NaPoWriMo,  Writing

And Death Derailed Her

When I decided to create this website almost a year ago I didn’t realize the amount of work it would be to bring my wild vision to life.  What I thought would take only days quickly became weeks then months of research and educating myself on how to build a professional-ish WordPress website.

I ignored much of the worn advice that literally everyone with a writer’s blog seemed hellbent to regurgitate ad nauseum in posts like “The Holy Mother Effing Grail of Creating a Freelance Writer’s Website – Niche up!” Instead I threw caution to wind declaring “screw the mandatory niche, all you blogging Karens!” and dove in head first.

After months of blood, sweat and tears I finally launched in early August. And for a short while, I was excited. Beyond excited actually because, for the first time ever, I had a purpose and a plan!   

If only I had known all that hard work would be so easily derailed thanks to a pulled back muscle, a trip to the ER, and a single phone call that haunts me still.

Pooh, they found something in my xray…”

I lost interest in writing after that call.  Everything just felt pointless and trivial once my dad had been given an expiration date thanks to stage 4 pancreatic cancer that had metastasized to his liver.

He died December 6th, 2021.  Part of me died that day as well. 

I now know that the cancer wasn’t just suddenly there overnight, but had probably always been there, living twisted and hidden in dad’s DNA like a ticking time bomb, watching, waiting for that perfect moment to show itself when the emotional fallout would have the greatest impact on all of us. It waited quietly through his early years serving as a Navy Frogman. It sat silent through his knee replacements and countless dermatological skin lesion removals and even waited through a quintuple heart bypass surgery in the 2008.

It waited patiently through covid and the entire year he and my stepmom lived in hyper isolation from the world to stay safe and healthy.

What it ultimately waited for was the camper – the one purchased in May to celebrate receiving their 2nd vaccine doses and their all clear to start living again.  The camper they finally stopped dreaming about and made a reality to fulfill their lifelong dream of travelling the country together during their twilight years.

They never got to use that camper.

You might think I’d be angry at the disease for taking dad from us. But truthfully, jokes on the cancer.  It finally chose to pounce when people all over the world weren’t just getting sick. They were dying en masse and they were doing it alone – separated from family, forced to spend their final days in isolation with nothing but the hiss of a ventilator to keep them company until the world dimmed and they could no longer hear its voice.

No, I’m not angry at cancer.  How could I be?! That malignant beast, with all its putrid intentions, was a blessing in disguise and the war it waged against my family became the greatest gift we never knew we would someday need…

…the gift of knowing that every moment spent together would be the last of its kind.

And the gift of goodbye. 

I feel like I still have so much to say about my father. I’ve been mourning for almost 4 months, but I still hurt like the loss was yesterday.  I cry every day and still have moments where it doesn’t seem real.  I feel like I’ve been drowning for months and I’ve grown so tired trying to reach the surface. 

My dad’s last words to me were “You’ll be a success, Pooh.  Just keep writing.”

And so I will. 

I read yesterday about NaPoWriMo and thought this might be a good way to not only jump back in, but do it with a focused theme.  I need to purge before I can heal so for 30 days I’m going to try and write poetry for dad. I hope I can do it. For him. We’ll see how long it lasts.

Wish me luck.


  • Bonnie kirchgessner

    You have been writing and creating since you were able to hold a pencil or crayon. You even started telling stories with pictures before you could write. You are wonderfully and beautifully made, overflowing with love and talent. I am excited to read your next post. Love mom

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