My truth had been revealed in the single, silent moment that I realized; my children had to be the flame that fueled the hope inside of me. My heart was not reduced to smoke when the candle was. I saw in my son, in all of them, the strength and the will to fight this emptiness. I could make it! I knew I could, not because of me…because of them. My husband was not an American soldier. He was not a prominent citizen fighting a noble war for his country, though the war did threaten to claim his family as casualties. He was a cocaine addict. His battle lasted the final four of the ten years of our marriage, and was with a choice; cocaine or his family.

I held on to hope that my love could save him. I held on to hope that the fire in my heart could bring him home, but he didn’t come – until it was too late. The flame that my heart burned for him died in the light of the fact that – If I continued trying to save him from his addiction then his addiction would continue devouring every inch of my peace and happiness. If I let that happen then my children would not only lose their father but their mother as well. I wasn't willing to sacrificing them in order to keep it lit.

It’s amazing how much light one tiny candle, lit with so much purpose, shed on the truth – only after it went out.

Elizabeth Walker is the author of THE TABLET OF MY HEART. You can visit her website at www.thetabletofmyheart.net.
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