Sunday, September 1, 2013

Remembering My Father, and a Tribute Offer

My father died a year ago today, and I'm going to try to write about it a little.

I have a lot of trouble with self-disclosure. Things come out when I'm writing fiction, but it's very hard for me to say them straight out, so when he was dying I talked only to my very closest friends about it, and certainly didn't post anything to the blog. I did find that, when I sat down to write Not the Leader of the Pack, I couldn't help putting a dying father into the book, and having the major conflict be about the heroine's efforts to reconcile the things her father asked of her before he died.

As anyone who has lost a parent knows, it's a huge deal. Suddenly, you are without origin. I had all sorts of wild feelings, such as the urge to have a baby right that very moment in some sort of evolutionary attempt to replace what I had lost. I'm still about thirty seconds away from tears whenever I talk or think about my dad. The loss hits me at very weird moments, too. For example, I sobbed through almost all of Kickass 2 because lost fathers are actually a major theme of that movie. I don't think I will ever "get over" this, and it's been nice for me to just own that, to go ahead and cry and miss him and know that nothing can actually fix that he's gone. That's not to say I'm not going on with my life--I've done lots of writing in the past year, gotten married, traveled abroad, cooked food, folded laundry, and all the rest--but I'm not going to try to force this huge feeling into the background just because that would be a more comfortable position to take.

Anyway, I've been thinking about him a lot lately, remembering what it was like to watch him go through his last days. I didn't actually get to speak to him--he didn't actually make any final requests of me--because he had a heart attack that left him brain damaged until he actually died. For about a month last year, I watched that, and cleaned up his things, and did a bunch of other stuff that was hard but also incredibly important.

I decided to write this post because of a tribute I read that someone else had written. I realize that I'm not actually saying anything about my father's personality and life, and am talking about my feelings instead. That's partly because my dad liked his privacy, and I'm not sure he would be happy about me telling a bunch of people he didn't know about who he was. I really miss him, though, and it seems best to leave it at that.

I do want to make some sort of tribute to him, however. I'm going to make a donation to the hospice that helped him in his last days. If you'd like to join me in making a charitable donation in his honor, I'd appreciate that. Your donation doesn't need to be large--mine's not. Here are some suggestions that seem appropriate: The American Heart Association, your local not-for-profit hospice organization, or an organization that supports veterans.

As a thank you for joining in, I'll send you a copy of Not the Leader of the Pack, or another title of mine if you've already got that one. If you'd like to participate, e-mail annabeth dot leong at gmail dot com, tell me what you donated to (I don't need a receipt--this is the honor system), what e-book format you prefer, and, if you're requesting an alternate title, which one you're requesting. I'll keep this going through Sept 4.

Thanks for reading, and best wishes to all of you!

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