Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Grief

My Dad will have been gone four years this July. It was a long and hard death for him. He'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's nearly 20 years before. He outlived my Mom by five years, and struggled to the very end in a body that literally disintegrated around him. My sister and her son took care of him and I helped when I could. But in the end we could only wait until he gave up.

I don't remember everything that happened then, but this is what I do remember:
Reading saved my life. My oldest best friend, Loren Rhoads was finishing up her space opera trilogy, In The Wake of the Templars, which she had sold to Night Shade Books. The fact that my friend had made a sale to a major publisher was literally the best thing that happened in.... it seemed like years.
She was on the tightest deadline I could imagine--it was months, where I take years to finish anything. Loren was doing it.

In the midst of all of that, she started sending me the book in progress, chapter by chapter. Now I couldn't tell you if it was one a week or a day, but it seemed as though, I woke up every day to something new, something exciting. Something that wasn't me at work, carrying my phone around all day waiting for the CALL.

My last memory of my Dad was that last day, sitting by his bed, trying to get him to wake up and take some water. It's also of Raena and her adventures. No More Heroes was so much more than a distractaction. It was a story that I could hang on to, in spite of everything. As I read Loren's story, I even had hope that there would be a time I could write my own again. I don't think I ever thanked her properly for that.