His Life

Scars are just wounds that have healed over time...

The universe has a strange sense of humor. With all of its twists and turns, starts and stops. We never quite know its intentions, but what we do know is that if we don’t follow our destiny, if we don’t make decisions ­­– the universe will do it for us. I'm reminded by this today.

When creating my Dad's obituary, I searched tirelessly for documents, articles, photos, and videos yet I never found the holy grail of artifacts. Most of it long gone, sopped up by mother nature in a flood some 40 years earlier. Then finally, I discover an archived article online from the Port Angeles Evening News dated Tuesday, September 24, 1968 making light of my Dads accident. Clearly the newspaper did not have all of the facts, and there is no reason today to ask for a retraction.

My Dad was airlifted from St. Johns hospital in Port Townsend to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle where he would fight for his life for six months before returning home.

The stress of it all caused my Mom to go into early labor delivering my brother 3 months premature. My brother was to be born in late December, but this wasn't in the cards for him. He was born September 27, 1968. While my dad laid in his hospital bed fighting for his life, his son Vincent was just down the street at Children's Hospital fighting for his own. My brother was coined the "premie miracle baby" by the Seattle Times. He had many complications yet survived. My brother arrived home just a few short months before my Dad. 

Once home, my Dad was cared for around the clock by my Mom for well over a year. Multiple daily bandage changes, bathing, therapy, etc. Where did she find the strength? Where did she get the energy? A husband and baby both needing such special care. It would be months later that my Dad would finally be able to hold my brother for the first time. The pain my Dad endured was unimaginable. The act of a simple hug was accompanied with struggle. But, when you got that hug, it was one of the most gentle loving hugs one could ever receive. In fact, my sister Valerie was the one that got the most hugs. My Dad's little mini me, in many ways. That was Daddy's girl. He would hug on her like crazy - it was almost not fair. Jealous? Oh, yes I was. But that's a story for another day.

I took it upon myself to share the Port Angeles Evening News article with my Mom. In that conversation she momentarily returned to the frightened young mother of two with a third on the way, who was just notified that that her husband was critically injured. My Mom’s response to me demonstrated the love she had for my Dad…

“This article is such BS. He was not fine – we all were not fine. Tears in my eyes. We were young and our lives were ruined. That’s why I loved him. The tragic pain of it all. This tragedy set a different turn of events in motion. I was 15 when I met your dad. There was a song that I listened to over, and over again called “My Little Soldier Boy”. That’s how I felt about your Dad. Sappy, I know. It was the 60’s. I am so sorry that you, your sister and your brother had to suffer through all of the tragedy and heartache.”

I responded to my Mom simply saying, “We didn’t suffer. Scars are just wounds that have healed over time."

I share this because my Mom and Dad though divorced, never spoke ill of the other. They held each other in high regard. For this, I am blessed.

My Mom is my Dad’s longest living friend, and as luck would have it, I may be the second. If you haven’t already done the math I was dubbed the love child. The reason for their wedded bliss. You know, I’ll take it! Because the love my Mom had for my Dad was just that, true love.

Did the universe cause a chain of events that would shape all of our lives? Perhaps. I know that I wouldn't be the person I am today had it not been for my life experiences.

Or, was my Dads accident just a tragedy? If that's the case, then from tragedy bloomed resilience, something that shaped my Dads life and made him who he was.