In the 1990’s, I worked as a freelance writer for a local newspaper in suburban Chicago. I covered everything from cloning & measuring the risk of heart disease to my “Day in the Life” series where I spent the day at local businesses ranging from a veterinarian to a bakery (that was an early wake-up call.)

A few years later, I started working for Legacy.com which hosts online obituaries for newspapers around the world. I loved that potential for connection; that someone sitting in an army base in Afghanistan could sign a guest book for a relative who passed in Illinois (true story.) I remained there for many years until my husband and I made the decision to move to Florida. Most of our family is here including my mother, who in recent years, has needed more assistance.

I missed writing, so I started to write about those every day situations that come with an aging parent. I amassed a ton of stories. Do you take away the car keys? When? The checkbook? When? How do you navigate their determination to remain independent?

The stories evolved into the blog Leaving The Door Open which officially launched April 29, 2019 as a way to share how both my family and readers have solved these aging parent issues.

And just as the blog was attracting more attention, I was diagnosed with cancer. I started to write about that too. Then, COVID struck our world. The blog began to take a new direction.

Life takes us down paths we never expected. The paths I’m referring to are the random events which suddenly appear in the spaces parallel to your everyday life, but almost instantly become a catalyst in steering you in a new direction. For me, it is those unexpected paths which make the most compelling real life stories.

Don’t write me off as too serious though! I love to laugh, relish a good pun, and love a good scary movie. I just have this thing about writing about the realities of life. I think I remain a reporter at heart.

I am also widely open to writing or sharing the realities of your life. If you would like to share a guest post on just about any topic, or be “interviewed” through written questions, contact me at shareastory@leavingthedooropen.com.

Twitter: @opendoorstories

Melanie M. Stewart ©