Many weeks ago, it occurred to me that—as far as my blog was concerned—my dad was still alive.
I rather liked it that way, so I’ve resisted sharing any updates. But it’s been nearly a year since he died (on Day Plus 597), and while I don’t buy any bullshit stories about grief having a time limit, I’ve decided it’s past time to start writing again.
I’m a bit out of practice, so in the interest of self-care (and actually hitting publish on something for a change), I’ll be taking the easy route with a list of randomness. Join me, will you?
(Fair warning: When I say “list of randomness,” I mean it. I have no idea what we’re in for here.)
1. We got to keep dad for far longer than we should’ve. On Day Plus 863, I got up in front of a small group of people and told the story of his last three days. I may share that transcript here someday, but not today.
2. On Day Plus 789, my Uncle Ken—my mother’s only sibling—died rather unexpectedly. The fact that my mother is still upright is remarkable. She is remarkable.
3. My eldest daughter, whom we burdened with two middle names so someone would carry my dad’s surname forward (Emily Katelyn Thurston), received her Master of Social Work in May, passed her national exam, received her license, and landed a crazy-hard job as a hospital community liaison. She’s adulting so well, and I couldn’t be more proud.
4. My youngest daughter, who carries her pilgrim ancestor’s surname as her middle name (Rebekah Alden), is a singer-songwriter and senior Commercial Music major. I don’t get to see her perform nearly often enough, but when I get to hear one of her new songs, I feel so damn lucky. That’s the best phrase I can use to describe it.
5. In the fall of 2018, I got serious about making a living as a writer. Since then, I’ve been writing nonstop. For other people. Websites, email campaigns, business blogs, that sort of thing. It’s rewarding, but I have a book to write, dang it… so 2020 must be the year of finding balance.
6. Because I’ve been doing so much marketing-type writing, I’m fearful that I’ve lost my zip for “regular” writing. Time will tell.
7. I’m on a flight to Birmingham, Alabama right now, and the kid sitting next to me has his elbows in my space…so I have to sit crooked or risk bumping elbows. I’m not sure if I’m hoping he wakes up and sees this paragraph or not. (Oh heck. He just woke up.)
8. Why Birmingham? I’m heading to a “retreat” with a bunch of folks who do marketing-type writing like I do. I’m looking forward to it, but as an introvert I’m exhausted just imagining cocktail hour.
9. I hiked Half Dome in June, and I took rock-climbing lessons in September. I’ve done nothing since, and I hate that. I’m running out of time for this kind of nonsense to make much sense. I mean sure, there are 70-somethings who climb, but they probably didn’t start when they were nearly 50. You know? I need to get my stuff together.
10. Why do pilots use the word lavatories instead of restroom? Wait. What do you call the room with a toilet in in? Bathroom? Powder room? Sandbox? (<—- That’s what Prince Jack calls it. Or “Little Boys’ Room.” Or he’ll just announce he has to go “ten one hundred” which must be a throw-back to CB days.)
11. Yes, he’s still Prince Jack. He’s been traveling a lot—and will continue to do so until the end of the year. It makes for a lonely household.
12. I’m lonely a lot. I need to get out more.
13. Well, that took a bit of a dark turn, didn’t it? (I’m looking for a therapist—sort of. Don’t you worry.)
14. Should we get a second dog? To keep dog #1, Murphy Grace, occupied?
15. OK, now I’m just thinking out loud, and I shouldn’t subject anyone to that.
16. In case you’re wondering, I’m still pretty well disgusted by American Christianity and all things politics. We’re a mess, and I’m not sure how we’re going to pull out of it. Have I already ranted at you about empathy? I’ve concluded it’s what we’re missing. It’s the fundamental American problem. If we can figure out how to fix that, the rest will be easy.
17. Even though I brought two books with me, I bought another at the Midway airport: the 2019 edition of Best American Short Stories. I couldn’t help myself. It’s been my favorite series since the 90s.
OK, I’m done for today. Thanks for joining me here today. I’m feeling rusty, but it’s so good to be back. More soon.