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Forgive me for not writing in some time. Life has been very difficult of late.
In early March, my mother passed away. Since May 2019 she was fighting a rare form of blood cancer called myelodisplastic syndrome. She received tremendous care and treatment from the doctors in Albany, NY and at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for more than two-and-half years and I’m thankful for them and for the exceptional work they do.
If this is the first you’re hearing of this - or that my mother was even ill - I apologize but it’s the way she wanted it to be. She never wanted to be seen as being sick, she never wanted anyone feeling bad for her and I wasn’t about to bring any attention on her (through me). Those immediately around me at work and people close to me knew, but frankly the public didn’t need to know.
I don’t need to discuss how hard everything has been since the pandemic began, but when it kicked into high gear in March 2020, that was about the time when my mom was going to be allowed to go outside in the world more. In October 2019 after rounds of chemotherapy, she had a procedure done in Boston that was a stem cell treatment done through bone marrow. After six months she was due to be re-immunized (since chemotherapy essentially erased her immunity from MMR and more) and allowed to do more in public. I was looking forward to that because all while she was undergoing chemotherapy it wasn’t safe to go home and visit. I was outside the immediate group of my father, my sister, and her roommate who were helping. Not being able to be on hand to do anything was so difficult and incredibly distressing. not just being unable to spend time with her but also the rest of my family who were also feeling the same fears and going through the same worries but face up with it every day. My role, instead, was to be an outlet for everyone over the phone, particularly my parents. It was a necessary thing to do for all of us but the inability early on to not even be able to visit home was very hard.
But the pandemic made all of that even more difficult. The thought of unknowingly bringing COVID-19 home and making anyone sick that absolutely could not be sick was more than enough to ensure I wouldn’t feel comfortable visiting until things cleared up or there was a vaccine. Thankfully, there was and I was able to spend some time at home, especially since I was laid off in June 2020. Once the vaccine arrived there was some time spent going home and just letting things feel whatever version of normal they could be. But it was never enough to make me feel good about anything, especially after she passed.
I know a lot of this is rambling but it was necessary for me to talk about out loud. I started Noted Hockey with the goal in mind to write more often and stay more involved with the game and the Sabres in particular, but in January 2022 things kept happening that stunted any kind of progress with my mother’s health. Thankfully for a good part of time through 2021 and early 2022 she was in remission, but another infection and her remission ending in late February/early March combined to ultimately take her. My mother was a staunch competitor and a very independent woman. She was also stubborn in the best of ways. You couldn’t boss her around and get your way. She was one of the kindest people with a heart as big as a house and I miss her every day.
I hope you all can understand why I wasn’t able to write. As a writer I’m the type that gets stuck in their own head a lot as it is, but with everything happening the way it was. writing was the last thing I found myself capable of doing. It makes sense then that the time I feel like I’m able to come out of it and actually put words together again is when the season is over. I’m going to write more and get back into the flow. I’ll be analyzing stuff through the playoffs and punting out Sabres ideas as they come to me and moving ahead I will be offering paid subscription pieces.
My plan for this will be fleshed out in a future piece, but 10% of the cost from each paid subscription will go directly to the MDS Foundation. I have to do something in some way to help others whose loved ones will face up with this illness and I have a platform in which I can do that in some way.
I’m sorry for having been gone for so long and I am thankful to those of you who through Twitter have expressed your condolences and your kind words and given me the time to get back on my feet.