Heart to Heart: A Year-end Reflection

December 31, 2019 – It’s been a year. Man, has it been a year! Like many folks, the end of the calendar year brings reflection and remembrance…and, perhaps, a little remorse. For me, even the month of December brought a flood of new experiences along with memories from the prior year.

I decided, in an indirect way, to have a heart-to-heart talk with myself. Maybe this time I’ll listen.

Writer’s Block

Two more feature articles (see screen shot below) were published online this month (December) at StoryBoard Memphis. While I’ve enjoyed writing these stories along with researching and learning about my subjects, feature writing has taken me away from my true writing love – fiction. So, at some point in 2020, I want to block out enough time to finish my novel.

Yes, Elvis is truly everywhere…even in Arizona’s Verde Valley.


It’s been one year (December 21, 2018) since I had a heart attack. I wrote about my experience last year at this same time (see All I Want For Christmas…). Life has changed, life has stayed the same, and, as we all know, life moves on. My heart attack was essentially genetic, but I’ve got to continue to take care of myself – like all of us – in order to prevent any more issues.

In an ironic twist, on December 21st (2019), Skincancer.net re-shared one of my blog posts (A Walk in the Park) in their Facebook feed. It’s one of my favorite pieces from 2019 with a very simple message: nothing in life is a walk in the park.

Survivor’s Guilt

One definition of survivor’s guilt states that someone may feel guilty – as though he or she has done something wrong – because they have survived a traumatic or life-threatening event when others have not. Those of us who deal with cancer walk a tightrope of emotions, and survivor’s guilt can rear its ugly head at any moment – especially during the holiday season. I previously talked about my own guilty feelings in the post An Emotional Morning.

A great shot from Miles for Melanoma. Our Centrum Silver moment.

That guilt and pain took center stage right after New Years when I found out that yet another friend had died from cancer. This friend and I shared the same birth date (May 20) and with his passing the close-knit blues music community (national and international) lost a great advocate.

Reflecting on Another Year

I’ve grown tremendously this past year – both as an advocate for skin cancer research and melanoma prevention and as a writer with several published stories to my credit. One of my big successes -under both advocacy and writing – was a piece published (online) nationally by Coolibar Sun Protective Clothing. As it turned out, the original story (from July 31, 2019) was re-shared by Coolibar on Facebook on December 30th.

December 31st

It’s been five (5) years since my mom died, so 2019 ended with an anniversary that no one wanted to celebrate. I’ve written two posts about her decline from dementia and her passing. My dad still misses her very much, of course, but it’s a sad way to ring in the new year…any new year.

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Writer’s Note – I’ll continue to update my blog on a periodic basis.  No set schedule.  So, I want to thank everyone who continues to stop by and check out my blog. Please leave a comment or message; I’d love to hear from you.