I lost my father to cancer. About three years ago, I decided to think of May 7 as the day his cancer ended, but something about the 10th anniversary is making that difficult. I can’t believe he’s been gone that long. That’s more than half my marriage.
My dad was a big goof. He was known for his practical jokes and his offbeat sense of humor. He gave everyone nicknames. My pen name, Amelia James, is one of the many nicknames he had for me. He loved the outdoors, and he was a skilled carpenter. For my wedding present, he built me a china cabinet and put his name on it. “It’s a one of a kind Raymoon (one of his nicknames) original,” he said with that goofball smile I miss so much. He spent his entire career, more than 30 years, protecting and preserving our natural resources. My dad made a living doing what he loved.
I’ve been feeling down the last few days, like everything I’m doing is pointless. My dad fought cancer for three and a half years, but in the end, it didn’t do any good. I spent the last days of his life with him, and though I wouldn’t trade that time for anything, it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through. But one of the many things my dad taught me is that I can’t give up doing something just because it’s hard. A month before he died, he was still ordering fishing gear from Cabelas, still trying to do what he loved.
And now I realize the best way to honor my dad—this year and every year—is to keep doing what I love. I need to keep writing no matter how many rejections or bad reviews I get. I need to keep marketing my books no matter how many days without sales go by . Being a self-published author is the most challenging job I’ve ever had, but it’s also the most rewarding. I can’t give up just because it’s hard.
Thanks, dad. I love you.