So, lately I kind of have dropped off the face of the earth. I’ve been meaning to make an official blog post explaining myself lately, but I have only just gotten around to doing it.

First, let me address the main concern that is likely on your mind. No, Waking Up Dead is not dead. I still have every intention of seeing this story to its end. We are, however, on a current hiatus. I don’t want to say “Indefinite Hiatus” since that usually is interchangeable with the comic dying, but I honestly don’t know when I’m going to pick everything up again. I can assure you, Waking Up Dead will return before 2016, at the very latest.

Now, allow me to explain myself.

The past month or so, I have been going through a long and tiring process of quitting my job at Pier 1 Imports (I no longer work there, so I can say their name), and going through security clearance to work at a new job. The new job is full-time. The issue is, as of last week, I started the new job, but hadn’t finished with Pier 1. Thus, I was working 2 jobs, and therefore, on the go for 16-hour days (with the assumption that I actually left my new job on time, which was often not the case). As such, the comic had to take a backseat to my life in flux.

I’m still getting used to the hours at the new job, so it’s going to be some time before I actually get back to drawing and updating. Hopefully, I can do that as soon as possible, because, in the end, this comic is one of my favorite things in my life. It would kill me if I couldn’t continue to tell the story of these characters, because every one of them is dear to me.

Now, with that out of the way, let me talk about some other things that have been on my mind.

Firstly, Same-Sex marriage has been declared a national right via the Supreme Court. This is fantastic, and I couldn’t be happier. Given, it doesn’t apply to me, but it’s a step closer to equality in our nation. But the war isn’t over, and the battle continues. At this point, with the Charleston situation in mind, I don’t believe I will ever see a truly equal world in my lifetime—for people of color, for the LGBTQ community. However, with the Supreme Court’s decision, it is a leap forward in the struggle. I would hope that, perhaps my hypothetical grandchildren’s lives, they will see a society free from prejudice. For now, we should celebrate, but know that the battle is only beginning.

To change tones again, I’ve been in a bit of a down-mood. While I was at SUNY Purchase, in the New Media program, I had the pleasure of working with a number of very talented people amongst my peers. Two names that come to mind immediately are Frank Myles, and Alison F. Frank was a fellow cartoonist (also doing a comic for his Senior Project—remember, this is the same project that Waking Up Dead began as), and Ali was a Programmer, Graphic Designer, and Web Designer.

Ali’s work made all of us in the program, myself included, look like children. We were children scribbling with crayons, hoping to get our work on the fridge, while she was out creating worlds. Her work was phenomenal, and honestly, I was envious. I always thought, if I could figure out the one thing that held me back, maybe I could be as good as she was at her work. Hell, if I could figure that out, Waking Up Dead would be in comicbook shops already. But I didn’t resent her for that envy—I really admired her. I always wished I would work up the courage to ask her about life, or go to the dining hall with her, or to simply pick her brain (platonically, of course). Well, I never did, and every conversation I had with her was about various projects we were collaborating on, and nothing more.

I’ll always regret that.

I followed her for a while on Facebook. I would sit with Erin and laugh at the pictures she posted of her bunny and dog. I liked her status that she was quitting smoking. Then, she disappeared from my mind, crossing it from time to time when I was bored, but it was always a passing thought.

Her birthday was on Father’s day. She would have been 24. Facebook told me, and I went to see what she was up to, to wish her a Happy Birthday, and maybe catch up a bit. What I found were messages from her family. I scrolled down. I found her last post, January 3rd, a link to the song “This Year” by The Mountain Goats. She wrote, “john darnielle makes me slightly uncomfortable but i dig.” The next post was on January 5th, from her brother, detailing that she had killed herself the morning of January 4th.

Ali was the best of us. I may not have known her well, but she was an inspiration. I am still in shock. I still find myself having trouble talking about it. I have cried more than I want to admit. She was gone for over 6 months when I found out.

I’ll never stop regretting not truly getting to know her when I had the chance.

I am no stranger to depression or suicide. When we were starting out, a friend of a friend lost his life by his own hand, and in November 2013, I mentioned in the under-comic post that I was struggling with my own situation. When this comes up, I have nothing funny to talk about. Waking Up Dead centers itself around the concepts of death and suicide. The concept of Vetica, the afterlife for suicide I created for the plot of Waking Up Dead, is not something I myself like. I actually detest the concept. That’s kind of the point, honestly. It’s an unfair afterlife for someone’s greatest mistake. However, I always feel terrible in these scenarios.

Honestly, at this point, I have no idea what I’m trying to get at. I’m just typing out my thoughts. I’m sad. I wish I could have told Ali how much she affected my life even with as little interaction as we had. It makes me ashamed that I wished to die at one point, as I wonder who I barely touched in life, that I almost subjected to such a feeling.

If you’re feeling suicidal, please, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255. You matter, whether you believe it or not.

I think, for now, that’s all that I’d like to talk about. I’ll try to keep you all posted on when the next page is coming out, and how the hiatus is going. Waking Up Dead will return, and I’ll keep you in the know when it does. Take care of yourselves until then.