Writing in order to move on

This was going to be my programming and professional blog. A place to put technical thoughts, store my references to talks I’ve given and places I’ve traveled, and then pontificate on the tech landscape and the things that I keep learning along the way.

A lot has changed since I last wrote here and I debated writing about it elsewhere, but in truth, I need to write about it in order to move on and to get back to the tech stuff, so it might as well be here.

I have been on a hiatus from work at Mapbox since mid-December of last year.

In October, life was normal.

In November, my wife Michelle started having stomach pains and went to the doctor.

In December, doctors discovered advanced and metastasized pancreatic cancer.

In January, they told us that it was terminal and that she would maybe live a year.

In February, we rediscovered our footing emotionally and fought with all we had while trying to make life normal again along the way.

In March, despite promising indications, we found out that the grueling treatments weren’t having the hoped-for, slim-chance, miracle effects that we held out hope for.

In April, she died.

I wrote a lot on the treatment blog that we both kept during Michelle’s illness. It felt good and it was therapeutic, even if what I wrote about was, at its core, about being terrified and watching my best friend and soulmate’s life slip away.

Michelle and I last summer

But here I’m going to attempt to move on and write a bit more candidly about what I’m actually going through and what I’m trying to work out now, today, after this is all behind me and only I remain.

I have a lot of topics that I’ve been keeping notes on. There are a lot of layers to this.

In some ways, I find myself looking back fifteen years to where I was when I was on my own before. But of course, I am changed since those days and have a much different life. So it’s going to be a melding of both—picking up some thoughts, routines, and hobbies from long ago and trying to form brand new ones, too.

I’m not going to promise anything regular or methodical about these posts. I’m taking life as it comes these days as I try to rebuild, and writing will hopefully be part of that. It certainly feels good to write some of these things down now, so it’s promising that I’ll continue.

I found this tweet to be inspiring a few weeks ago:

I hope you can benefit from me writing—from learning more about my journey, but more importantly, from maybe taking away something that will someday help you deal with similar events, part or all. Of course, I don’t wish anything remotely like these experiences on anyone, but inevitably we all will face grief someday at the very least. Here’s hoping that me sharing a little of my humanity will help with that.

For me and for you.