Winning NaNoWriMo was an emotional experience, although probably not for the reasons I'd have thought at the beginning of the month.
Yes, I won NaNoWriMo. I stopped at 50,390 words, although the story has not ended. I'm happy to avoid thinking about it for a while and might come back to it in the new year. I finished on Thursday last week which, coincidentally was the day I'd initially 'scheduled' to finish, but was also the day that, with one week to go, seemed to be the one that fitted best with the writing habits I'd maintained for the month. Not that habits is really the best word for such a short time span, but you know what I mean.
At the beginning of the day, I had about 3,000 words to go. I've been writing one scene in one sitting, and by early-mid afternoon I had only about 400 words to go. Then the phone started.
The first call was from my sister-in-law saying that if I wanted to see Dad one last time time, I'd better leave straight away. We'd taken the kids on Tuesday, with home-made birthday cards, and the hospital is a little over an hour's drive. I was home alone. There was no way I could do that drive. I decided I wasn't going and, as I'd seen him the Friday before on one of his best days, I was happy with that. And I knew others were on their way.
The next call was my other sister-in-law, returning an earlier call. I gave her the update and together we cried. She convinced me to call him, so I did my best to 'get it all together' and call, hoping to tell him I'd finished the 50,ooo words, certain this kind of lie was okay. But it was too late. I missed him by minutes.
I made a couple of other calls, then sat on the decking and let the storm surround me. I'm at peace with his passing, knowing that we were fortunate to have had him for the last 23 years at all and that his last few weeks, perhaps months, had been difficult. It seems this was the right time, if there can ever really be such a thing.
I thought about putting off the 400 words for a day, thinking it wouldn't be right to finish now, but then I changed my mind. Dad was always supportive of my writing and was one of the few people who truly 'get it', and he'd believed from the outset that I could win NaNo.
So, before the others got home, I belted out one more scene and submitted it for validation, then stared at the fireworks on my screen, totally unsure about how I felt. Other than knowing I will definitely do NaNo again.