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?