One thing before I begin. JLY and I never entirely abandoned SFA. Even when we were missing from the internet, we were waiting on an agent to try his hand at selling our manuscript. We were given an estimate of a month, so we thought it was worth the wait... But after over a year of waiting for that, we're done waiting. But that's a post for another day.
So back to the topic at hand. I've been told that I have a tendency of breaking things down into three parts to explain them. I find it helps me get my thoughts together, and you usually don't need more than three points. If pressed, I can condense most of my thoughts down into sets of three.
So, here goes. I call this TRAGEDY IN THREE PARTS. Don't worry. The beginning is bad, and it gets worse before it gets better, but I promise that the ending optimistic.
Tragedy in Three Parts
These past two years have been the hardest of my short, 27 year-old life.
Just days after I turned 25 in 2010, my father was diagnosed with cancer.
This is when JLY and I stopped writing Book 2.
To give this some perspective, you may need to know that JLY and I used to meet 2-4 times a week to write. We do this after working full (at least) 8 hour days. We often work until midnight. I sadly couldn't keep up this pace and be there for my family.
My time instead went to family trips to the hospital and family meetings where we gathered round to hear the latest news from the doctors, and then to grieve. We learned that my father had a very rare and aggressive form. It threatened to take his life in the first months of discovery, but after a short delay he was able to have a very difficult surgery and spent four weeks recovering.
I know I could have explained all of this on the website, and looking back, it seems easier to put into words, but at the time I didn't even tell my closest friends. I just didn't know how to talk about it.
Immediately after my father recovered from the worst of his surgery, he had an aggressive treatment plan of chemotherapy and radiation to keep the cancer from coming back. Before he even finished this preventative treatment, a little while before Christmas, his cancer returned. We were told he had 6 months.
This is when JLY and I stopped updating the website.
There were no other mainstream treatments. He tried several experimental test trials, which were difficult to get into and even harder to endure. He fought very bravely through all of it for a year and passed away a few months after I turned 26.
The year after his death was staggeringly difficult. I was very depressed. Life lost meaning for a little while. Everyone in my family was hurting.
I've had grandparents who have passed away, but I had never seen the process in such close proximity. I didn't know how much it would hurt to see my father in pain. At the end of it all, I'd done things I never thought I'd have to do, I'd watched him go through things I'd never imagined, and I'd stored all of that sorrow away for a time when I'd be able to sort it out. That time was the year following his death. At first, I couldn't even talk about it. Grief impacts the mind in many ways. I had trouble focusing. I often couldn't remember things that had just happened. I couldn't make decisions or stand to be in crowded or noisy places. When I wasn't crying, I was angry often, and at everyone. But I slowly started to sort all of that out. It wasn't easy to make sense of it, and some days it's still tough, but I'm healing.
For the most part, I'm doing better, though my family and I are still recovering from the emotional trauma. It isn't always easy. I try to take care of my mother. I try to hold our family together.
My friends have been amazing throughout all of it, JLY in particular of course. I am happier now, and what's more important, capable of happiness. I'm very grateful for the time that my family had together. We were able to go on family trips to Disneyland and Las Vegas. We said all of the things that need to be said at such a time, and left nothing unsaid.
And though I'll miss my dad every day, I'm ready for what comes next.
And for me, that means getting back to SFA.
And I'm also hoping that means this tragedy is over.
So thank you to the people who still believe in us. Thank you for the people who didn't forget. Thank you to everyone who ever read our story and enjoyed it. Sometimes life gets in the way, but we never stopped caring about SFA, and now we're going to try to bring it back, if you're still with us. Are you with us?