Sometimes you have to take a break

A few months ago, I decided that I was going to write a blog post every single week, no exceptions. I need structure in my life, and most of the time I have to develop that structure myself. So, for five consecutive weeks I nailed it. I posted every week and found an amazing groove.

Then life happened.

Recently, it was brought to the family’s attention that my father was incredibly sick. He was a very proud man, and did not want sympathy or help at all. Finally, he was taken to the hospital. I lived at the hospital with my sister that week. It did occur to me that I was going to miss posting a blog post and that I also wasn’t going to get any coding practice in. In the back of my mind it did bug me, but as I watched my father sleep, I didn’t care about JavaScript, Medium, or anything outside of the moments I had left with him.

He was finally released from the hospital and I brought him back to my home on hospice to keep him as comfortable as we could manage. (btw, hospice workers are incredible, and have my complete and total respect!) My sister moved into my house as well and she was amazing. For about 1/2 a week, I did come back to work, but was constantly checking up on them and trying to get all of his affairs in order.

Eventually, it was too much and I just went home to spend time with my father. That happened to be the day he passed away.

My father was a Vietnam Veteran, a wonderful artist, and a great friend. His artistic influence helped direct me to where I am today. As a young kid, I would watch Bob Ross on TV with my dad, and then watch as my dad painted similar paintings just like Bob did. I was in awe of my dad as a little kid. My sister and I shared a bedroom, and one night, we went to sleep, and when we woke up, there was a huge Strawberry Shortcake painted on our bedroom wall. Somehow, that man was able to sneak into our room, sketch and paint this perfect character, and sneak out without us ever knowing he was in there. I wanted to be able to paint just like him, but I didn’t have the patience or the natural ability, but I knew I had that artistic dna in my blood somewhere. I come from a long line of family members in the military, and I joined in my early 20’s. When I got out, I became a graphic designer and was actually pretty good at it, and that eventually led me to where I am today as a front-end developer. I don’t do visual graphic design as much anymore, but building out code and development is an art of its own. One of dad’s friends recently told me that when commercials about websites would come on the TV, he would make sure that everyone around him knew that his kid did that for a living. That makes me so proud.

You don’t always see who is influencing you and guiding you on your path, but when you take the time to look back you can clearly see and appreciate who you helped you along your life’s journey.

I know that this is a really depressing blog post, but I am sharing this story for a reason. Coding is incredible. I love my job, I love this career, and I love building things. However, you can structure your schedule to the T and have a nice flow going, but the moment real life knocks at your door, you need to answer it. Family should always come first.

That refactoring project isn’t going anywhere, but in the blink of an eye things change, so you need to be present in this moment, this memory, this life.

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