Watching someone die changes you. When the paramedic asked me, "Should we go on?" I had to say no.
My father had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer three weeks earlier. He died on January 14, 2006.
Writing gave me a place to put my grief. The grief started out as poems and then morphed into stories. Now a book. A book is harder.
I channel the memories like a medium when I write. I can sometimes hear my father's voice in my ear. I suppose it is a way of keeping him here with me.
My father was not perfect. He was just a guy born right after the Great Depression who grew up dirt poor in Great Falls, Montana. He lived in an orphanage for a couple of years when his parents couldn't feed him.
He loved fiery Mexican women and adored his children. And his beer. You can't forget the beer.
The writing started out as therapy, a catharsis. And now it's something more. It is a kind of quest to capture the characters of my childhood.
And to memorialize this funny thing we call life.