I've been quiet on the blog since the launch of "The Magical Aquarium" some weeks ago. Please know I am beyond grateful for your support and excited to see young readers enjoying my tale and learning respect for sea creatures.
However, excitement about my book paled as I learned our 92-year young father was hospitalized in Connecticut for an aggressive form of pneumonia days before "Aquarium" debuted on Amazon.
Dad's condition worsened on the day my book launched, and my sister called that morning to tell us to come home. JM threw clothes in suitcases and raced 500-miles to see him. The stress of weekend traffic along the DC/New York I-95 corridor, plus my anxiety about reaching Dad in time, made for one of the worst days of my life.
My siblings and I exchanged frantic texts about his failing health as we sped north. My mobile phone finally rang at 3:30 p.m., when we were five hours away.
We didn't make it. Dad passed away peacefully at home as he wished, with other loving family members at his side.
I take comfort knowing I spoke with him by phone just a few days before his health failed. We had a great conversation, and Dad was excited about my new book. "Your mother is smiling down from heaven," he always told me he asked about my books (which was every time we talked). "She knew you'd be a writer."
I feel foggy and adrift.
My head knows his was a well-lived life: US Navy WWII and Korean War veteran; over three decades as a middle-school science teacher; a rich faith and connections in the church he helped establish 64 years ago; and four children, eight grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, who were his greatest joy. But the heart feels an unspeakable loss. We miss him dreadfully.
I was blown away during visitation meeting students our father taught, as long ago as the late-1950s, who came to pay their respect. One former pupil, now a successful businessman, told us Dad was his mentor. He helped the then-struggling 7th grader find his lifelong career path. So many stories like this! We knew Dad loved teaching, but we never realized the abiding impacts he made.
So, I will be off Cat's Corner as we close a chapter in our family history and come to terms with our loss. I'll return in April, eager to connect with you once again. I’m also polishing my fourth book - Sweet and the Turtle Team - and adding a special dedication:
Thanks for understanding. Catch you soon.
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