Past Tense

I love words. Well-chosen verbiage captures my attention and stirs me inside. You could say that great writing speaks to me. ;)

My love of words led me to a journalism degree in college and then to a job as an editor for 11 years. I did have to brush up on my grammar in order to edit. It often came naturally to me; I felt what was correct and incorrect, even when I couldn't recall the exact rules.

My strengths involved the main idea. When you first choose a manuscript to publish, you work with an author to develop a story. Make sure it stays focused. Ensure the true meaning is conveyed to the reader. Then you proofread the details.

One detail I occasionally had to fix was verb tense. Authors choose to use present tense ("he says") or past tense ("she said") in a story. Rarely an author might slip up and switch tenses.

Last January, a dear, dear friend switched tenses. Kathy had an amazing life story focused on one main idea: loving Jesus. Nothing could shake the joy and hope she conveyed to others. But I found it so hard to switch tenses in speaking of her. I still want to refer to her as with us, present tense rather than past. She still remains in my heart daily. And I know she remains a present tense with the Lord.

Today, just over a year after Kathy's passing, I am heartbroken to find out that another friend has switched tenses. The same foe is to blame: cancer.

Suzanne's focus has been fierce. The main idea of her story has been loving her family and making every effort and sacrifice to retain her health and strength. Her humor and wit has never been phased. She has regaled us with tales from the absurd to the painful but always with spirit and smiles. Book club has had many entertaining stories outside the bound pages we read—thanks to Suzanne!

Early this morning, Suzanne's details changed. And I now have to proofread my words to speak of her in the past tense. It remains the hardest editing I have to do.

GriefKelly3 Comments