Twenty-years ago this month, my daddy lost his battle with cancer. I was just shy of my 15th birthday. On my mother’s side, our Mexican culture, a Quinceanera was in order.
“He won’t make it til’ May.”
I appreciated the Hospice social worker’s honesty.
A bittersweet, humble celebration was planned. We bumped it up two months early. We should have gone two weeks earlier than that.
“We just want him to see you in your white dress!” I heard again and again.
I never did get to wear that white dress, and truthfully, I never wanted to. I held my daddy’s hand and wished him well on his way to Heaven, panicking when his chest stopped rising, but understanding it had to be.
One of the last memories I have of him being well is when we climbed up onto the roof. It was quiet, open, calm. My mom was always a nervous wreck when he took us kids up onto the roof, but she didn’t complain this time. We all knew time was precious and making memories far more precious.
Dad and I always talked about the future and how I was to finish school and grow up and be amazing. I had to promise to push my siblings to do the same.
“What’s your greatest dream, Cricket?”
My first and new dream was that scientists would find a cure for cancer overnight, but I’d never hurt him by telling him that, so I gave him the dream that sat in my heart since the days I’d devour Encyclopedia Brown books, and type short stories on the typewriter I begged for.
“Someday I want to write a book.” I cringed when he chuckled.
“Someday? You know you’re smart enough and good enough to do that now.”
“You’re right, Daddy. I guess I could start now.” I didn’t want to disappoint his faith in me. The match was lit.
Three years after he died, I did write a book. It’s about him. This book, my very first, never bound by a cover, only bound by my heart, got married with me, moved with me, and sits in the drawer by my bed. But I didn’t stop there.
Twenty years later, I’m still writing books. They sit quietly on thumb drives and in my e-mail, and printed out for revisions. So I decide to take it a step further. This part is probably harder than laboring over these precious manuscripts you pour your heart into.
I stand over my kitchen counter, eyes glued to the laptop scanning for those familiar words I have seen again and again.
“Your work just isn’t a good fit for us.”
Ah, you 20-something agent, although sweet, your rejection letter comes close to devastating my whole day. That is until one of my little ones pokes his head around the corner and smiles sweetly before asking for a Popsicle. That is until I walk into our toy room and find my three boys hugging, or walk into the dining room and find my beautiful stepdaughter dancing with those three little boys. That is, until I talk to my mom on the phone for the first time that day. That is until I glance at the picture of my daddy, smiling and strong. All these beautiful events and more, is when I remember why I continue to try.
One of my manuscripts finally found a home, the light of day, through beautiful Soulmate Publishing. It’s an amazing breakthrough for me.
I wrote a book, Dad. I wrote a book, and it’s getting published! Love you.