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Just a Quick Note

Each week, I personally oversee every story that gets published here, or am in the midst of writing several myself. But my aunt recently passed away from breast cancer, and as a result, we’ll be publishing far fewer stories than we usually run this week.

My background is in journalism. I have literally written hundreds and hundreds of articles, and in each of them, I’ve left a little bit of me—writers call it voice—in them but I am always careful to never let it detract from the real story. I see bits of myself in them: I’m apathetic, interested, bored, rushed, passionate, pensive, inquisitive or just want to meet a deadline so I can pee. I like to think my soul is scattered across a thousand tiny pieces online. This time, I am naked and I am grieving.

My aunt will never be written about in great, broad strokes like they do in The New York Times obits. Instead, she just loved everyone deeply and intimately understood the struggle I went through building the blog. (She ran her own coffee shop. She also told me to open one. I said no.) She was old enough to see her children begin adulthood but young enough that my parents asked me if I wanted to travel alone to Pennsylvania to be the flower girl at her wedding. (Seven-year-old Erica was NOT cool on traveling alone back then.)

There is no great fanfare here, just great sadness as she fought breast cancer for the last, hard year. To run this blog, I keep a punishing schedule: I start working around 6 a.m. each day and I don’t “clock out” until 10 or 11 p.m., often with a small break for dinner in between. On the weekends, I rest and work five or six hours of work each day instead. Sometimes, the only thing keeping me going was knowing someone else was fighting an even more difficult fight. That’s the truth, and it’s harder for me to face without her.

This is for my aunt, who made me strong.

The one with the great smile, on the right.

The one with the great smile, on the far right.

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