Friday, February 03, 2017


If you face my house from the curb, on your right you will see a trellis, a Japanese maple, and some other bushes sitting together in a cluster, they are all there for a reason.

Thirty-six years ago, my son Joseph was stricken with a genetic disease that took his life. It was something that took hold the day after Thanksgiving in 1980 when he was hospitalized at North Shore University Hospital. From that day in until late January when he passed, it has haunted me. Every day that passed would be a painful experience and dreadful reminder that such a thing happened to a child, not yet 2-years old! I, of course, blamed God. I needed to find someone or something to blame, I blamed the hospital staff in my heart, the doctors and needed to blame more to justify my anger and hurt, and to take my mind off the pain that permeated my very being.

If you look at the picture, you see my two sons, the baby who sits in the background is Joseph, our claim to an angel of our own.

It took me some time to realize that it was no one's fault, it is what life is all about, that Joseph and my daughter Ellen were victims of what life throws at us. We can blame all we want, but in the end, that anger is misdirected.

I decided that for the short sweet time we spent together as father and son, I would memorialize it in some way. But it had to be something that would need my participation, something I did for him. I decided to build a garden in his memory, a place of solace where I could go when the weather was nice and do some thinking.

I ordered decorative bricks, the Japanese maple, a favorite tree of mine, a trellis and some slabs of decorative tile and assembled this little hideaway in his memory.

Every year on his birthday on April 6, I go out there and have a little talk with him, although the conversation is one-sided, I can feel his presence, a sense of tranquility overcomes me and I feel good. I guess what I am saying is that what God gives us is free will to deal with the slings and arrows of life and death. He judges us on what we do with our lives. If we could blame God for everything, then what is the point of our being? If he interceded in aspects of our lives, do we even need to live?

One hundred years from now, no one will know or care about our lives to even remember us.


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