Archive for January, 2008

It feels like I’ve been away a very long time from work. Today, I returned, hoping to create some sense of reality again since last week passed in a fog of disbelief and shock. No such luck. The entire day was surreal, from blow-drying my hair to parking on a crowded campus to answering questions about someone else’s spending habits to grocery shopping. Nothing seems quite real.

No word from Silver City but it would be so easy to lose myself in those daydreams and let all of this pass me by for another week or two. But how would you ever come back from that? With such a fundamental loss, how do you retreat, then come back to reality? When both my mother and father died, I took the proffered number of days (3) off, returning to work immediately. This time, I took longer, let myself be still and think about my brother. I still don’t think the grief of it has hit me, but at least I stopped for awhile to let it catch up. With my dad, it was six months till I cried. With my mother … well, that’s a story for another time. This is different. Our relationship was different. My grief is different. I am different.

It’s been a tough year so far….


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Richard Harper

Richard Harper (1948-2008)

My brother died this morning about 3 a.m. after a very short bout with cancer. His step-daughter called me yesterday afternoon and I talked to his wife Kathy, too. I had planned to drive down today to visit with him but he passed last night. It is hard to balance the sadness with the relief I feel that he did not suffer long with this. He was never a good “sick” person, and I know he would’ve been miserable to be bed-ridden and helpless. Despite the fact that we were not close friends, he was still my brother and I loved him. The world will be a little less bright without him.

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There has been much progress in the past month in the writer’s work, so let me update you:

1. Serve It Cold, final podcast episode released (thank you, Martha & Paul!).

2. Hattiesburg American article on Christmas Bird Count published.

3. Advertiser News (local community paper) rewrites HA article for release.

4. HA does feature article for Sunday paper on Christmas Bird Count (thank you, Valerie!).

5. Contract signed for weekly article in Gulf Coast Sun Herald (www.sunherald.com), beginning on 1-5-07.

6. Today, an “ad” in SH for upcoming column; Ronnie was interviewed by features writer at SH for feature story to appear on Friday (should be able to see this online).

7. We are still married today and it appears we may remain so through the weekend (it may still be too soon to tell!) and will celebrate our 24th anniversary Sunday.

8. Great weekend spent at cabin in Philadelphia with good friends from Memphis (thanks, Jim & Sharon [for very cushy accomodations!], Gladys[for directions], Kat & John [for driving down!]) with lots of wine, good companionship, catchup sleep, and great food (thanks for the gumbo, honey!).

now — will I or won’t I have a new job one way or another?  That is a question for another day . . .

This new year brings so much hope and potential, as all years, months, weeks, and days do. I am so grateful for the love and support of family, friends, and readers. Blessed be. Oh, and Happy New Year!

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