It is horrific what ugliness and hate can spring forward from one’s mind. If we could be jailed for our thoughts, I should have a life sentence.
It was a short, sad, news item that came over the radio some 13 years ago. I remember it perfectly to this day. It delighted me then. It shames me now.
Along I-70 in the mountains a boulder came loose, fell from a cliff, and struck the passenger side of a pickup truck. The father driving the truck was uninjured. His young son was killed.
When I heard the news report my mind, on even a chemical level, released a one-word, satisfied response – “Good.” It gave me immense pleasure.
Out of nowhere, expecting nothing, simply living their lives, a figurative bolt of lightning reached down to make this innocent boy suffer and die, and torture his father for the rest of his wrecked life. It comforted me when nothing else did.
It wasn’t just that I didn’t want to be alone. It wasn’t just that I wanted others to experience losing their child. I wanted everyone to lose their child. Everyone. I hated that anyone else still had their children. I hated that others could watch their kids sleeping safe and warm. This falling boulder could be the start of making the world right again. And I grabbed on to that awful thought and celebrated it.
To the loved ones of that little boy who died on I-70, whoever you are, I beg forgiveness for my hateful feelings at the time.
A week earlier my daughter, Parker, died of a rare and cruel from of cancer. It was our own figurative lightning bolt. Our only child at the time died just days before her first birthday.
Her death sentence was delivered at the old, cramped and dingy Children’s Hospital, one of the most horrific sites on earth.
Up to that point in my life, those awful things that you hear about, those tragedies and illnesses, well, they happen to other people. After that point I realized WE are those other people. I came to realize we are all those people, and just don’t know it.
However, there are brave people who can stare right into that kind of ugliness, and unlike me not run away. They can experience a child suffering and give instead of take. I’m speaking of the courageous people who work at Children’s Hospital.
They choose to fight the ugliness, not let it grow, or as I did in my madness and grief, wish it on others.
And those people have saved me from losing another child. My son, Chance, has Down Syndrome and endured 13 operations at Children’s, including delicate open-heart surgery at only three weeks old to save his life. These procedures now take place in the sunny, airy and comforting new Children’s Hospital at the Anschutz Medical Campus.
And because of the strong people there, my son is thriving, loud, troublesome, naughty, and loving life. I am so grateful. Very tired, but grateful.
If the people of Children’s Hospital shut down, the way that I shut down after losing my little girl, my son would not be with me. If they for a moment had the weakness and felt the ill will I had, they’d give up on the children that need them most.
Their skill, dedication, care, and love compensate and overcome the anger, pain, and desolation I had. They humble me.
I still feel a need to connect my children with that poor little boy who lost his life on I-70 so many years ago. But I no longer do it in pain and anger and hate, buy with joy. Those very same mountain passes where he lost his life become alive this weekend with the purpose of saving more lives.
A few years back, Tracy Smith, our gifted graphic artist, rode the “Courage Classic,” a bike ride over the Colorado Rockies that raises money for Children’s Hospital. She named her team, “Team Parker,” after my little girl.
Please, please, for my lost daughter Parker, for my son with Downs, Chance, and in memory of that little boy, will you right now give to Children’s Hospital?
Last year “Team Parker” raised over $14,000 for Children’s Hospital. I am asking you to help Tracy and her team of Independence Institute employees and friends raise one dollar more this year.
Choose any Team Parker member and contribute right now. Please help me honor my children in this powerful way. Thank you.