A Piece of Me

If you follow me on my blog, you may have noticed I have a penchant for falling off the grid for periods of time. Sometimes it’s a good thing. The creativity is flowing and I’m writing my butt off.

This wasn’t the case, this time. At the end of August/beginning of September before I went on my big trip to Maine and Boston, I had huge plans to get my blog going again, get myself back out there, but life had other plans.

The tip of the iceberg was the loss of our beloved cat, Jar Jar. My husband had him for 10 years and he was already an adult when he came into his life. Funny, Remy, in the  Possess books was inspired both by my cat Soco and Jar Jar. Remy is chubby because my cat is, and he was orange because Jar Jar was our resident ginger kitty. I’ve never seen a man and a cat so in tune with each other and I knew when Robert moved in, those two were a package deal. Unfortunately, an incompetent vet prescribed dangerous dog medication to our cat, and when we realized the medication was making Jar Jar sick, it was already too late. We don’t have kids and never plan to. Our pets are our children and the loss hurt. I felt a huge amount of guilt for taking him to that vet and felt a bit helpless watching my husband go through that loss. I still catch myself looking out our Remy (the little orange kitty that wandered into our lives a few months ago and was promptly named after the fictional one), and thinking for a split second it’s Jar Jar.

During all of that, my aunt had been in the hospital. It wasn’t really anything new. She has a lot of health problems from cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart), diabetes, and end stage renal disease. But she was a fighter. I still remember the day she told us about her heart problems. The doctors had told her she only had about five years tops. I was in middle school at the time. I’ll be twenty nine next month. I’d gone to see her at the hospital, chatted about the usual stuff. Family, my pets, my niece (she adopted her), and how my books were doing.  Finally she was released from the hospital, but it was a short-lived relief. She ended up being re-admitted to another hospital just a day later. And that’s when things took a turn for the worse. Health issues piled ontop of each other, and the fighter, the woman that had been the backbone to my family, and  like a mother to me, slowly started losing the battle.

My cousin and uncle had been by her side nearly day and night since, hoping and praying that things would get better, but deep down I think we all knew. Today I was at a book panel. My first. I had a great time, and  even met a fan, which was pretty cool. But even with knowing how precarious things were with my aunt’s health, even having said my goodbyes to her and preparing for this, it stil hit me like a ton of bricks when I looked down at my phone to see my cousin’s text.

“She’s gone.”

I felt numb. I’d felt numb for the last month, unsure whether to grieve for my aunt, or keep my hopes up that she would get better despite the odds.  The last month the only thing that kept me sane had been throwing myself into work, and when I was home, writing, all the while preparing myself for what I knew was to come.

I’d kept quiet and withdrawn for the most part, hoping for a miracle or something. But just like in the stories I write, sometimes you don’t get that miracle. Sometimes you lose those you love the most. And it hurts. It hurts like hell. I know she suffered a lot with her health issues and I hope with every fiber of my being that she is in a better place now… but the part that always gets me is that unknowing.  Where is she now? Is she still with us? Will I dream about her like I have so many times after I lost my father?

It’s funny, for someone that tends to write about darker things, tends to explore that great beyond, I still don’t know, and I never will. Not until it’s my turn. I started my first book to cope with my father’s death, now 10 years passed, but I still find myself gravitating to the dark. Death, loss, that hope that there’s something more…it’s universal. We all experience that pain, that uncertainty, that hope, and this is my way of dealing with it. It may just be fiction, but a lot of my fiction veils my own experiences, my own losses, and my own hearbreaks with in it.  Somewhere in there, I’m sure you’ll find this experience hidden too someday.

But I digress…my heart is aching and my mind’s a wreck right now and I just needed to get this out. It’s been a very long month and a half and I’ve held this all in but sometimes you just need to let it all out. Maybe I got it right in my stories, and she’s somewhere better, no longer in pain and at peace with the family that’s gone before her, but right now the only certainty I do know, is exactly what my cousin said

She’s gone. And it hurts.

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