Monday, May 4, 2009

An Inspiration for All: Meet Connie Pombo

Before I go into detail about this week's book, I have an announcement. I've recently been named the National Christian Writing Examiner at Over there, we'll discuss all things related to Christian writing - conferences, resources, training, interviews, profiles, and more. Hope you'll come over and check us out!

With this week leading to Mother's Day, I interviewed one of my favorite moms and authors to share a bit of her life with us. Her testimony is so tremendous, we'll share it today here on Pix-N-Pens and on TheExaminer, and then I'll share the rest of her interview on Wednesday and Friday over at TheExaminer. Be sure to check over there for the rest of the interview.

Connie Pombo's latest release, and a perfect Mother's Day gift, is The Ultimate Mom. Do yourself a favor and pick one up. Connie has three stories in the book, and many other authors share heartwarming stories, too.

CWE: The testimony of your life is tremendous, and such an inspiration to so many - myself included. Please share your story with us.

CP: It’s interesting because I never sought to be a writer/speaker, but sometimes you have an epiphany and you realize that’s what you were meant to do your entire life—you just never realized it before.

The day I started to write was the “worst” day in my life; I heard the words no woman wants to hear, “you have breast cancer.” I was forty years old at the time and my boys were just 9 and 14 and I wondered, “What are they going to do without a mother.”

My high school friend flew to Pennsylvania to take care of me during treatment and she handed me a journal with the words, “Start Writing!” I let that journal collect dust because I was numb and reeling in shock. As with many cancer survivors, the last day of treatment was like falling off a cliff. I held it all together until that last day of radiation treatment and then I “crashed.”

I don’t remember walking out into the hospital parking lot, driving home, or how my dozen pink celebratory roses made it from the back of the car seat to the kitchen table, but I was numb. For the first time in my life, my family saw me without a smile on my face or laughter in my voice. My husband sent me off to California to visit my folks, but that week still remains much of a blur. I had hit rock bottom and was diagnosed with clinical depression.

When my husband picked me up at the Baltimore Washington Airport, he couldn’t believe how I had digressed so quickly in such a short amount of time. As we drove up the driveway to our home, I noticed that my husband had perfectly landscaped the backyard (that’s what husbands do when their wives are going crazy). And in the center of the yard was a gorgeous pink dogwood tree. I asked him, “What’s this?”

And with tears glistening in his eyes, he said, “This is our tree of life; we’re starting a new beginning. God hasn’t brought us this far just to leave us.”

For the first time in weeks I saw a glimmer of hope; it was brief but it was there.

The next few weeks allowed me to build on that glimmer of hope, and one afternoon as I looked out at that tree in full bloom, I asked myself the question, “What if I had a year to live, what would I do?”

I randomly wrote down 27 things I wanted to do before I died: write a book, take a photography course, go back to Italy and visit friends, and #27—parachute out of an airplane. It was my “bucket list.”

That was 13 years ago and today I’ve accomplished every single passionate “to-do”—except #27. Through my tragedy, pain, and loss, I discovered my passion of speaking and writing. Ironically, I worked seven more years in the medical field, so I could obtain “life insurance,” and the day that my policy was handed over to me, I quit the medical profession. And I’ve never looked back. Shortly afterwards, I attended the Weekend of Hope in Stowe, Vermont for cancer survivors and their families, and during that week I discovered my passion for writing. I took a “Writing to Heal” course, and finally got out that journal that my friend had given me at the beginning of treatment and started writing. I felt like Forrest Gump, I just kept writing and writing. I’m not sure when I’ll stop; I hope never!

Head over to TheExaminer on Wednesday to read Part 2 of our interview with Connie Pombo.

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Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Connie -

We recently became friends on Facebook. Thank you for sharing your story. I know it will give many hope.

Susan :)

Connie Pombo said...

Thanks, Susan! I need to link this to my blog...this week got away from me!