I bought a book yesterday called “My Life Story. My Memories of the Past, Present, and Thoughts For the Future”. It was while flipping through the book today I came across two separate questions. I’d like to share the life questions I came across and prompted me to consider writing an autobiography. Here they are, along with my responses.
Q: DID YOUR PARENTS EXPERIENCE ANY MAJOR SCARES WHEN YOU WERE A BABY?
A: Hell yeah they did! According to my Mom, almost as soon as I was born, the doctors and nurses took me away because they noticed something was “wrong”. I was take for what my Mom describes as “The longest echocardiogram ever”. But ultimately I was sent home.
A little while (few months) later, again according to my Mom, I turned blue and went limp in my Dad’s arms. I was rushed to Johns Hopkins Bayview where I underwent major life-or-death open-heart surgery. I was operated on by a surgeon named Duke Cameron for a condition called Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (TAPVR).
To this day, I have scars on my chest as well as photos of me, a 4 month old baby, hooked up to needles, IV drips, and all kinds of machines in the Intensive Care Unit. But here we are, 30 years later. And I’m still here.
Q: WHAT WAS THE GREATEST DISCOVERY OR REALIZATION OF YOUR CHILDHOOD THAT STILL RESONATES FOR YOU?
A: Having survived life threatening open heart surgery and losing my grandfather on my Mom’s side (we called him Pop) at a young age, I think the biggest or greatest realization I had was actually the concepts of death and mortality. I feel it is both a blessing and a major pain in the ass that I “learned” the concept of death at such a young age.
My family was always very open and straightforward with this topic. One of my earliest memories I have is when I was 6 years old. I remember my parents coming home and my Mom was crying. My Dad sat me down and, very directly, said “Pop died”. I remember feeling sad.
NOW I feel I need to explain something here. As a kid, I loved Pop. Not just because he was family, but because as a 4, 5, 6 year old kid, I remember Pop always bringing me the best toys at Christmas and Easter. It sounds selfish, I know, but as a little kid, how could I not get stoked about opening a tin of Tinker Toys or a Brio train set?
Probably my most prized possession I own, even to this day, is a stuffed light up GloWorm doll. From what I was told, Pop gave me the GloWorm after my open heart surgery. Until recently, I slept with GloWorm on my bed. He is still on my bedside table. And I like to think Pop is watching over me through GloWorm.
My grandfather on my Dad’s side, who we called Da, died on March 16, 2018. That in and of itself is, in a dark, twisted sort of way, funny and ironic. Da’s side of the family is Irish and it’s the background I identify most with.
With Da, I could see it coming. A few days prior to dying, Da had been admitted into hospice care at Gilchrist. And, well, let’s face it…if you go into a place like that, odds are you’re not coming out alive. So for me, it was just a matter of playing the waiting game and wondering when it’ll happen.
My family are VERY close, so having basically the “head” and patriarch of the family die was a massive loss. But on the other side of things, having people in my family die was, and still is, a learning experience. It happens to all of us, some sooner than others. It’s a valuable life lesson to learn, and it will always stick with me
So what do you think? Should I keep writing? Or quit before I go too deep? Thanks for reading!