I have started this entry many times and as I didn’t post Christmas related blogs, I’m sure you can gather that I was not able to finish. This is a hard moment, but I feel I must share it as this blog is an insight into my life as an author: my dad died.
John L. Hatch became my dad in the mid-70s, but I always called him John because he was so much more than a dad to me. And I had a dad, and later, a dad-in-law. John was so much more. He was my benchmark, my aspiration. He was my rock, quiet and unimposing, but always there to lean on, mark the path, think things out. He was that person who just by their entity assures you that the universe is in order. Like many children, I took him for granted and am still reeling from my world dropping out of the universe. He was just 75. It seems too early too let him go. He passed Dec. 1, 2020, from COVID-19. I want to be mad. I want to rewind time. I want this horrible plague to have never have happened.
But it’s not about me and what I want. The universe is what it is, and a plague is not the only cause of death out there. Four years ago, John underwent a total stem cell transplant to eradicate Smoldering Multiple Myeloma, a cancer that starts in the bone marrow. After chemo, medical angels were able to harvest enough clean stem cells to not only enable the initial transplant, but also the next. While life-saving, the procedure only staves off the cancer for about five years. It took four years for him to start to get on his feet again. To gain enough energy and enthusiasm for life to lift him out of his chair and out into the yard. Even after four years, he had to take frequent breaks to regain his energy. He didn’t complain, but he did let it slip once, under his breath, only to my mother, that he didn’t want to go through all the transplant stuff again. Maybe tears are answered prayer.
In faith, I have not lost John and I know he will guide me, through the gifts he gave me in this life and the love he shines in the next. Grief is a journey, and not a new one for me. My dad and father-in-law both passed within the last five years. This journey is harder, but I know I will get through it and come out a deeper, stronger person. As I step forward into a life without John, I follow my mothers advice: cry when you need to, smile when you can and always be open to the Joy born of His Love and of John’s and all who love.