The Weight of Grief

In my life, I have lost many people, but none so close to me as my father. I thought I was prepared to say goodbye. I thought I’d had enough time ahead of the loss to be mentally ready to lose him.

I was wrong.

So very wrong.

When I was a child, I sat on my great-grandfather’s porch swing while he told me about his life and I wrote it all down. I wrote a ten-page paper for school documenting the highlights of his life. I got a perfect score and then I lost him months later. I’d kill for that document back. It’s been lost over the years. I don’t even remember what it said. I only barely remember what his face looked like and I only have one surviving photograph.

In my teens, my cousin who was two years older than me was killed. Some people said it was a suicide, others argue he couldn’t have done it himself. I don’t know either way since I was a child and I didn’t really understand. I remember crying in gym class at school because I didn’t understand why it happened to him. He had been my favorite male cousin since he didn’t treat me like a girl. I do not even have a picture of him.

In 2004, I lost my Grandma Margie to breast cancer. She was my favorite person alive at the time and my personal hero. Before she died, she got to meet two of my children, but they don’t really remember her. She taught me all of the things about life I needed to know. She taught me how to sew, cook, and clean. She taught me that you stand up for your family and what you believe in. She taught me that religion is much more than a church pew. And she taught me that even if you hate the president, you show respect for the position and the weight of the responsibilities that person has accepted. You don’t have to love everyone but you should never hate them. Hate is the ugliest word a person can say. She always encouraged me to write, explore, and grow.

I only have a few pictures of her and my memories of her have started to fade and disappear.

I went a little crazy after she died. I left my horrid boyfriend and got into a comparably worse relationship, toxic and violent. I began drinking and partying in all of my free time. I hid from my family and let myself become a victim.

It took three years for me to wake up and get out.

My Grandma Katie was next to go from my life. She was a sick woman, having endured multiple brain surgeries and ten years of doctors telling us she wouldn’t make it through the night. I remember so many hospital waiting rooms, gathered with the family, expecting her to die but she didn’t. She kept getting better. When she finally passed away, it was hard to believe it was real. I kept expecting a phone call that she was okay. She was the most resilient woman I ever met, having endured the hardest life imaginable and refusing to give in to it. I have a few pictures but not too many and only one that was taken before she got sick.

In 2020, as the pandemic was beginning, we were informed my father had stage 4 lung cancer and probably wouldn’t live long. I do not believe I grasped the severity of it. But, we got three years with him.


Three years, during which time I think we all started to believe he would last much longer. In the beginning, we spent a lot of time with him. As those three years moved, we spent less time with him. Every single day I would wake up and think about visiting but something always stood in the way. Money, school, and time. None of it matters anymore. It was never a good enough excuse to not get in the car and drive.

Lately, I’ve been collecting photographs of my father. I want pictures from his entire life because I am terrified I will forget him. When I shower, I listen to music I associate with him and I cry. Every single time. I wear his hat every day and I have a small collection of possessions my step-mother let me take when I left the last time.

It will never be enough.

I message his phone occasionally but I know that will be turned off and the number will go to someone else eventually. I dread the day someone tells me to stop messaging it.

I’m trying so hard to hold myself together, but sometimes it feels like I’m going to drown in the sorrow. It weighs more than I do and I cannot hold myself together against it.

But, I am not a quitter. I won’t give up. I just hold on to the knowledge that everyone tells me it will get easier. History has taught me the pain will fade. But sometimes I don’t want it to. I don’t want to forget him. Good and bad, I need those memories to know that he was real and that his life mattered.

Hopefully, in the near future, I can get back to my writing and regular entries on this blog. For now, dear readers, please understand that grief is keeping me from moving forward. I will get there, but you must be patient with me.

Until next time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Before my father died, I published a novel for him. It wasn’t specifically for him, but I have always told him that someday I would write a book and he would see my name on the cover. I was able to give him a copy of that book in November of last year. I am not a big fan of self-promotion and I’m pretty bad at it. But if you want to check out that book, you can find it here.

Eulogy to my Dad

On April 30, 2023, exactly 61 years after he was born, a relatively unknown small-town country boy named Kenneth Andrew Welton (known as Andy) passed from this world into the next, surrounded by his wife and most of his children. While his life was not spectacular or fancy, he was beloved by those who knew him, and he will be desperately missed.

In life, my father was a mystery to me. I have so many memories, faded with time, that reveal only a tiny fraction of the whole man. Many of those memories are untrustworthy, tainted by my young age and inexperience with life. I’ll never know his whole story now, and I wish I had asked him more about his past and his life, but I was afraid. Afraid of what he would tell me, afraid of what he wouldn’t, afraid he wouldn’t humor me, afraid that he would. My father was a private man of very few words, at least about important things. I will regret not learning more for the rest of my life.

As cancer killed his body, it could never touch his spirit. In the end, as he wanted, he passed at home with his family in as much peace and comfort as possible. I was privileged to spend a lot of time with my father and stepmother in the final months. I experienced many beautiful moments and many of which were heartbreaking.

My father spent three years dying from cancer. I spent as much time with him as possible, but I always wished it had been more. Every time I took the drive from Missouri to Wisconsin, I cried for the moments I would miss. I spent many nights over these three years worrying that when his battle ended, I wouldn’t be there. Thanks to my stepmother, my brothers and I were there with hours to spare of his passing. Only one of my father’s five children was not present.

Many of those closest to my father visited him in the days and months leading up to his final moments. I know he appreciated those visits, even when he couldn’t say so himself. My gratitude goes out to every single person who visited and thought about him as he reached the end. I continue to be thankful to all who have expressed condolences to our family as we cope with this loss. I cannot express how much I appreciate his care team of doctors, nurses, and specialists who gave him so many extra years.

I have so much to say about this, but the words fail me now. As I come to terms with my grief, I will share as much as I am able. I am working on a creative piece, an “ode to my father” of sorts. It breaks my heart each time I work on it, so it will take some time. For now, I am keeping my mind busy with physical projects, something my father would have done to distract himself.

Even just looking at his pictures makes me cry buckets, and I drown in the devastation I feel, knowing he is no longer here with us. My world feels empty without him right now. I know this pain will fade eventually, but for now, I feel it acutely.

Until next time, dear readers, hold your loved ones closely and cherish every single moment. We are not promised tomorrow.

Cathy Marie Bown

Book Cover Ideas

I’m working on a few different projects right now, given that my mind is everywhere and nowhere all at once. I know I need to write more every day, but depression is keeping me underwater, and to be honest, it’s hard to want to create anything.

Last night, I started playing around with a few book cover ideas for one of my projects. I’ve decided this one is going to take priority for a few weeks since it’s Halloween inspired, and that is my favorite time of the year. I need some inspiration. I need motivation. I need desire.

So, here is where you come in. I want to know what you think. Keep in mind these are just ideas, and the final cover will probably change. But, while I’m working on a story, I like to have rough ideas for the cover to keep my inspiration flowing.

Which one inspires you more? Which cover below makes you want to pick up the book? Which one delivers a clear message that this is a spooky but also an exciting book?


For this cover, I went with a spooky, witchy vibe. It’s clearly a darker book. I’m not entirely sold on this one since the book content will be both spooky and humorous. I do love the witchy aesthetics of this one and its simplicity.


I like the playful design of this one and its overall Halloween vibe. It doesn’t indicate what type of monsters we are about to visit, but it certainly invokes the atmosphere I am aiming for.


How about some fun blue tint? This one gives off Twilight vibes, and that is why I kinda love it.


This cover is simple and childlike. I love the black/orange contrast.

So, what do you guys think? Which one do you prefer and why? There is no time limit for giving me your opinion. Whenever this post finds you, drop me a comment and give me your opinion!

Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Microfiction – A very short Contemporary Story

I’d spent the last ten years building my cooking skills, working in every professional kitchen I could, so I would qualify for Chopped and be the most confident person on the stage. As the first-round buzzer sounded and I looked at my plates, missing ingredients with raw chicken, I knew it was over.

Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

What I’m Reading…

My non-fiction book of the week is…

To be honest, I was a little leary about reading a book promoting being single. However, I highly recommend this book to anyone. So, I’m about halfway through right now, and this book is fantastic! Kim has a lot of insight into how we sabotage ourselves and our relationships, creating the downward spirals and codependency cycles most of us live in all our lives.

As I am trying to break the codependency cycle so I can be a better person, not only for me but for my children and family as well, I am seeking out books recommended to help me make sense of my past and the destructive habits I have adopted along the way through my traumatic life. I’m listening to the audiobook, read by the author, and it is fantastic. The author is a real person who has made monumental mistakes in his past and learned from them. He’s also a therapist, so he’s trained to know what he did wrong. The fact that he continues to learn and grow inspires me to do the same.

My fiction book of this week is…

#5 in the “Digital Dating” series, this book is the culmination of the pairing off of the Cunningham family as the mother, who lost her husband years before, finally finds love and completes the family’s transformation into a new chapter in their cumulative life.

The thing I love so far about these books is that it’s very clear from the beginning what the misunderstanding is going to be that causes the couple to break up, but the reader is helpless to stop it. Instead, you get to watch as both characters, and the side characters, bumble their way into making things so much worse before they reach a point where they have to stop and fix it.

Stay tuned this week for more creative writing, more upcoming project information, and more wallowing in existential dread. I look forward to seeing you there!

Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Microfiction – A very short Supernatural Story

I’d spent my entire life searching for vampires, finding nothing until the moment of my death. As the creature bit down, I knew I would spend every day of my afterlife searching for a way to become human again.

Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Microfiction – A very short Romance story

Losing Maggie on her thirtieth birthday had been devastating for Jason but hearing her heartbeat inside the chest of the beautiful woman in the other car had brought tears to his eyes. When the woman took his hand and thanked him, their eyes locked, and he knew he would do anything for her and follow her anywhere.

Until Next Time,

Cathy Marie Bown

Microfiction – A very short Young Adult Story

Juliet had already decided to die, of that, nobody could argue. Deciding to take Romeo with her was the greatest act of rebellion she could imagine.

Until Next Time,
Cathy Marie Bown

Free- a poem

Hopelessness is consuming me tonight, so I decided to try the crisis line. The woman on the other end told me she understood, but she wasn’t really listening. I feel like I’m screaming at the world, begging it to listen, but nobody can hear me. I have become the invisible woman. Since nothing is working, I will put my words here. I’ve written a poem that I want to share. To truly experience its meaning, you need to zoom out, so all of the lines fit on your screen completely. If you look closely and with your heart instead of your eyes, I’ve made a self-portrait for you.

When you look back on these days

I hope you know I loved you

I hope you know I tried

All I ever wanted was

to be exactly what

you needed




you craved

what you wanted

But it didn’t matter because

I could never be good enough.

I could never be pretty enough.

I could never be smart enough.

I could never be sweet enough.

I could never be funny enough.

I could never be happy enough.

I could never be cool enough.

I could never be hot

I could never be






What I’m Reading

I’ve moved on to #5 in the Christmas Tree Ranch series. I love this series so much! Everything about these books is like a warm winter hug.

I’m also reading #3 in the Digital Dating series. These books are so adorable and cute. I have been devouring them in a day.

My non-fiction book is still Save the Cat! Writes a Novel. I have been so wrapped up in the fiction books this week I didn’t make much progress on my non-fiction choice. Hopefully, this week I can make a dent in the book!

What are you reading right now?

Until next time,

Cathy Marie Bown

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