Hello, dear, dear friends. I feel like it’s been ages since I was last blogging and, yes, it’s been awhile. But the break was restorative. Well, IS restorative because I’m still on break, both from here and from work. I spent a few hours on New Year’s Eve catching up with some of you, the experience a reminder of why I blog at all. Over this past year I’ve shifted from seeing my blog as a “platform” for my as-yet unpublished novels to a place where I can spend time with people I care about, new and old friends.
Now, some of this reflection is due in part to WordPress alerting me to my “2015 year in blogging” report. The biggest surprise from this report: My 2013 post on the suicide of Creighton in Treme has the most views of all my posts for 2015! In fact, only one of the top five viewed posts was actually written in 2015. WordPress suggests that my writing has “staying power.” Excuse while I pick myself up off the floor where I fell laughing.
Like so many others, I’m happy to kiss 2015 good-bye. My roller-coaster ride through the year hasn’t been as terrifying as some. At times it was so boring the best I could was roll my eyes, and the real lows happened to other people, loved ones, family. The worst is when all you can do is sit in your little coaster and feel utterly helpless. A few months ago one of my sisters was told by her family physician that she might have Alzheimer’s. I wanted to cry like a baby, but I was at work when I chose to return her phone call so I had to choke down the sobs.
I immediately thought back to the day she married, me standing there in the pew next to my other siblings. My 9-year-old self stared at her 19-year-old self as she stood before the altar in a white gown. It was all I could do to keep from jumping over the pew and screaming, “No! Don’t go!” She was (is) my favorite sister. The one who taught me how to do the Twist.
The mere thought of her having Alzheimer’s brought back my 9-year-old self and all her selfish fears. Then, after a couple of months of waiting for a more definitive diagnosis from a doctor who specializes in Alzheimer’s, I get this voice mail from my sister:
Sister: The doctors say I don’t have Alzheimer’s.
Sister: I have Parkinson’s.
Me: WTF! @#$%^&
Strange as it sounds, the Parkinson’s diagnosis (as much as they can diagnose the disease) is welcomed news. Better that than Alzheimer’s. Even her doctors say so. She has a lot more tests to go through, but she’s already feeling better with the medications she is on and with the knowledge that she may not lose her mind after all. She has six grandchildren, you see, and she wants to know them as they grow up.
So I’m more than happy to say good-bye to 2015 and bring in 2016 with the faith that I won’t lose my sister all over again.
Before I go, I want to give a shout-out to the top five of my friends who have commented the most on my blog:
Jill Weatherholt — Jill is living the dream many of us aspiring writers have: she won a book contract and is currently working on edits with her publisher! Go, Jill!
Phillip McCollum — Phillip is the proud author of a little boy named Angus. Phillip doesn’t blog much these days because he’s busy perfecting the role of father and husband and all-around great guy, but you can follow his journey on Twitter at @beatbox32.
I love you guys, and I love each and every one of you who spends time with me here or elsewhere in this wide, strange, and wonderful world.
Happy New Year!