Paul's Heart

Life As A Dad, And A Survivor

Archive for the day “May 8, 2016”

My Mom


My mother asked me a couple of years ago, with all the stories that I had written, how come none were written specifically about her.   I had really not given it much thought, even around other Mother’s Day holidays.  Pretty much, I decide to write last minute, when something really has my attention.  And in general, I have tried to keep my stories in a direction meant to help people.

But in the latest chapter of my life, my mother is playing a very important role.

When I actually stopped to think about all the things that I have to be thankful to my mother for, and I do not often stop to do anything, especially thinking, my mother has actually witnessed, and supported me a lot… A LOT!

Though I do not know all the details, and was clearly too young to know any better, evidently I was “trouble” from the moment I first saw daylight at birth.  Then when I was six, my mother would hear me diagnosed with tumors (they were benign, located in my gums) for the first time.  Divorced when I was three, we lived with my grandmother who would help take care of my sister and I.  My mother worked second shift, and with being in school during the daytime, that meant that we never really got to see each other except on the weekends.  And time would be split every other weekend, with visitation from my dad.

In my teen years, I was not easy to deal with.  I was resentful towards my stepfather for us constantly moving from one town to another.  And of course, there were other teenage issues I was dealing with.

But at 22 years of age, things changed dramatically, when I had informed her that I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  But through it all, she offered me support.

Eight years ago, when I nearly suffered a fatal heart attack caused by cumulative damage from radiation therapy from my treatments over a decade earlier, my mother was there offering support.

Over subsequent years, I have faced several more severe medical emergencies, and my mother was there offering me support.

And today, as I fight to protect my rights to see my daughters, my mother is there, offering support.

Mom, there are so many things you have taught me.  You introduced me to radio with Bohemian Rhapsody on WAEB 790am.  I heard my first song by my favorite group Chicago, “Wishing You Were Here” while waiting in line for the Thunderhawk roller coaster at Dorney Park.  You taught me how to get my thrills by riding any amusement ride without fear.  You taught me not to be afraid and face the darkest things life can face, by watching scary movies.  You taught me to be a pain in the ass, to fight to be treated with respect.  You taught me to speak up.  You taught me to fight.  You taught me to never give up.

So that is my story about you Mom.

I love you.  Your granddaughters love you.  See you again real soon.


Happy Mother’s Day


I want to take this time to wish every mom a Happy Mother’s Day, every mom.

Most take it for granted that this is just a simple Hallmark Holiday of flowers and a dinner out.  But the truth is, for many, there are so many different situations that affect how this celebration gets celebrated.

20140412_101357 20140412_101347

Both of my daughters are adopted from China.  But as my oldest has discovered, she not only has two “mothers”, her adoptive and her biological mothers, there is actually a third “mother” that is a part of her life.  And the same is said for my youngest daughter, though at the time I discovered this information, she was too young to understand what it all meant.

So of course, they each have a biological mother.  Though it is not likely, if either daughter ever wanted to find their birth mother, I would support that effort fully.  And who knows, with technology, perhaps that chance may come.

When my oldest found out about her adoption situation, she referred to her birth mother as “my Chinese mom.”  This went on for quite some time.  And then I came up with an idea.  The way that she referred to her biological seemed so impersonal, without feeling, without connection.  I came up with an idea.  I asked her, what she thought her birth mother’s name might be.  Now keep in mind, she was maybe six at the time, and had seen plenty of children’s movies.  Madison named her “Crystal.”  And that is how her birth mother was referred to from that point on.

But one thing that I could do, and did, was research my daughters origins.  Hiring a private investigator, it was discovered that both daughters were cared for by foster families.  There was a 3rd mother that needed to be recognized in their lives.  I sent correspondences to both families, but only heard back from the family who cared for my oldest daughter.  The areas where both families lived were quite different, and it is possible that the other family had no way to communicate back with me.

A surprise came though, when not only finding out about the foster family for my oldest daughter, my daughter had a crib mate for the brief time while being cared for.  And at least for now, both that family and I know who each other are.  We have exchanged photos.  The only logistic hurdle to deal with is that we both live across the Atlantic Ocean from each other, but that is just a speed bump to the eventual meeting.

Some day, as I promised both of my daughters, I will make a pilgrimage with my daughters back to China if they wish.  I know where they came from, and have seen it.  But if they want to know their past, I will help them discover it.

But Mother’s Day can also bring out sorrow.  There is an expression that a parent should never have to bury their child.  It may not be uncommon if parent and child are in their senior years.  But it is also not uncommon for younger parents as well.  I personally know at least 4 mothers this day, who carry heavy hearts having lost their children, way too soon, some through illness, others by accident.

Finally, I will give a shout out to my mother.


My mother has witnessed so many challenges in my life which could have resulted in tragedy from my cancer diagnosis in 1988, my heart surgery in 2008, and two near fatal bouts of septic pneumonia in 2012.  But my mother gave me the best Christmas present this past year, by flying my daughters to visit me.  It was her first flight, and it definitely will not be her last.  This was the first time my daughters had vacationed with my mother.

Post Navigation