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 a new blog theme slowly emerged.

Life takes us down multiple paths we never expected. Sometimes, they are paths we never wanted. But life is big and it is random. (Think Forrest Gump’s life and the feather that floats and falls in no particular pattern at both the beginning and the end of the movie. His life was the very definition of random.) I want to write about where the feather falls and the realities that arrive with its landing.  Sometimes, it is great, and sometimes it is awful. But I always want to write about it honestly.

Don’t get me wrong though. I’m fun! I love to laugh, relish a good pun, watch scary movies and MLB baseball. I almost always focus on the bright side of life, but it is integral to me to “keep it real.” I just think I’m a reporter at heart. And I want to expand to be able to cover all the topics that float through my open door.

I am always interested in the life stories of others. If you would like to share a guest post, on any topic, contact me at shareastory@leavingthedooropen.com

Twitter: @opendoorstories

Melanie M. Stewart ©