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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Tucker's First Prom

  My son Tucker is on his way to his first prom. I never went to one. I had a date for the senior prom and rented a tux but I sabotaged it and didn't end up going.

  His Mom has made a corsage and shopped with him for clothes and shoes. She does all that kind of stuff. I’m working most of the time. I gave him some money and watched him from afar the days leading up to it like Father’s will do. 

  He’s a handsome fellow and a little full of himself. He’s also altruistic and loving though. I've had a couple of waves of worry about drinking and drugs and such. No matter what I do he will always be my little “ Ta” from two years old. (That’s what he called himself)

  After closing up shop I returned a call I missed from his mother.

  “You missed us. I wanted you to see Tucker before he went,” she chirped.

  “ You took pictures didn't you?” I asked.

  “Of course.”

  “ Well I can at least see them tonight.”

   We hung up and I went back in to clean up my desk. Suddenly I had this overwhelming desire to talk to him … to hold him. I texted instead so as not to interfere or embarrass him.

  “Make us proud son. I luv u.”

  I filed a few things before leaving. Then I heard the little bloop my phone makes when a text comes in.

“Yes sir. Love you too.”

 I’m not so worried now. I think I’ll leave that on my phone for a while though. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013


 When my son was diagnosed with bone cancer about a year and a half ago we entered a world fraught with traps and pitfalls. I walked through a year of chemo and my son withering away with a dream like determination to keep him alive.

  The truth is once western medicine takes over a father is helpless except to clean up the puke and put cold bath cloths on his head. You can joke and be steady but you cannot suffer for them. I have never felt so powerless in my life.

  In order to maintain my sanity, I began to practice meditation, qi qong and tai chi chuan. Chemo ended. He returned to school. I began to fight. Part of me knew that I was doing what I had not been able to do for him.

  I took a Krav Maga class. Often while punching and kicking I would begin to gas so I’d bring childhood cancer to mind. Fury would explode as I lashed out at the helplessness I had felt that year of his torture. I’d see a demon attacking those dear bald children and I would murder it with my fists and knees and elbows.

  Eventually I blew out a shoulder that had been reconstructed years back. I’m back to tai chi and qi qong until I can heal. I know that I’ll go back to fighting though. You see a father who has to watch as his child suffers is like an animal that has been dropped off in a strange land. He does not know how to feed so he does the only thing he can.

  I have always been prone to fight. It has never been like this though. Before it was sport. Now … I seek to destroy something that I cannot touch and can only see with my mind and soul. In the end I am just an animal trying to survive. In the end I am powerless and he still suffers.

  For now there is no more chemo but he is tired and the leg they made for him requires him to use a cane and robs him of dreams. So I’ll continue to fight. I’ll fight till the day I die and maybe then I can be free of this interminable void that grips my heart. Maybe then I’ll be able to feel the true power of God.