Wednesday, August 21, 2013


To my son Tommy,

You can usually tell when I am avoiding something. When I start waxing philosophical or go through some deep self evaluations, I may be just escaping from the world by retreating into my mind.  It isn't always the case and sometimes I just like delving off into the deeper darker recesses of my imagination or sit around contemplating my navel, but for this week it seems to be the case.

The number one thing bothering me recently is the increased gun violence in Baltimore (both city and county) that seems to be sweeping the area.  The city has had 20 shootings in the span of 80 hours and that doesn't include the stuff the county police took like the shooting a couple blocks up the street.  Your mother is worried sick and now concerns herself with things like unpacking the car from grocery shopping alone even if it is in the middle of the day.  Your mother's and your safety are of my utmost concern.  One of the fatherly jobs that is second nature is protect your loved ones.  I am fixing locks and checking alarms and thinking of what else I can do not only to keep you guys safe but to make you feel safe.  But a little paranoia can go a long way into your psyche and it takes time to feel safe again.  I do think the heightened vigilance in safety is a good thing to keep going, if only we could do it without the additional worry or fear.  Your mom is down at jury duty down in the city today so who knows how that will effect her attitude to the recent crimes.  

Also on my mind is medical.  It seems our family (extended included) is constantly hit with a steady stream of medical problems.  Your Great Uncle Jack recently came down with some unknown thing much like your Great Aunt Lizzie did.  They caught the signs and symptoms much faster and responded much quicker than with Aunt Lizzie and reports are promising, but he is still hospitalized.  They are going to have the house checked out for mold or another environmental factor because it is too coincidental.  Our prayers once again go out to the Broderick family.

Then we have the usual constant and consistent medical in the family.  Nansy's cancer treatments, Roro's MS and diabetes, Pop-pop's A-fib, your Uncle Raymond's recent crohn's surgery, are just a few that come to mind and top the list.  It doesn't lessen the worry about the others, like your Grandad Leo, or Bwama, or your Great Grandparents Downey, or all the others in the family.  It really is a sad state that we have list toppers in regards to medical concerns.  Of course for me, the number one list topper (since you are for the most part healthy as long as we avoid beef) is your mom.  I am always concerned with her Crohn's disease and her Humira treatments.  It tears me up inside when I see the pain the treatment causes and that we put her out of commission for nearly two days every time we do the injectable.  That concern is tempered by the memory of the crohn's pains that lasted for much longer than two days, but doesn't make it any easier.

And finally I am avoiding my feelings of August 23rd and the hurt from losing your baby brother Sal.  I may write you a letter on that Friday but right now just want to keep escaping for a bit.  Throw on top just the general pressures and worries of life like money, daily chores, providing for a family, being a good father, and being a good husband.  It is no wonder I am escaping into my mind a bit.  

I tell you all this to show you that sometimes life gets hard for everyone and you have to cope. If you get overwhelmed like this in your life in the future, you won't think, "Woe is me, my father never worried about all this type of stuff".  I don't want you to create a false ideal to strive for.  You have to know the struggles and concerns that I shielded you from when you were four, you just don't have to know them now.

If troublesome worries force you to retreat, if you must escape, don't look to vices like alcohol or drugs or anger or denial for answers they don't provide or the brief bit of numbness they do provide.  Escaping into your mind and self reflection or even escaping into a good book is a much more preferred way of coping and will supply the necessary relief to ready your self to deal.  And you must realize that you can't keep running and eventually you will have to deal.  But for now, I will focus on other easier things to keep my mind preoccupied, like you attending your introductory lessons to kung fu or figuring out how a great big hug from a son can prove that I exist.

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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