What is.

What would a parent give of himself to trade places with his child diagnosed with cancer? Anything? Everything? His own life? That I can’t is one of the great tragedies of being a parent.

We look for meaning in illness, some narrative that helps to make sense of the calamity, but there is none. It’s just what is, as serious and unfortunate as what is is. Life can suck big time.

Very, very little in life turns out the way it was promised. So I remember my mother told me if I was a good boy everything would be great in life. I tried it for one day and it didn’t work. People are told that when they graduate life will be wonderful, life will be easy, and it didn’t turn out that way. When you get married it’ll be great but it doesn’t turn out that way. People say when you get divorced it’ll be all right but it doesn’t turn out that way. Most things don’t live up to their promises.

Werner Erhard

When my youngest son Adam called last Wednesday to tell me he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, my insides turned over, my head hurt, my heart hurt; I ached for him, his brothers, his mother, his fiancé, me, all of us. Why Adam. Why my child. Why not me. What would I give for it to be me, not him. Anything and everything. These aren’t questions: they’re cries in the dark.

Strength, courage, positive planning, and doing all the right things–these are the states and steps we need to take. That is what Adam is doing. He and his lovely, supportive fiancé Rachel decided to move up the date of their marriage, to commit right now, and were married in Oakland City Hall on Thursday afternoon. Prudence and love combined to create a memorable ceremony.

The women in my own life have not been there for me. I wonder if my wife feels any remorse at abandoning her husband at a time when a wife’s support would have been gratefully appreciated, and accepted. As for Adam’s mother, her life-long campaign of divisive enmity continues even in the face of family crisis.

We need to be a family united in common cause.

This has not been a good year. The country is in crisis, the world is in crisis, and the environment is beyond crisis. My son’s life is in crisis. My own life has suffered unexpected and unwanted jolts and twists. It feels like free-fall without a landing site.


I followed up with the Vedic astrologer who recently read my horoscope to find out if there were signs of any of this in my chart. He wrote,

The specifics and the severity of the disease would probably be best seen from your son’s horoscope.  That being said, you’re currently running Me Sa (Mercury/Saturn).  In your D12 (which governs children), Me and Sa are both poorly placed.  In your main horoscope, Me rules the house of the 3rd child, and Sa (a natural malefic) is in that house.  Me is also in a nakshatra that can cause problems and is in the 12 house of hospitals.  So yes, unfortunately there is some indications that the third son would be having some problems now. 

That’s no comfort, only interest.


We go from here into the unknown. Not totally unknown, since this disease is treatable and courses of therapy prescribed. More will be revealed next week and the weeks following. All the forces of love and good are on his side.

His brothers will be at his side. His father is at his side.


He who bends to himself a joy
Does the winged life destroy;
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

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  1. Ranie

     /  September 8, 2019

    So sorry to hear about Adam…be strong…it’s really all you can do…love, support, love…this is life! Ranie

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Thank you, Ranie. Yes, we are strong, and approaching this health crisis with aggressive strength!


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