Friends

LII | 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL | LII

LII | 10 THINGS OF THANKFUL | LII

It’s Thursday and I’m actually writing my TToT ahead of time! Or at least, I’m trying too. I’ve been up at the coffee shop for roughly two hours and this is all I have managed to type. Three sentences. Four. Five. Those are fragments, not sure they should count. I’ve been overly tired all day, so much so that my eyes hurt, even though I swear I got some good sleep. Maybe not as many hours as I should have, but…

SAYING GOODBYE


*Static*

Hello…? Is there anybody out there…?

*Slaps laptop… static continues*

Testing… 1… 2… 5…

*The static fades some, but there still remains frequent moments of clarity failure when it resumes its fevered pitch*


NOTE: I started writing this post in Dec 2013. It was meant to be written well before that, and has since undergone many changes in its development. Originally it was meant as a misleading, emotional post where I pretended to be seemingly fed up with blogging and saying my final goodbyes, but then I merely say goodbye to my hair (which I had just gotten cut at the time) and an old belt that broke (and eventually due to timing, my car). There was then a rough patch where I thought it would possibly represent the departure from a relationship. Eventually I did stop blogging, and cut myself off from a handful of relationships, so the tone went from playful to very personally emotional.

I had planned for this to be my final post for The Cryton Chronicles — in its current form — and in a way it may retain that denotation. At least in terms of personal blog posts. I plan to continue posting trailers and participate in blog hops, in the meantime. I will highlight where I picked this entry back up to complete it with a *** marking.

It’s been well over a month since I’ve last written anything. The day before Thanksgiving 2013, to be precise, though technically I was still working on my NaNo pieces around that time too. NaNoWriMo 2013 was a failure overall in my mind. Sure, people may say that since I actually wrote 15k words (or possibly 20k since I stopped updating towards the end) it was a success. In that, they wouldn’t be wrong. The writing of any words, especially in my case, is an achievement one shouldn’t scoff at. Though the more pretentious, holier-than-thou types may.

Fuck ‘em. Pricks.

It isn’t so much the word count (and definitely not the reaching of the 50k word count goal) that registers this past NaNo as a failure with me. More so, the breakdown of the original NaNo group, consisting of members I met in 2012 — which greatly helped in the encouragement of writing during the challenge. The odds are, had I not met all of those individuals and created friendships with them (which waxed and waned over the past year), I wouldn’t have come close to reaching my goal. Perhaps I would have skipped NaNo altogether, as I had in the years past.

I may have never began blogging or dabbling again in fiction writing, resulting in a block being allowed to continue it’s twelve year reign of terror, frustration, and depression. Despair. It’s hard to explain the feelings derived from undergoing an experience like writer’s block — an experience many claim is mythical and impossible. It wasn’t (isn’t) make-believe to me.

But NaNo 2012 did happen, said people were met and became loosely connected to my life from that day forward. I did reach 50k words. I did begin blogging. So far that burning urge to continually put words to page still exists, even if I haven’t written at a capacity I had planned for the past eight months. Chances Hopes are that it never completely fades, but to it hadn’t during the twelve year block, so it stands to reason it wouldn’t now.

Coming out of NaNo 2012 I felt more vibrant and empowered, a bit more confident in my writing, regardless of how wretched I thought my 50k were. The first few months into the new year were full of various meet ups and gatherings (some writing based, others not), which was a desire expressed by many of the NaNo group.

Then time passed, and as it passed, so too did the honeymoon phase. It may have been felt more on my end. As is natural in most social circles, couples inevitably drift and bond closer to other couples, while singles are left, more or less, out of the loop. Then couples get married and/or have children, bringing them even closer to those couples in similar life stages. Being a single male and all, I felt I identified less and less with others in the group. Feeling as though I had no real place among them, being inched out little by little. Whether real or imagined, it seemed the path taken and choices made by a handful of those within the group solidified that feeling.

Anyways, I feel myself getting off track, as I’m so oft to do…

***

NaNoWriMo 2013 was different. There were hardly any gatherings, and the majority that were made were canceled. There wasn’t much encouragement among friends. Sure, I could have attended write-ins and met an entirely new group of people, maybe creating similar friendships as I did back in 2012, but that’s not what I wanted. If I were to meet new friends, it would be while spending quality time with my original writing group.

No dice.

Needless to say, by the end of NaNo 2013 I felt pretty much on my own. This lead me to follow through the process of making that my reality.

It can be really hard to differentiate intuitive feelings from worries and fears stemming from assumptions rooted in insecurities. Sometimes incredibly hard, and I’ve expressed some of my close calls in the past — of disconnecting from loved ones and the world at large — when I wrote more frequently about my personal experiences; when I wasn’t strictly posting trailers or for blog hops.

But I felt I was following my intuition and went through the process of disconnecting from almost the entire NaNo 2012 group, deleting over half of my Facebook contacts (though, oddly I left everyone on my GChat. To be fair, I rarely use it), and deciding to take a hiatus from blogging. Slowly some people have resurfaced in my life, but it’s been on a case by case basis.

During my hiatus, I focused my time elsewhere, but if I had to be honest, never budgeting it optimally. Time management is an area I lack in, unfortunately.

I eventually found my way back to blogging via the A to Z Challenge this year, as some of you know, but already find myself behind as usual; a factor contributing to my hiatus. While I may be back for the blog hops, I feel my time here will be brief. This doesn’t necessarily mean I will be done with blogging and/or writing, but that it may not be done here. Time will tell, but I will likely give more information about this departure at the appropriate moment; when more certain of my plans.

So, this is essentially my “goodbye” post. To my hair, belt, my car, friends — old and new (online and irl) — but thankfully not my current relationship. Though, admittedly, as readers begin to connect who is who, feeling I have the freedom to discuss various aspects of my relationship(s), whether positive or negative, becomes much narrower.

In case it’s never been said enough, I just want to thank each and every one of you that has ever taken the time to stop by and read my ramblings here at The Cryton Chronicles! You all are awesome, and if I happen to make an attempt at pastures that may not exactly be greener, but newer, I will be sure to let you know.

I pinky swear.

I will end this entry with a brief poem I wrote during NaNo 2013:

Remember, remember
The 9th of November
Thinking themselves sly
They cast forth that fateful die

Regardless of thoughts or deliberation
Soon the time will be at hand
For all to bear witness in anticipation
Exactly how that die shall land



Have you ever had moments where you wanted to completely disconnect from the people in your life and/or the world? If so, have you ever stopped yourself from following through with it? How? How did you re-associate with those you disconnected from, if at all? Have you ever wanted to move somewhere and attempt to completely restart your life? Have you ever transitioned to a new blog or website host? If so, what were/have been the pros and cons?

[MOSTLY] WORDLESS WEDNESDAY - FRIENDS

Cadence and I doing what we do best: pretending to write! Okay, maybe that's just me...
There were a handful of pictures I would like to share, but I prefer asking permission before placing up random pictures of people. While it is generally okay via Facebook, a blog I feel is a bit different considering it’s a lot less private. Cadence (who I met during NaNoWriMo last Nov) was online and sweet enough to allow me to use one of her and I.

 

Another friend I met during NaNoWriMo is featured in an upcoming documentary about Midwifery. I’ve never heard so much talk about births, babies, and placenta (and what to do with said placenta) since making the friends I have during NaNoWriMo. There is a screening of this movie on Sept. 24th and I’d love to go, but am uncertain I will be able to. I would love to support this documentary, so we will see. A few weeks ago, I asked permission to feature the trailer on my Trailer Tuesday blog series, but never got a reply, so I’m going off the reservation here, because I can't fathom how it wouldn’t be okay.

Thankfully, she found this hilarious...
This is a friend who I barely have any contact with, and it seems that is pretty commonplace with those that have known her for even longer than I. She works a ton, is a student, and is just all around awesome. Maybe I am biased because she is a cosplayer, MtG playing artist, singer of randomness, and overall geek like myself? I dunno. This was officially my first attempt at making a meme, and I thought she was going to kill me. I’ve actually never shared this until now, though she gave me permission to months ago. I honest to God thought when I hadn’t heard a reply back after sharing it with her the first time meant she was contracting out my life.


A little song dedicated to the friends I’ve made (and almost made) throughout the years. Usually I can tell when I’m going to be (or would be) good friends with someone or a group of people. I’m not a very assertive/aggressive individual, though, and it may be unfair to others to leave the leg-work of getting together to them, but I’ve gotten better. Most of it revolves around insecurities and self-love. But, sometimes you can’t help who falls into and/or out of your life, regardless of our hopes and wishes.

Are you Thankful for your friends? Are you knowledgeable about Midwifery? Have you created any Memes? Does “We’re Going to be Friends” remind you of anyone?

BEDiM 2013 : DAY 5 & A to Z 2013 : REFLECTIONS

(A Blog Every Day in May 2013 Challenge & An A to Z 2013 Challenge Reflections Entry)

I will start with the shortest segment of this double combo super punch to the love cockles of the blogosphere; the BEDiM entry.

Today’s prompt:

Day 5, Sunday: Publicly profess your love and devotion for one of your blogger friends. What makes them great? Why do you love them? If you don't have blogger friends, talk about a real-life friend or even a family member.

This really is a Combo post. A blending of two challenges into one...

Considering all the new friends I’ve made over the last few months, I feel there is no way to single out any one specific blog. During the A to Z I’ve made even more friends, all varying in their degrees of interaction with one another and myself. So instead of focusing on just one, I plan to highlight a handful of bloggers that I feel have been actively keeping up reading/commenting and building connections (whether during the A to Z or beyond).

Before getting there, though, I shall take a moment to reflect upon the A to Z Challenge 2013.

If I Could Do It All Again

The A to Z Challenge was a great experience, regardless of the pockets of stress, and momentary close breakdowns throughout! It opened the door to meeting many fellow bloggers, each with their own topics/themes/voices/styles. It's amazing really! I'm looking forward to keeping along with their own personal journeys through the blogosphere, as much as I hope they are interested to following along with mine.

That being said, however, I think attempting to follow over 20+ blogs (reading, commenting, and replying) was a bit overwhelming for me. I’m a slow reader, and while normally this is no big deal, combined with daily posts — while having to write my own — I could feel myself falling behind. I’ve already apologized, and plan to catch up where need be, so if some particular blogger isn’t okay with that, well I should reassess my bothering to follow along with them in the first place. I view this whole experience as a fun, sociable interaction with the blogosphere.

This may not have been such an issue had I written blogs in advance as advised by the Host/Co-Hosts in March. I am definitely planning to do so next year (maybe I will start right now!). It will cut down on half of the work, and I could spend more time reading fellow blogger posts, comment, and reply. I am amazed at how many people breezed through these difficulties, and I may be a tad bit jealous of them. So, this is one area of improvement I plan to make for next year. I may also attempt a theme. It seems like everyone who focused on a theme had a blast! We will see what I have going on next April before deciding.

It’s pretty obvious I would partake in the challenge again, pending having the time to do so. Most of the Host/Co-Hosts did a great job at interacting with participants and posting encouraging entries to spur everyone on all throughout the challenge. Overcoming my blocks of writing, by blogging every day, was a huge triumph for me. This is partially why I decided to go ahead with the Blog Every Day in May Challenge.

Overall it was a great experience with great people and am looking forward to next year!

Blogosphere Bonanza

Now to highlight a handful of bloggers that I know personally and/or were highly active throughout the challenge and the months leading up to it! A handful you may recognize from my Liebster Award entry back in March. I hope I didn’t forget anyone. I met many people towards the last half of the challenge, but this — honestly — is focused on those met from the beginning. I will still be catching up on unlisted blogs and following along!

Some you may already follow, but if not, check them out! When I visit blogs I try my best to remember to “Like” and Googlemend (Google Recommend — it will be a word... work with me!) each post. I believe in encouraging and promoting blog entries of fellow friends throughout the blogosphere (and I definitely don’t object to the same in return). So sally forth into uncharted realms of the blogosphere and support your comrades and make some great networking connections! You may find yourself some wonderful gems hidden out there just waiting for you to discover them. ;-)
A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall: I don’t think she has shared her name with me, but it may be in the labyrinth of her blog. She has been at it for some time and I have some catching up to do. Looking at her numbers, though, I may want to stick to 2013 and beyond haha sweet lord almighty! Some random facts I’ve garnished: Her and her husband reproduce like rabbits, her family plays barn roof tennis (not for the faint of heart), she is a professional shaver, and is devoted to volunteer work. BUT she has a loud laugh, so only blogger buddies!

A Writer’s Journey: Jessica is still someone I'm learning about slowly as I go back over her past blog entries. She is a sneaky lil devil and has multiple blogs (which in a crazy move, involved both blogs in the A to Z challenge with different, but equally entertaining, themes). Her second blog is Closet Geek Gurl. While the first focuses more on her personal life as a writer, the second is her expression of geekiness to the blogosphere; her escape. What I came to find is that she writes books (and is published) about superheroes! How cool is that? I believe it is called Small Town Hero. She can correct me if I am mistaken. It's shaping up to be a series of undetermined length!

Behind These Pages: I met Tamara a few months ago (via The Warrior Muse). I want to say it was around the time we both (All three of us really) participated in a Flash Fiction contest. She just began her new blog, now partnered up with a friend, and I’ve yet to see which direction they plan on taking it. I had just met Tamara when she had to go on hiatus for a stint. She arrived just in time for the A to Z and is ready to rock out with her... So yeah, I'm looking forward to learning more about her and her friend!

Black Coffee and Cigarettes: Kirsten has at least three blogs, and sharing in Jessica’s craziness, she entered two in the A to Z Challenge! Why people?! Why?! lol Kirsten was the one who presented me with the Liebster Award (thank you so much, again!) and — regretfully — I’ve yet to fully explore her main blog. Short Story Ideas: is just as it says. A blog/site offering help with ideas for short stories. The A to Z focused on various prompts, so I still have to double back to try some of them. Then there is Just Ermie: about a character on the run from thought police, serial killer/spies, and most everything under the sun. It’s a lot of fun! Ermie got too far ahead of me, though, and she is a master of disguise. I’ll be catching up to her yet.

Meetings With My Muse: Kimberly has been blogging for a few years, and I’ve yet to delve into much beyond her A to Z posts (which highlighted a multitude of great resource links for writing, publishing, editing, finding agents, etc etc!) I also need to explore those abundance of links. I am curious to see what she posts about outside of the A to Z Challenge. She writes YA Fantasy and Science fiction, but I’m uncertain if published. I’d like to read some of her work.

One to One with Life: I believe Andy had just begun blogging this year, much like myself. His A to Z was a mix-match of philosophy, history, and random thoughts. I enjoyed reading along and he was very encouraging. He simply seems an all around great guy. Doesn’t hurt he has some tech knowledge and likes Doom! I hope he continues his blog, because I feel he has a lot of interesting stories/thoughts to share. Give him some good lovings! I know it can be hard to find readers/followers when starting out.

Poke The Rock: Jette is German, loves to dance, draws freaking uncomfortable things like a bear riding a tricycle with a smiling poop on its head! GAH! But, she draws many fantastical things and is very talented. She is a master of Finger Puppets, and I secretly plan to coax her into making me a personalized EmoJak finger puppet (hoody, solemn expression, bats, and all!) I just have to find the right bribing (or blackmail) material. She doesn’t think she is “deep”, but I happen to know she is in the “Thick of it” with all the challenges she is participating in.

Pull Up A Toadstool: I met Tracy partway through the A to Z. She was also one of those insane folks doing multiple tasks/challenges at once. She was participating in Nation Poetry Writing Month, I believe, while also doing A to Z! She had a lot of thought provoking topics/subject matter and it was great engaging in discussions about them. I will have to take a gander at some of the writing prompts she was partaking in during the challenge. I know I missed a lot, but should be easier to catch up now. She is so sweet, and was always positive in comments!

Randomness and Lunacy: She’s Random. She’s a Lunatic. She’s a Random Lunatic! Jenn was another blogger that always stuck it out through the torrents of posts and comments. She has been blogging and writing for a long time. I believe she has two books published and she is working on another! Actually I’ve found she is working on a good majority of projects. Very ambitious, this one. I should suck the ambition out of her like a vampire :) Jenn loves hockey, music, writing, and she works in her office (command center?) from home yet “bikes” four miles to and from work every day. Now that is awesome! I plan to adopt that regiment.

Simply She Goes: Kianwi had a fun theme of nostalgia for the A to Z. Not only that, but she worked in a contest to guess her age. Prizes included a grouping of nostalgic items from her childhood. I didn’t guess correctly, and I won’t share her age as I’ve learned that can get you slapped depending on the individual! I'm betting she is a slapper, based on knowledge that she coerces her dog to dress up and post blog posts on her behalf to deflect catching flack. I think she coerced Jette into participating in the A to Z too! How rude! ;-) Seriously, though, she is a lot of fun (even more so than I thought with recently garnished intel!) and look forward to going back over her pre A to Z postings and learning more about her! Even if she did try to get Boba Fett and Princess Leia to fall in love...

The Average Poet: I don’t know a whole lot about Robert. What I do know is that he loves poetry! His blog is chock full of his own personal poetry and it's awesome. He also had some (what seems to be) fiction work sprinkled throughout. If you are a fan of poetry I recommend checking out his work. Also, from glancing at his history, he has been blogging since 2005. That is a lot of freakin’ blogging!

The Mind Meanders: Kristen was one of my nominees for the Liebster Award. She had some interesting topics and even interviews during the A to Z. She recently came to acquire a publishing house and has plans to make her dreams and aspirations as a writer/publisher come true! The name of the company is Fey Publishing. Check them out. I believe they are working on the site and have even opened submissions. With everything going on, Kristen is still catching up on the challenge, so encouragement is welcomed. I wish her luck on her business endeavors and am excited to see how everything turns out.

The Tex Files: Tex was a roit! Their A to Z challenge was Grammaticats, which utilized pictures of cats to teach proper grammar. They were cute and hilarious. Crooks even made a guest appearance, in all his full-bellied glory! It sounds like Tex is taking a brief breather, but then I believe it’s back at it! I really liked the Grammaticats a lot, and would love to see more of them. Or something with a new theme would be great. I appreciate Tex’s in-your-face mentality! A very supportive, fun individual. And honestly, quite hilarious!
And last, but definitely not least...
The Warrior Muse: Shannon was one of my original Jakker Trakkers outside of people I knew personally. I’ve already recommended and referenced her blog multiple times. It's full of fantastic information about herself, her projects, writing in general, event/contest/submission information, and more. She has two pieces of work being published (short stories I believe, while her first novel is being queried — did I use that term correctly? lol) and I'm looking forward to checking them out. Shannon is also a Co-Host of the A to Z Challenge, participates in various writing events, and is one busy bee. She is a horror and Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopia fan (how I came across her blog originally), which is very sweet. I'm still learning more about her as I backtrack her blog.
Why Can’t We Be Friends

Most of the below are people I meet during NaNoWriMo 2012. Since that time I feel we have slowly been working on building our connections/friendships. Some of this group have known one another for a long time. I’m kind of the new kid on the block. A handful of the group realized from the beginning how awesome I am. Others take their sweet sweet time, which may be smart. I am a bit odd.
Sideways From Sunday: A friend made from NaNoWriMo more famously known as Number One! I think she is finally allowing me into her “inner circle” now that we are linked by a curse. She has started blogging more often now, and I hope she plans to continue. The topics are random and of a more “journal” format. She may fear whales, but she is good lookin’ and enjoys cookin’!

The Candence Journey: A NaNo 2012 ML and one of three friends of this grouping who joined the A to Z after it began. She is on a journey to unlocking her true inner self, after a lifetime of being what others expected. It’s interesting to keep up and explore her transition along with her as she comes into her own. Her new “self” so to speak. She plans to blog more regularly now that her itch to write has come back. Maybe she will even place up some fiction at some point too.

The Daily Discovery: This blog belongs to a friend I met a few months ago. She is passionate about helping people, and prefers working in the non-profit sector. She is a painter and writer, but her writing fell on the wayside for a time. She was very encouraging to me during the A to Z and I greatly appreciated it. Eventually her words began to flow again, and she even signed on to the Blog Every Day in May 2013 Challenge! How cool is that? I’m glad she is writing again, and hope she keeps at it this time. As long as she doesn’t neglect her painting!

The Pleasantest Life: This is the blog of Number Three and a new friend made during NaNoWriMo 2012. She became inspired to blog again after a hiatus and joined the A to Z late. At this time she is still catching up, but plans to continue. No set theme, but has some important topics she wishes to discuss (hence the delay —  trying to get them just right). She has a great sense of humor, yells her shouts (or shouts her yells?), owns both a cane and a magic walking stick, and walks like a grandma. Grandma status subject to change based on health.

Unfocus: Ah Number Five. He (also from NaNo 2012) joined into the A to Z Challenge from the outside about a week into the event. I believe he is still working on catching up and always has some random repostings/rebloggings (he uses Tumblr, where it seems reblogging is a way of life). But fair warning, a handful are of a mature nature. Hope he continues through to Z. I think he should blog about some of his occult knowledge/experiences!
Let’s Wrap This Up

Whew! That was exhausting! I hope you can find time, over the next few weeks, to continue following along with both myself and some new bloggers! Spread the love!

If any of the links are inaccurate/broken, please let me know and I will fix them up :)

I appreciate all your support and encouragement :) 

If you participated in the A to Z Challenge, have you made your Reflections post yet? Anything you would do differently next year? Do you have an all-time favorite blog you enjoy to read and would highly recommend?

A FAMILY AFFAIR

So this past week was another rough one. There were no sudden bursts of wanting to run into seclusion, but rather a chain of unfortunate events leading to loss. The two most prominent weren’t necessarily directly linked, but associated in the background.

One irreversible, another salvageable (or at least I tell myself); both healthy, in terms of allowing growth if handled correctly. If being honest, I can’t say if I will handle either in the best way, but I plan to try.


A Death in the Family

Last week my family buried my uncle at Fort Snelling. His passing was sudden, and just months after his father (mother’s side) passed. The cause is still being checked into, and I hear it could take weeks. I guess I watch one too many police procedural shows, because I thought it would be a matter of days, if that.

I wasn’t extremely close to either my uncle or grandfather. Both seemed to keep to their own lives, much as I do myself. They both would attend all our family functions, though. I can only attempt to imagine the pain my mother must be feeling. I feel like I fail in comforting her. It was even worse attempting to comfort my uncle’s daughters. I felt completely incompetent. I was unable to find any words, but I don’t believe there are always words for something like that. Sometimes words can’t express enough.

When I was first contacted, and still unaware of what had happened, I had multiple scenarios flash through my mind. I knew the news was bad, terrible even, and so I thought of my brothers. Mainly the youngest and the next oldest after myself. I guess I feel they would be the ones to find themselves in some sort of predicament.

Hearing my mother’s voice told me things were much more dire than anticipating. Instantly, I thought of a death in the family. This still secured these two brothers in my mind, but it shifted more to the next oldest. He is a stupid driver, and way out of reach now after having moved.

To fuel it, while my mother attempted to compose herself she said “Che...” and then had to take another moment. I then thought this meant that something had, indeed, befallen my brother. Finding out it was my uncle, I think she possibly thought, for a moment, she was on the phone with my brother; she had been attempting to contact him, along with the rest of the family.

So last week was the funeral. Once again, I was face to face with relatives I had just seen after my grandfather’s passing, but before that I hadn’t seen in years; some since being too young to even remember them. The same pleasantries were exchanged: the desire to stop meeting under such circumstances, and resolutions to become closer to one another. I believe the same was said at my grandfather’s funeral. It may be “standard issue” among many families in such an event.

I’d like it to be true, to come true. That these aren’t just pleasantries. I think people in general get too distracted with life and themselves that they don’t keep in touch with others. Whether friends, family, lovers; life happens. I’ve always been one of the belief that there’s always time. Even if just for a quick call. With the world being as connected as it is now, I have little room for excuses.

Sadly, I fall into the category of not specifically doing so with those I know. I don’t believe I make excuses, though. I understand that I have had multiple opportunities to do so, but haven’t. It isn’t hard really. Make a call, send an email, a text. I feel worse on my end, because I don’t have near as busy a life as many others I know. I have no excuses, and I try not to pretend I do.

For a brief moment, after the death of someone close, people seem to remember there are others connected to them.  A blip of connectedness. Their lives slow down, they have time to think and look around. That innate desire in everyone, in humans, to be close to one another kicks in.

In their heart of hearts, they want things to change. They want to be closer to those they have drifted away from. The hope of that is generally short lived. Soon life resumes and back into the vortex they are sucked.

So will this time be different? In most cases, there are a small percentage of individuals positively affected by such a traumatic event. Individuals that dedicate and convict to such changes they want to see happen in their life. It’s wonderful, yet a shame specific circumstances had to unfold to spark that change. It seems a path most of us are doomed to repeat over and over again.

I think, and hope, my cousins are among a few who will undergo this transformation. Both showed how strong they were in the wake of their father’s death. I was extremely proud of them. I learned the oldest (possible they both do?) has a beautiful voice that I hope she continues to use to express herself, whether through music or some other manner.

My heart and love goes out to them and to everyone affected by this tragedy.

On my end, I hope to let go of some guilt. Some associated with my grandfather, and some with my uncle. Pointless hangups. Perhaps I will finally make the change and be more in touch with others outside my immediate family.

If I don’t, I don’t really have an excuse.