I like the way you put that, going dark for months at a time. Maybe I only viewed myself as being dishonest because I chose not to make it public. I decided I needed myself more than others and I felt guilty for that as if I were living a lie. Of course I had my family and what I refer to as my in real life friends by my side, including her.

I admire how she was able to stick with it and contribute so much of her energy into fulfilling other people’s selfish need when it came to her illness. I miss her and think of her every day. I can’t bring her back but I can hold onto what I have of her. For my birthday that year she carved a photo of my daughter and I in wood. It sits on the desk where I’m writing this now. When I look at it I no longer see us. I see her.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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