12-24-2015 - HOLY CRAP MY BOOK IS DONE.
At least, it's as done as I'm personally going to get it without the amazing help of my editor.
This project was a year and a half labor of love that forced me to remember a lot of stuff I tried to forget for a very long time.
When your dad has a mental breakdown and your life falls apart for a little bit, it's not exactly something you're chomping at the bit to remember, let alone write about.
But I'm so glad I did.
It brought a lot of old, ugly, dusty stuff to the surface that hadn't seen the light of day in my brain for a really long time. It brought a lot of wonderful memories back to life, too.
I'm also grateful that I actually documented everything back when it happened, even just in short form. I knew that someday I'd want to go back and retrace those steps, I just had to be ready.
After my father's last suicide attempt in 2010 I stopped speaking to him for over a year.
I had to completely remove myself from the situation so I could let him focus on his own struggles and so I could work on my own stuff.
Although I felt guilty about doing so, it was the best decision I could have made. I needed time to live my own life and for hi to live his without relying on me - and he did it with flying colors.
5 years later he's not only alive but extremely HAPPY.
Happy is never a word I would have used to describe him, even before the psychotic break. I think it had to happen for him to get where he is today.
I finished this book December 23, which is extremely fitting, considering I open the book with a scene of Christmas Eve in my parent's living room. Tonight my wife and I will sit down with wine and snacks and watch It's a Wonderful Life, just like I did every single year with my parents growing up.
Though tonight the viewing may include some ugly crying, just out of sheer gratitude for not only my completion of the book, but the fact that my dad is STILL HERE. And better yet, he wants to be.
12-7-2015 - Reading for the Coworker Masses
I had my first impromptu reading at work for the book for around 100 people. It was terrifying and awesome and emotional, since my dad had a heart attack early last week, quickly followed by open heart surgery for a triple bypass.
He's recovering like the champ he is, verbally accosting the doctors and nurses with college football talk.
When I talked to him last night, he said "I wasn't ready to die yet, Tara. I've got another good 40 years left in me."
This, coming from someone who wanted nothing more than to stop existing less than a decade ago.
Thank heavens for this man, my dad, fart jokes and all.