We've established that my Mother battled cancer for 15 years, my Father wanted to leave early in the marriage, and that he later did move out when I was 17. That life had it's good and bad qualities. We still traveled, laughed, cried, and did everything that a normal family would do. The fact that I was able to have a normal childhood at all was a miracle.
You know what the hardest part for me was in all this? Understanding about life and death at an early age. My Mother had her breast removed when I was three. She could have died then. My Mother had her ovaries removed and her lymph nodes. She suffered through skin graphs as well. They cut into her any way possible to stop the spread of the disease. She could have died any time during these periods.
I didn't know what I was going to do if my Mother was to die. I tried not to think of it but it was always around me. Death was to become a friend, and then someone to respect and fear. Then it was to be a fact of life.I was only three when this started. I had no one to talk to about this when I was growing up. What do you say to your friends? Hey my Mom has cancer and is going to die. Want to play catch.
I tried to keep my Mom's cancer quiet, not talking about it to anyone. Then when it came time, and Mom was dying, the doctors could do no more. No more treatments. She was going to die. That is when I needed my friends the most but they were all gone. The people I grew up with continued to go to Jesuit, Academy, and Tampa Catholic high schools. They lived their lives, and I was dying inside. I was a wreck. The people at Chamberlain could only help so much, but we were all still so young.
I was an angry young man. I was partying any way I could. I was running away. I ran away from reality. I ran all the way. I left this worthless life. I was alone. I was angry and hated God. I fought the son of a bitch and lost. He eventually took my soul. He eventually saved me, but I had to pay a high price. I didn't handle my Mother's cancer very well. I hurt many people along the way. If you learn anything from all this then let it be that eventually you will have to come to terms with death and if you can make peace with him then living becomes so much more beautiful. You learn to enjoy the simple things. Money and prestige are but fleeting glimpses. You truly become a 'Simple Man'.