My Father, My Son and One Hell of a Life

#Fatherhood #OurFaith #LoveWins #HellofaLife

February 14th, 2015 my dad died. He was only 70, but he lived one hell of a life. Twice paralyzed from the neck down my father was the epitome of a man who never gave up. At age 11, he contracted the polio virus three weeks before he was set to be vaccinated – talk about bad timing. Thankfully though he regained about half the usage of his right arm back.

With that half good arm he learned, albeit it would take him 40 minutes, to put his own pants on. He learned to feed himself, make it through high school and eventually graduate from the University of Illinois with a Masters in Journalism. He took a job in Cleveland working for the Plain Dealer and then wham – car accident. Hip, face, knees and ankles all shattered, he had multiple surgeries. Yet, it was at St. John’s Westshore that a young beautiful nurse was assigned to my Dad’s room. He courted her, she swooned, and they were married a year later.

My parents went on then to have six kids, including myself. Dad used to like to joke that ‘not all of him was paralyzed.’ His ‘crippled humor,’ as he also liked to say, kept him alive through many dark nights. And there would be more dark nights.

In 1989, Dad was suffering from severe depression. He went to see the psychiatrist who prescribed him a medication. The drug was being made illegally, but no doctor knew it. It injured thousands in the U.S., killed about 50, and re-paralyzed my father from the neck down taking any strength left he had in his good arm.

For the last 26 years of his life then my mom took care of him day in and day out (she is a Saint). She’d help him on and off the bedpan sometimes multiple times a day. Blow his nose and help feed him scrambled eggs. My mom through her love and sacrifice truly kept my dad alive all those years. She, and Jesus through her, was my dad’s life force. My mom oozes Jesus, and that grace is a gift that continues to give life to all who know her.

Nevertheless, I write about my dad, because I just lost my son. About two weeks ago my beautiful wife told me she was pregnant. Learning you are a father is the greatest joy in the world. No sooner did I learn my wife was pregnant did the next day bring a miscarriage. It hurts. It sucks. It stings.

So in the past 6 months I’ve lost my dad and I’ve lost my son and it leaves me wondering, what is next?

But through it all I’m reminded about an immutable truth: there is life after death. I will see my father again. I will one day get to meet my son. Death does not have the final say. And that’s it. That’s our faith. That death has been conquered. Christ has risen! Love truly wins!

My dad did live a hell of a life, and he taught me that sometimes life can be hell, but he and my mom also taught me that when we focus on the Cross AND Resurrection, there can still be joy, there can still be happiness, and there can still be heaven. In your prayer this week then I invite you to look at all the crosses in your life, and then simply to ask the Lord: how through these crosses, Lord, are you working resurrection?

So here is to you Dad, take care of my boy, Ignatius, and I’ll see you both when the Lord bids me home.