I slay demons and share a house with ghosts. I’ve known since childhood the difference between good and evil, and that I carry a dark passenger with me inside my head, his name is Frank. Frank joins forces with me to dispatch the demons that attempt to ruin my life and incite negativity to derail my goals and passions. Carbs, Obesity, Diabetes, Depression, Heart Disease, are some of the demons that Frank and I combat on a life-sucking battlefield. Frank fights along my side because if I die, he dies, and he wants to live as do I. We both tend to maul dark thoughts, but that’s the nature of our relationship.

Four years ago, my life dangled by a precarious thread from extinction, which would have left my elderly mother without a full-time caregiver, her only son, an only child—me. I had focused so much on caring for my parents that I neglected my health. Before her passing, I took care of my father, who remained in an at-home hospital bed due to locked-in syndrome from a brainstem stroke. When my father passed in September 2011, my mother’s grief over his death lasted until Alzheimer’s disease claimed her in September 2017. I put my life on hold for thirteen years to shepherd my parents through their end of days, ensuring they felt protected and loved without worry. No respite, no friends, no life, I had slid into crevices darkly populated with demons, and Frank helped me through it all. My birthday is in September, which is just a shitty month for me.

Inside my house, the remains of my Japanese grandparents and my mother and father reside in a cabinet that I’ve outfitted as a home shrine. I talk to them as if they were hanging out with me, going about their lives as I write and study history, science, and the world of nomads. They are the ghosts that live with me and adding Frank, they total five to the number of imaginary friends and family that share my life. Nestled in the year before my mother’s death, I married a lovely lady, but after a few short years, we decided to take different roads in life. I acknowledge my lone wolf, my strong-willed character is suited to a solitary voyage through life, and I’m at peace with that attitude.

The only things anchoring me in place is this house and the contents within its walls. I think it’s time for me to explore and experience what lies beyond the hills and mountains of Oregon, to venture out there with my eyes wide open and a mind full of curiosity. But, but wait, have I really thought this all out?

Maybe not!