Today I received a message from WordPress informing me that I’d made my 100th post today. I truly had no idea. When I started this blog on January 1st, 2018, I was propelled by my emergence from an emotionally intensive struggle alongside my beloved husband Michael. The struggle was with a sneaky virulent killer, Merkel Cell carcinoma, the disease which ultimately claimed him after just over 5 years.
Diagnosed in April, 2012, Michael and I walked through the turbulent world of cancer diagnosis, treatments, scans and the ups and downs of contending with an incurable disease. After living in the demanding role of caregiver while still being a partner, wife, friend and lover, I was worn out. In the months following Michael’s death, I was busy recovering, taking care of business and planning an event to celebrate his life.
His life was rich and complex and included several work iterations as a small business owner, public official and a teacher. I knew there would be a big crowd of well wishers and there was. That event was in late December, 2017.
On New Year’s Day, I woke up and decided I would write a blog. I needed a place to express myself about Michael, our life journey, our family and most of all, me. I’d been a covert writer my whole life, always meaning to get around to writing as a vocation. But the demands of my daily life were such that I never got around to finding out if anyone out there might be interested in anything I had to say. And that was alright. Times change. I was retired and after Michael was gone my head was brimming with thoughts, ideas and memories.
My kids had their lives. We’re very close to each other but I knew that I couldn’t depend on them to absorb every notion popping up in my mind. I didn’t want them to, but at the same time, the historian side of me wanted them to know parts of my life history, their dad’s life history and even some of theirs which got papered over by time. That happens to all of us. So this blog has an ultimate purpose, to leave a record that can only come from inside a person, from the most private places that often remain hidden or are perhaps shared with maybe just one or maybe a few others. In my case, many of my most intimate people are dead.
I have one sister and a few peers who’ve walked beside me through my life. But the numbers are dwindling and will continue to do so. For some reason or other, sending my missives into the void, into the field of vision of utter strangers has worked for me. The truth is, I don’t actually understand exactly how this platform works. But I do know there are statisticians out there who keep track of things.
So I know this: 1) In the nineteen months that I’ve been writing this blog, I’ve average just over 6 posts a month.
2) During this time period, 8,940 people have viewed at least one post on my blog.
3) People from 51 countries around the world are among those 8,940 people. I know some of them are repeat visitors as I have followers who’ve chosen to be notified whenever I publish a post.
I find all of these numbers to be utterly astonishing. There are women and men and wide-ranging age groups. When I think about it, I’m overwhelmed. These people who for the most part, say nothing, write nothing to me, have a window into who I am that I’ve not shared with many others I know. They’ve heard my raw emotion pulsing through my language. They’ve listened to my stories about my parents and my friends. They’ve seen my travels and heard my impressions of the places I’ve visited. They have a fair idea of what my politics are and how I feel about our shared planet. All this from me scribbling away, often in the depth of night, trying to purge myself of bubbling emotions and thoughts which I used to share with my husband. I’ve written these posts from the comfort of my home, hotel rooms, and the jouncing of a train. And this thread has connected me, albeit in a transient and fragile way, to a community of sorts, drawn together by the written word. For me a valued commodity in our complex world.
So thank you to all of you, those who are known to me and those who are not. In my most challenging times, having this unexpected connection to the world has been a source of comfort to me. I hope I’m lucky enough to have you keep reading my eruptions from the depths of my interior. Until next time.