A couple months ago I was sitting on the the third floor terrace at Nemours children’s hospital. The doctors had just come and taken my son to surgery. A surgery which they said would take anywhere from five to twelve hours.

It all started when my son was hit in the head with a baseball during one of his games. When I took him to the ER to make sure he was okay, doctors found “a dark spot” on his brain.

After an ambulance ride, four days of testing and a myriad of doctors, they figured out that the spot was a tumor.

I’d had about four of sleep since the whole thing started. I was tired, scared and confused. And I knew my son was going through all the same things, only worse. But right now there was nothing I could do. I had to wait.

As I sat out on the terrace overlooking downtown I thought about my son, about life, about God.

I tried to stay calm, but as the time passed I became more and more anxious. Finally, I reached into my backpack and pulled out my laptop and started writing. I found myself getting lost in the words for a few minutes at a time. Eventually, I found that I would pass twenty minutes, then thirty, then forty-five.

It would be twelve hours before I saw my son again.

Writing Kept Me Calm

After surgery he went to ICU where he remained pretty much unconscious for a couple more days. I sat beside his bed in that ICU holding his hand for hours, completely broken.

I had to wake him every so often to shift his weight, clean him and get him to sip water from a straw to keep him hydrated. Between those times, I’d take out my laptop and write.

It was the scariest thing I’ve ever been through—and I’ve been through a lot of crazy shit in my life.

If I hadn’t been able to write, I don’t know if I would’ve made it through.

I Write Because I Have to

When I was younger, I wrote tons of songs and poems. I had notepads full of them. I was a pretty wild kid, but during the years I was writing, things weren’t that bad.

It was the writing that kept me from going off the edge. I know this because one day I stopped writing and barely a year later my life went off the rails and stayed that way until I started writing again seven years ago.

I stopped writing because one day my dad came in my room and tossed all my notepads in the trash. “Poems are for girls!” he told me.

I was furious, but I didn’t write a single word for many years after that.

During the years I wasn’t writing, my closest friend died, my wife walked out on me and my son, and I became an addict.

When I look back on my life so far, it’s obvious that writing has always had a positive impact. The years I wrote were more prosperous, my relationships were better, I didn’t hate myself and I loved and cared more.

I can honestly say that the worse parts of my life happened when I wasn’t writing.

Sure, some things can’t be avoided, and some of it worked out for the best. But if I had kept writing I know there’s a lot of things that could have been prevented.

I didn’t know then, but I know now. I can never stop writing.

Why do you write?

 

Lil Chris two months after surgery (summer 2016)

Lil Chris two months after surgery (summer 2016)… As you can see, he’s back to normal and taking full advantage of his summer break.