I had shared a post from my video teacher about his class next semester, and my Aunt Jan had liked it right away. Behind that little thumbs up was her anticipation for watching my final, a five minute piece about her mother, my grandma, recounting her experiences coming to California. If you’ve ever read “The Grapes of Wrath,” you know what my grandma’s move to the Golden State was like, but this was her story, her experiences, and Aunt Jan had always felt it was an important story to tell.
So, I was thinking of Aunt Jan as I waited for the video to finish uploading. It was because of her I was staying up late to get it on the internet as soon as I had completed the editing. I knew she’d want to watch it before I presented it to my class. It was a huge mp4, of course. It had music and photos and my interview with my grandma, all interwoven in a way I was hoping would tell a comprehensive story. It was such a large file, I was very late for bed by the time it finished posting, so I turned out the light and told myself I’d notify Aunt Jan about it first thing in the morning. I had just pulled the blanket to my chin and closed my eyes when Charles walked in the bedroom with the phone. My mom was calling. My Aunt Jan was dead.
Sometime, most likely a very short time after she had liked my post on Facebook, Aunt Jan’s heart had stopped. She crumpled to the floor where she was discovered that evening after missing her yoga class. Her friend had found her. The paramedics were called. The phone tree to tell the news began. I was devastated.
She had been my support team, my cheerleader, and my friend in all things creative. I knew when my paintings actually got good because, though supportive, she was honest. When she first bought one of my pieces, I knew I had made it. Aunt Jan was the one I imagined I was talking to when I wrote many of my blog posts. She’d never missed one, and now she’d never read another.
I wrote her obituary because I was asked and because I knew she would have wanted me to do it. Writing it was difficult. It pulled a lot from me to do it. In fact, writing it, and then watching the shit storm that was 2016, pretty much emptied my well. It was one of the last creative things I was able to do for a very long time.
That’s why my blog has been so silent this year. It’s taken a lot longer to refill that creative well than I ever anticipated, but for the last couple of months, I’ve been feeling the urge to create again. Sentences bubble up in my mind when I least expect it, and I’ve been missing my blog. This terrible year is drawing to a close, and I’m hoping to get back to more regular writing soon. We’ve done a few things to the house I want to share, and I’ve had some pretty major changes in my work life I want to write about. According to Bloglovin’, it’s been 307 days since I posted. I’ll, ahem, try much harder to be more active after this. My well isn’t full yet, but it’s beginning to fill back up.