Let me begin by thanking Henry for jumping in and taking the con on zero notice and for doing a terrific job of keeping The Friday Challenge going in my absence. Special thanks also to Torainfor and WaterBoy: "They also serve who only stand and wait." It was a great comfort to know that you were there if I needed you, and given that I need to go back out there again before the month is out, I may yet call on you, if only to share a cup of coffee and a shoulder to cry on.
I'm sure there are many more who also have jumped in and helped in the past eleven days, who I should be thanking by name now, and I do thank you, but honestly, I'm still in such a daze right now I can barely remember my own name.
I'm not really "back" in any functional sense. I will be trying to work back into fully participating here, but have no idea of how long that may take. Ergo, for the foreseeable future, Henry is in charge. I'd always hoped The Friday Challenge could grow into something much bigger than me. (Huh! Imagine that; a writer wanting to see something become bigger than his own ego!) I'd just greatly have preferred to see it come about in a much different way.
Some of you already know what has happened. Others may have some sense of it, but since rumors and speculations always expand to fill the vacuum left by the absence of facts, I want to get the clear facts out now for everyone to see.
For the past 28 years, it has been my great joy in life to be the father of Emily Bethke, a wonderful girl who grew up to become an amazing woman. Unfortunately Emily also developed epilepsy in her teenage years, and while it has been under control for years — and epilepsy is not generally considered a life-threatening condition — for some reason, on the morning of Friday, September 25th, Emily had a seizure, went into arrest, and never regained consciousness. This outcome is rare, but common enough to have a name, and if you want to learn more about SUDEP you can read this article.
I want to stress, before any assinine things show up on wikipedia, that her passing was from purely natural causes that were sudden, unpredictable, and apparently, unavoidable.
This is about as much as I can manage right now. I will be posting her full obituary later today.
Thank you all very much,
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