On Day 18 the movie viewing stopped. This end was foreshadowed on Day 16 when, after viewing The Impossible, I checked my phone to find 3 urgent texts from my sister. My Dad was at the doctor after falling down and not being strong enough to pick himself up. While this was upsetting, it was also somewhat expected. We had been concerned about my Dad’s health for some time. We asked him repeatedly over the past two months what might be going on. We inquired, nagged, prodded and guessed until we were blue. He is an extremely private and independent being, so we got nowhere. We were worried about this turn of events, of course, but also found ourselves relieved that he would finally get checked out.

Things sped up from there. He was admitted to the hospital, my sister and I got plane tickets and within 30 hours of receiving those texts we learned he had been diagnosed with cancer 3 years ago, kept it to himself and now had kidney failure. We found ourselves in a tornado of information, doctors, tests, Hospice coordinators and prognoses. I agreed to stay here and be his primary caretaker so that he could go home to receive hospice care. This decision was made in a flash and without a moment’s hesitation. Sometimes you just get clear on what to do. My sister would come down frequently and together we would see him through his life and give him good care.

So I find myself here in California, one week later, in a whole new reality. It has been a stressful week to say the least. Completely surreal. I gave very little thought to my movie challenge as there were obviously more pressing issues at hand. But now we have been home for 5 days and have navigated our way into a routine. He is comfortable at this time and so we are doing a lot of hanging out: reading, talking, napping, visiting. And, of course, there will be movies.

My Dad and I have seen hundreds of movies together. I will let you in on a little family psychosis … umm that is to say secret. When I was in my twenties I decided to make a list of every movie I had ever seen. I told my Dad I was doing this and he decided to do it too. We are a family of list makers. I let my list go within 5 years but my Dad is no quitter. His list is currently up to date!

In the coming days and weeks there will be many challenges and plenty of highs and lows. Movies have always been a joy for us as a family. That joy will help carry us through some tougher moments. It may not be a movie every day, but I will resume my challenge. I will still see 31 movies and share them with you. I will add those movies to my Dad’s list and keep it current. We will both enjoy that!

I feel incredibly lucky to be supported in all of this. Before the drama of my Dad’s health unfolded I was touched and tickled by the response to my 31 Days, 31 Movies challenge. Friends, colleagues, clients would want to know which movie I saw yesterday and which movie I was seeing today. They embraced the project and cheered me on.

Since learning of my Dad’s illness and my need to take time away, people have simply been amazing. I have received incredible support and kindness. It touches me deeply. I appreciate you sharing in my life, good times and bad. It is a pleasure for me to write and know that those who read this do so with such open hearts. Thank you.

More to come.

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