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. When do you take away the car keys? The checkbook? 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. Again, I was excited about that ability to connect.

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 and I saw a new blog theme slowly emerging.

Life takes us down multiple paths we never expected. Sometimes, they are paths we never wanted. Life can be so random. I think a perfect (albeit fictional) representation of that is Forrest Gump’s life; perfectly illustrated by that feather that floats and lands in no particular pattern at both the beginning and end of the movie.) My blog has grown to highlight the many areas of life where the feather can fall and the endless stories that exist there. Sometimes, they are great, sometimes they are humorous and sometimes they are awful. But I’ll always write about it honestly.

Don’t get me wrong though. I’m fun! I love to laugh (and it’s a head-turner kind of laugh), relish a good pun, watch scary movies and baseball. I almost always focus on the bright side of life, but it is also integral to me to “keep it real.” I just think I’m a reporter at heart.

For that reason, I am always interested in the life stories of others. If you would like to share a guest post on any topic, or be “interviewed” through written questions, contact me at shareastory@leavingthedooropen.com.

Twitter: @opendoorstories

Melanie M. Stewart ©