I’ll put a sidebar here: dementia in any form is a destroyer. It destroys the person that has it, and if you don’t toughen up then it will destroy family, friends, loved ones, and anybody that witnesses the journey too. I lost two great aunts to dementia when I was a child and in my teens, but this was the most awful thing I’ve ever witnessed. I fully believe that dementia and cancer are the two worst ways to experience or witness death. It will smash your paradigm of life to pieces and leave you not knowing what to make of all the sharp, jagged edges tearing into you in ways that words fail. Plus, the medical industry has absolutely no idea of how to handle it. A word of advice: if a doctor tells you “we don’t know what’s wrong” about an older relative, that’s code speak for “it’s dementia and we don’t have a clue” and buckle up for a bad ride. Dementia care is a badly disguised game of pin the tail on the donkey as they scuttle from one thing to another, trying to find something that helps, or at least quiets them (and everybody else asking questions) down. I still, months later, don’t fully know how to articulate what I witnessed as Rick’s father made his final life journey. All I can say is this: I learned that quality of life does matter. Being alive and actually living are two very different things.
As it was with Ollie during the winter, life went on. In fact, as Rick’s father was on the operating table in May, I received an email inviting me to serve as an editor for the feminism theme on Readwave, a writing website based in London, England. Editing is something I had thought of getting into, but I didn’t know quite where to begin with it, or whether the timing was right to do it. I did (later) accept the offer, and in the following months became the owner of the Feminism theme and an editor for the society and flash fiction themes (they still invite me to edit other themes, but three is all I can realistically handle now so I have declined further invitations). I also continued work on Obsidian and Nonstop, and I had an idea for a science-fiction trilogy. I started notes on it with an intention to begin it either for National Novel Writing Month in November, or in 2015, whichever worked out based on when I completed the projects I already had in progress.But the biggest news came in June, when Whiskey Creek Press, the publisher that I used for Anywhere But Here and Splinter, was acquired by Start Publishing in New York City. That was a really exciting development because, of course, every author dreams of having a NYC publisher, but the chances are next to none without an agent or "connections" in the business. It was really an odd twist of fate, really. I spent so many years trying to break in through traditional routes, and when I finally decided heck with it and branched out into something new, it works out in unexpected ways. Talk about the Lord working in mysterious ways!
Rick and I also celebrated our 16th anniversary on May 16 by doing something we hadn’t had a chance to do for 4 years: taking a vacation together. We went to the beach, and it was nice to take a break for ourselves and to finally be able to celebrate our anniversary like we wanted instead of squeezing in a dinner and a movie amongst other obligations. We also had a friend graduate college, our oldest niece graduated high school and went to college (just a week after the memorial service for Rick’s father), and I turned in Nonstop to Nowhere for inclusion in the Night Life anthology, which was scheduled for a fall release.
And so, the summer passed into fall, and we’ll pick up there next time.