Well then let's see now.....
It's been a while, my friends. Seven years by my count.
When last we crossed paths, it was April of 2016. Things were going in a few interesting directions in my personal life and I didn't think I had the proper time to give to Midnight Cinephile...and so I decided to shelve it.
Little did I know that my life would be complete turned upside down just a few months later.
On Memorial Day, 2016, my father fell and broke his hip. He was already in poor health with CHF, COPD and a myriad of other health issues due to a lifetime of smoking. He was rushed to the hospital and immediately underwent surgery for his shattered hip. I was sitting at work at the time when I got the phone call from my sister. As soon as she told me, I broke out into tears. Something deep inside of me knew that my father would never come back home. I'm saddened to say that I was correct.
He went through surgery okay and was discharged to a rehab facility. He was okay for a couple of days and then I noticed that he was forgetting some things that he shouldn't....which of his three children was oldest, my parents address, etc. I was told that it was more than likely some lasting effects of the anesthesia. Being a medical professional myself, I knew that was a possible culprit. . .but still there was something that nagged at me. Something wasn't right. Another day or so later and my father started to hallucinate, speaking to people who weren't there and thinking that I and my family members were nurses or doctors, asking us "Where's my family?" He was brought back to the hospital and it was suspected that he might have a UTI or another sort of infection.
He did not.
As a matter of fact, the doctors were unable to tell us why he was suddenly struck with such an altered state of consciousness. He soon lost his ability to swallow. on July 7th, 2016 he passed away at the age of 66 with my mother, my sisters and myself at his side. He was buried on my mother's birthday, four days before mine.
The next year, my wife and I moved out of our apartment in the city and bought a house in the country. We had my mother move in with us. She was getting sicker with her kidney disease and was soon to start dialysis. Her health continued to slowly decline until in January of 2020, I rushed to to the hospital for kidney and heart failure. The doctors told me they did not expect her to make the night. They were wrong. She did. Not only that, she survived heart surgery and was discharged just a week later. However, once again, I could immediately tell that something was wrong. Mom wasn't acting right. It was discovered that she had a stroke while she was on the surgery table. Her memory was shot and I watched as my mother deteriorated mentally. Her health took another turn when she started to become (what we thought) was severe anemia. It was actually MDS (Myelodysplastic Syndrome), which is a blood disease that acts as a sort of precursor to leukemia. So off we went to have tests done. Because Mom also was in ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) she could not have chemotherapy or radiation to try and combat the growing disease inside of her. There was nothing to be done.
By this point, Mom's memory was pretty poor and every time I had to take her to the cancer center, we
had to have the conversation about her disease and she'd look at me with fear in her eyes and ask me if she was dying. Even though I knew she couldn't remember, I could not lie to her. I must had that conversation with her no less than twenty times. Each time it ripped my heart out.
Mom's final three years were probably the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with. Constant heartbreak, constant sorrow and in between work...which as some of you know, I work as a 911 dispatcher.
My thoughts got pretty dark for a while. If it wasn't for the strength of my wife, I don't know how I would have gotten through it. She carried me through bouts of intense anger and rage at my inability to do anything to help my mother and bouts of profound sorrow the hopelessness of the situation. I cried into that woman's shoulder more times that I can count...but every single time she would pull me back out. I'm not a religious man, but if there are such things as angels she is surely one on the highest of them.
My mother passed away on July 31st, 2022 at the age of 73. She was surrounded by my sisters and I and all our spouses in her own bed at home.
At the age of 43, I have no living parents or grandparents. I was left feeling hollow and numb for quite a while, just going through the motions. Caregivers guilt kicked in and I still suffer from bouts of it today every now and then.
If you are still reading this, you should probably get some sort of award. Or at least a box of tissues because I'm sobbing right this minute, typing this. The words are just watery streaks in my vision.
So why? Why tell you all of this? Well, because honestly it's all part of why Midnight Cinephile is back!
It was around the beginning of the year. I was digging through an old box of horror magazines and I came across the issue of Fangoria that I had my first article in (Fangoria #332...with Scarlett Johansson on the cover) I thought about what that article meant to me and how it never would have happened without Midnight Cinephile. How many of my friendships with so many people both in and out of the horror and film industry were forged because of Midnight Cinephile.
At first I did not want to just reopen Midnight Cinephile. I wanted to do something fresh. Something new. Then I thought back to my attempts at podcasts. Those never seemed to pan out for one reason or another. I thought of my attempts at video game journalism. I thought about my attempts at writing horror fiction (which were not actually that bad....but I learned quickly I will never be a commercial author....even in the smaller arena of horror and weird fiction authors....my stuff was...shall we say....a bit more out there.) Again, I thought back to Midnight Cinephile and the off-shoots that arose from it: The Red Room, Tales From Beyond the Campfire and even Retro Game Fortress.....all of it....sprung from the seed that was Midnight Cinephile.
It was one final thought that cemented everything into place: My parents are gone. My childhood home is gone. There is almost nothing left of my past. I cannot go home again.
Except I can. Midnight Cinephile IS my home. It is my Elm Street. My Crystal Lake. This is my Haddonfield and THIS is the night that I come home.
And in THAT spirit, I've updated the artwork and such, but this is still the exact same place as it was seven years ago.
I'm excited to see where the iteration will take me. I have certainly grown in many ways in the past seven years. I think that I have much more to offer now than I did then. I truly hope that you will be as happy to be here as I am. If you are reading this, then you are friend and family and I want you to know how much I appreciate you taking even a moment out of your day to visit.
And so my friends, with a heart filled with love I welcome you all back to The Midnight Cinephile.