The Behind-the-Scenes Reasons I Wrote Then Comes Love
No matter how old you get, every stage of life comes with anxiety about change.
This is something I learned while watching my mom care for my ninety-something grandfather as we packed up his home near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and moved him to an apartment complex in our hometown. As I watched my mom help him navigate the change that comes with moving from a house to a complex for those 55 and over, I started to notice something: a sense of community.
Visiting my grandfather and hearing my mom's stories, I saw a rich setting full of emotion. There were humorous moments and misunderstandings as my mom took on the role of caregiver, which certainly jostles the parent-child relationship. There was fear and difficulty as my grandfather adjusted to a new home, town, and life. There was friendship with the elderly living in the apartment complex, but also with their families. The community, as I came to learn, in this apartment building wasn't just about the people living there--it was also about their families.
And, above everything else, I saw something surprising: Love.
I would see men and women holding hands on the bench outside, talking about their date nights and talking about finding love in a later stage of life. It made me realize two things:
1. Love doesn't have an age limit.
2. Even though each stage of life is different, each stage is filled with the same complex emotions of the human journey.
It was from these facts that Then Comes Love was born.
I drew on the humor from the community my grandfather lives in. I drew on the complex emotions and interactions between the people living their and the interactions between their families. I saw an opportunity for a rich setting with complex characters and emotions.
I also drew on my own family and the relationship between the women in it. I thought about how women in the family from different generations could still really help each other because in their own ways, their feelings and fears would be the same.
Charlotte, Annie, and Amelia came to be from these facts.
Charlotte, 80, is dealing with change in her life. She's moving from her home she lived in for decades with her late husband to an assisted-living facility, Wildflower Meadows. Wildflower Meadows becomes the backdrop and community for all of the interactions in the book. As she navigates the change in her life, she has to try to adjust to the new community and new rules...but she also has to adjust to the fact that her heart isn't done with love just yet.
Charlotte's daughter, Annie, is in her fifties and dealing with a mid-life crisis. She's gone through a terrible divorce while also trying to be a caregiver to her mother. Caught in the middle of several lives, she, too, finds that Wildflower Meadows will lead her to a new set of possibilities.
Finally, Charlotte's granddaughter, Amelia, is in her thirties and quite the wild child. Not ready to settle down, she's lost in a stage of life where she doesn't know what she wants to be.
The three women come together through the Wildflower community in different ways, but all three learn that family sometimes helps us navigate the most difficult moments in life. Furthermore, all three find that love can come along at any time, even when we least expect it.
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