I recently wrote the article What if 2020 wasn’t the worst year of your life? on Medium. This effort to share the trauma of surviving suicide is the first thing I have written since Geoff died that felt good, true and real and like the voice I seem to have lost since his death. I've been writing various short stories based on minor moments or external prompts, most of it ending up in the junk pile (I never throw anything away). I keep writing because it gives me pride and energy, things in short supply these hard days.
I'm so frustrated that suicide and grief are the topics that are flowing through me right now. I have so much I want to say about social justice, systemic privilege, political tolerance and so many more topics. But as with so many aspects of my life right now, the grief sucks the juice out of every other grape in the bunch. So I'm writing my experiences and finding unexpected comfort in giving voice to others who are stuck in this vapid box of raisins.
Three months ago today my loving husband, best friend and the proud father of our three adventurous teenagers took his own life. He was joy and laughter personified, and yet suffered from years of depression. He left his family, friends and community shocked and still struggling.
But he also left us with such happy memories. With salt water grins and hoots of jubilant Warrior pride. With corny dad jokes and chirpy life lessons that all revolved around living life aggressively and joyously. With a zealous need to cover the house in Patriots gear every football post-season. With a taste for a juicy grilled steak and a perfectly shucked oyster. With a warm puppy snuggled happily on the couch at his feet. Geoff knew sorrow and so embraced his joy that much more.
These past few months have been filled with a comforting stream of friends, co-workers, schoolmates, neighbors and family who have taken the time to visit, send a card, share a story, make a meal, decorate a lawn, give a hug, and just be there for us in so many ways. While no one can ever fill the void that was Geoff's booming presence, we will always treasure the myriad reminders that he was a happy and loving friend, father and husband.
We may never know why this happened, but we can learn from his experiences and understand depression, bi-polar and other mental illnesses better. The kids and I are working with our school, our church, and Geoff's employer to develop resources to help our community share and care openly and prevent this from happening to some other family.
Thank you for your love and support.
Editor's note: updated regularly to include new additions from the Twitter thread.
Another Editor's note: October is "horror fiction" month. Though not my usual genre, I've done my best to capture the spirit in the selections below.
After 20+ years as a tech CEO, I have decided to return to an early love; creative writing. While I work privately to produce, and hopefully publish, some of my work, I am also participating in a fun public creative writing challenge. The Very Short Story Twitter project is a large community of writing professionals who post daily mini-stories (only 280 characters long) based around a monthly theme and a daily prompt word.
I've decided to spend the month of October posting daily stories in the voice of one of the characters from my longer, super-secret work in progress. It will be a fun way to challenge myself daily to peer into the mind of my heroine and experience life (and horror themed prompt words) from her perspective.
You can follow my mini stories at: https://twitter.com/pamohara
You can follow all of the #VSS365 stories on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/hashtag/vss365
My Story (as VSS365 tweets):
10/01: I’m 15 years old w/16 #nights left to live. Do I dive into darkness to unravel a madman’s tangled mind? Build a fortress around my life, leaving others to suffer slaughter? Or live my lifetime of love in a few remaining days? Help me decide.
10/02: Although I sense the early notes of the chilling screen music foreshadowing my #murder, I feel compelled to inch forward. I know the evil that is here, so must find him & fight. No watching through the safety of the door cracks as others perish.
10/03: Silently walking down the hallway, I anticipate the pools of #blood that will soon stain these sterile floors. I must find the madman before he unloads his bullets of rage. I know he’s coming for us. He doesn’t know I’m coming for him.
10/04: There’s no #organ music playing in my horror story. A street smart poet w/grit & guns sings of survival, inspiring me forward to face the mad killer. Armed w/only a sharp blade & a bad bitch tune, I head for the fatal fight.
10/05: I’m willing to take #away the shooter’s life to save my own & my friends. Entering the classroom where he’ll unload his rage, I wait silently, contemplating the depravity I’ll need to stop the depraved one.
10/06: I’m not alone in this empty room. The short, sharp gasps of someone trying not to breathe break the silence. Is it the #demon, or another come to fight him w/ me?
10/07: “J?” I ask the darkness, tightening my grip on the steel blade behind my back, terrified I’ll need to use it. “Is that you?”
“I’m here,” he responds. “We’re all here.”
The whispered oaths of reinforcements is #music to my ears.
10/08: The smell of thrift store grunge w/a kick of #perfume tells me my army of girlfriends are here. I wait, emboldened by their silent support, for the killer to arrive.
To learn more about the release of the full novel, please follow me on Twitter at @pamohara
Welcome to the next phase of my journey. I've developed this website as a gathering place to highlight some of the things I have accomplished over my professional career and to explore some of the new adventures I am tackling.
My professional page highlights some of the work I have done in the software development and small business industries. I am thrilled to be continuing this work as a mentor and supporter of important Rhode Island organizations such as the Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Economic Progress Institute.
My writing page shows off some of the work I have done in the past and is where the exciting new stuff is to come.