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I Just Can’t Come

Do you ever procrastinate the end of something, because you know you’re going to cry? Okay, I’m not asking you male readers, because you won’t admit it, even if you shed a tear or two.

Anybody? Does the prospect of extreme emotion make you put something off? Delay finishing?

I’d love to hear your experiences, because I might not feel like a weirdo.

Every time I finish a draft, it’s like a little death. No, I don’t have an Shakespearean orgasm. His contemporaries referred to orgasm as ‘the little death.’ I’ve never understood that, given how orgasm is such an expression of Life.


Back to the draft.

Every time I finish a draft of Not Without My Father, I’m afraid I’m going to get a phone call. I even hear the voice on the line. It’s the summons anyone with a living parent dreads.

“Your dad’s terminal in the hospital.”

“Your mom’s…..gone.”

I got to that place yesterday. It took me four hours to finally face it. I cried for much of last night, even though my parents are fine.

And I know I’ll do the same thing today, when I go back to the beginning.

Do you do this in some aspect of your life, Dear Reader? Please tell me I’m not the only one.




Yesterday’s Meriwether Lewis Birthday Month Trivia Question: WHAT YEAR WAS MERIWETHER LEWIS BORN?

Answer: 1774. Two years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. Lewis was technically a subject of the English crown when he breathed his first breath.


I hope you can’t wait to hear about my new book. Not Without My Father, my memoir of my 444-mile Natchez Trace walk and adventure with my dad in the twilight of his life, will be available for advance readers October 1, 2014. If you are a book reviewer and are interested in a first look, please email publisher(at)wordhermitpress(dot)com to request an Advance Reader Copy. A limited number will be available. My publisher outlines ARC criteria here:

In the meantime, To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is just $2.99 on Kindle during August in celebration of Meriwether Lewis’ Birthday Month.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Or click below to buy it.


To check out the entire Meriwether Lewis Birthday Month Series, follow the links below:

Lewis and Clark: Screwing Their Way Across a Continent
Lewis and Clark and Sex Bombs
Who Was Meriwether Lewis Godfather?
If Meriwether Lewis Had Lived to be 80
Lewis and Clark and Old Blue Eyes
The Lion Will Lie Down With the Lamb
My Natchez Trace Walk Featured in We Proceeded On
Dead People Follow Me And They Talk To Me
Is Suicide the Final Arbiter of a Life. For Robin Williams. And Meriwether Lewis.
WordPress Is Killing Me
Fate’s Fickle Fingering
Happy Birthday Meriwether Lewis

42 Comments Post a comment
  1. i think i do it when seeing, or reading, or listing to works of art that i so enjoy, oh, and vacations, i simply don’t want them to end )

    August 19, 2014
  2. I’ll man up. As you recall, our parents are close in age and while yours are “in state”, mine are 750 miles North. While I still talk to them 3-4 times/week, each time I see them now, which is 3-4 times/year, I wonder if it will be the last time. All the little funerals in our life prepare us for the big ones. I try not to lecture them, even when I want to scream at them for decisions they make. In fact, they are now my oldest children.

    My dad is a retired police chief and I often think about the pomp and circumstance of such a funeral and yes, I tear up because I know it will be very special and will mean alot to us.

    I’m fifty-four and still have both my parents living. That is a blessing as we are closer now than we have ever been. But, every story has an ending.

    Life is short, Andra and dead is for a very long time (unless you come back to life in a novel)…enjoy living in the moment.

    If you don’t want to deal with it, just fake it and make believe.

    The rest will take care of itself…..RJV

    August 19, 2014
  3. Nope, too much of a bloke to understand. ; )

    August 19, 2014
  4. Dear Andra, please tell me your poor foot is doing much better. I cringed when I saw that photo. As for admitting that I cry that is not hard to do. I hate to admit it but I do have a soft spot for many things. Movies seem to do it the quickest especially when the movie reminds me of something that is near and dear to my heart. I remember losing my grandmother in 1980 when I graduated from high school and I lost my dad in 1990. He had a military funeral and for many years I could not see a military funeral in the movies. I would have to get up and walk out of the theater. Then was the death of our precious child in August of 2000. You can imagine what that did for us. Sigh….. Life and death is all part of the equation I suppose. Hugs

    August 19, 2014
  5. Natalie Goldberg refers to this as being “used by the muse!” I know that after I’ve finished a song or a poem that’s torn my heart wide open I sometimes wander around in a state of stunned mourning…

    August 19, 2014
  6. Every phone call makes me think the worst. And I got one of those when my mom had her fatal stroke. I think we all want the good times to never end.

    August 19, 2014
  7. Oh, I do pre-emptive crying and all sorts of avoiding 🙂
    But the things that make us cry so deeply are the important things, the things we can’t really avoid. They are the things to be savoured and honoured and written about. I love that you have written this memoir, Andra.

    August 19, 2014
  8. John Coleman #

    My goodness, but you’ve been a busy writer, Andra. Best of luck with the new book. And, if it’s emotionally taxing, yes, I’ve done it. Anticipatory crying, sure–as if there isn’t enough to cry about already! Peace and best, John

    August 19, 2014
  9. I definitely go there in my imagination when I think about my parents dying.

    As for your new book, well, you know you have to come on the blog and be interviewed, don’t you? That’s a requirement. 😀

    August 19, 2014
  10. I get teary at all types of things, but rarely “cry” which in my book means sobbing. However, last year after visiting some of my Mama’s contemporaries who are also mothers of my friends and who were important to me when I was growing up, I sobbed. Then for weeks after, every time I thought of losing my mother, I cried. My solution was whenever I felt like that to call my Mama and tell her I loved her. One time I called at 11:15 PM (she is generally awake then–though I’m not) and she thought something was wrong with ME. I just told her I had to say, “I love you…and I have realized that you will not always be with me and so I’m calling to say that right now, I love you…and want you to know…”. It helped me, but she said I didn’t have to call that late in the night again. 🙂

    August 19, 2014
  11. Like Cheryl, I tear up easily (like super, super easily…), but I rarely full-on cry.

    I don’t recall crying in anticipation of something (sorry, you’re on your own here, Andra!), but then again, I haven’t really pondered a potential loss of the sort you’re describing. Denial seems to be an effective strategy for me at this point. 😉

    August 19, 2014
  12. No, you are not the only one. Most of us have the same fears. Some work them out differently.

    August 19, 2014
  13. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    I still cry when I realize my mother is dead. I mean, I know in my heart every day that she is gone but, sometimes, it just washes over me and I am overcome with grief. I worry about Daddy living alone and no one there to take care of him, although he seems perfectly capable of taking care of himself. Pre-grief doesn’t prepare you for the real thing. When Stuart died, I knew he had been sick for months and that he was going to die but it still didn’t make the finality of death any easier. Enjoy every day with your parents, Andra. I hope your Daddy gets to realize his dream of living in the mountains!

    August 19, 2014
  14. I think about my mom and “the phone call” almost every day given her age. I don’t cry every day, but it’s a heavy piece of my heart. I tend to get teary-eyed when I’m with mom and the reality of her fragility and mortality is right in front of my face. Enjoy your time with mom and dad – their presence and life are so precious – and rejoice in each draft as it is a wonderful testimony to your father’s life.

    August 19, 2014
  15. My waterworks are always near the surface, ready to spill with little or no notice, and I’m here to tell you that aging does not diminish that in any way. Whether the tears are a reflection of anticipated loss or the losses themselves, whether they reflect frustration, anger or joy, I choose to believe they are honest and cleansing. The only time tears make me angry is when someone employs them as a wheedling tool

    August 19, 2014
  16. My eyes will fill up at odd times, from a song on the radio, reading, seeing something on TV. It’s like I’m allergic to emotions. My eyes water. Then I have to blow my nose. Just part of the deal. I got to be there when my dad died. I watched him stop breathing and kissed him. I did not fall apart, there was too much to do. Six weeks later, the phone rang at 4:00 AM and my mom had passed. I’m still letting that out a little bit at a time. You’re human, Andra. All this change threatening to happen WILL happen. It is a rite of passage in most everybody’s life. It is a fundamental birthplace of Art.

    August 19, 2014
  17. I feel that when my lovely step-daughters head back to their mom’s house. Heartbreaking, every time. Also, Vacations. I am never ready for those to end!

    Sometimes, I buy a book and put off reading if for a year. Because I know it’s going to be hurt my heart and It’s hard to put yourself through that pain, on purpose.

    I think your feelings are par for the course!

    August 19, 2014
  18. tarakianwarrior #

    I’m a procrastinator….I will not deal, I will not deal, I will not deal, until I MUST deal. :-/

    August 19, 2014
  19. I procrastinate. AND I’m paranoid. I firmly believe I sometimes accidentally make things happen. So yeah, I get it.

    August 19, 2014
  20. michaelcarnell #

    I do cry. I actually can be fairly emotional. But, I don’t cry over things like this. The normal progression of time and what may be coming doesn’t hit me.

    I almost always cry at weddings though. Yes, I know that is kinda wimpy. And I cry when there is a great outpouring of supporting emotion – like this year’s Pride Parade.

    And I may, sometimes, cry over what might have been, if I had done more. Or tried harder. Or been a better person.

    But the future, I don’t have time to cry for it yet. There is still hope for the future.

    August 19, 2014
  21. It really depends on where I’m at in my life on how painful it feels to think about the death of a parent. If it were to happen at the wrong moment, I could see it being the straw that broke the camel’s back. There are enough problems in the world, and trying to keep it together sometimes just doesn’t happen.

    August 19, 2014
  22. Yep! I can run ahead with all sorts of “catastrophic expectations” and live THE moment before it’s even on the horizon. I think, for me, it sometimes serves the purpose of allowing me to feel some of the emotion and realize I can survive. That’s in reference to losing a parent/partner…the endless list of potential losses. When I finish anything I’ve given my heart to I feel the letdown that brings an emotional kick-back in response to the energy and adrenaline overload that was required to finish it in the first place. I think nature did us a service with this, but that’s a whole treatise you don’t need to hear today. 🙂 Just be well!! ox

    August 19, 2014
  23. You’re not alone, Andra I am a complete procrastinator when I know an emotional ending is on the horizon. It doesn’t have to be sad, just something full of feeling or change and I start tearing up. Also, even though I know “the” call can (and does) come at any time of the day I can’t help jumping a little when ever the phone rings after 9:00 pm afraid it will bring more sad news. On a happier note, I’m looking forward to reading Not Without My Father. 🙂

    August 19, 2014
  24. Your foot, Andra. You could do with applying some pure powdered turmeric upon the hurt.
    And about letting my imagination fly regarding my parents dying… isn’t something new. When I was about 10 years young, I had a recurring strange dream wherein my father gifts me a toy gun and I shoot him. What made that dream even more creepy was that my mother, in the dream, said something like, “Oh, you killed him. Sigh.” No wailing, screaming. No reaction, whatsoever. It creeped the hell out of my 10 years young self.

    Apart from dreaming this particular dream for probably a year or two, I really lost my mind when my grandmother passed away. My mother was distraught and that is when I started wondering and imagining even more about my parents dying, all of a sudden.

    I reckon it is pretty much normal crying about an issue as such – emotional emission is a must.

    And recover soon, Andra. :’)

    August 19, 2014
  25. It’s not a nice feeling, Andra, that phone call.
    If I’m writing, I steer away from ‘that area’, miles away, and keep my characters safe with me. They’d have me write what’s needed, but no. They can’t end that way.

    August 19, 2014
  26. I have definitely seen an increase in my ability to cry more easily since I turned that awful 50. I was always a crier but more so now, believe me. If I let my imagination take hold of me, forget about it. Especially when it comes to parents or children. The loss of my father was monumental and I cannot imagine not having my mother around. Most often I think about something horrible happening to my babies. Sigh. I think I do like denial more and more as I age. xo

    August 19, 2014
    • Tomorrow I drop off my daughter at Villanova…there will be some major crying going on! 😦

      August 19, 2014
  27. While I lost my parents fairly young, I still have a good bit of a cry now and again over the loss, then, remember all they gave me in life. “tis good to have a good cry when needed, Andra.

    Okay. Confession. I often keep phone messages until whomever it is that called is safely home. A bit of a superstition on my part – but, there, you have it.

    August 19, 2014
  28. Dear, Dear, Dear Readers:

    I read every comment today. It was the last day of hard edits with my editor, and I spent a good portion of the day being flogged about grammar and plot holes. (Just kidding, Dear Editor. I couldn’t write without you.)

    I have checked in throughout the day (primarily as I was doing a circuit walk almost entirely uphill to clear my brain), and I’ve enjoyed reading your comments. Please do not take my lack of individual response as a negation of the importance of your comment. I read every comment. Every day. I enjoy what you have to say more than anything I write.

    August 19, 2014
  29. Cate Russell-Cole #

    I know what you’re saying. My dad put me through many, many moments such as this when he was in the looooooong process of leaving this world.

    Speaking of leaving, I’m sorry I haven’t been around for a long while myself, online that is. Its a health thing… I hope to be back online more regularly now.

    The best of luck with those awful edits. They are worth it!

    August 20, 2014
  30. Even though my parents are gone, I still feel the sting of those last moments. I wrote a couple of short stories with thoughts of my father, and I still choke up when I read them. Not quite the same, but I have to be careful what I write, as I”m a crybaby at heart.

    August 20, 2014
  31. Sorry Andra – your “Okay, I’m not asking you male readers, because you won’t admit it, ” is blantantly sexist. There are lots of us who are not afraid to cry or admit to crying. Please don’t tar us all with whatever brush you’re waving around 😦

    August 20, 2014
  32. Lance #

    I’m a month behind on finishing mu book and not writing today to move the teenager into college….so, yeah.

    August 21, 2014
  33. This just shows how real your writing is, that it connects you to life events which haven’t yet occurred. I relate. No response needed!

    August 26, 2014

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