Thursday, December 22, 2011


O Come All Ye FaithfulJoyful and triumphant,O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.Come and behold Him,Born the King of Angels;O come, let us adore Him,O come, let us adore Him,O come, let us adore Him,Christ the Lord.

No matter how many times in my life I have heard those lyrics, my eyes fill full of tears. This is my favorite Christmas song that pays homage to the reason the holiday is celebrated. I love Santa and Rudolph but this song tugs on my heart strings.

It has been awhile since I last wrote on this blog. I have been a busy father raising my two wonderful babes Liam and Isabella. Belle is super excited that Santa Claus is coming to town by the way. Yet I felt the need tonight to ease my pains the best way I know how which is to tap tap tap on my keyboard until my head has cleared the way for my thoughts to just drift off into a mindless TV program and then to sleep. Tonight's serving will be the latest episode of The League. And the earlier serving consisted of the tear jerking X Factor. Yes I actually cried during some of the moments. I am a dreamer and I believe that I can do anything I put my mind too so to see people go on these shows and catch their dreams it is touching to me. People like Chris Rene sober for 8 months and a day now so he could chase his dreams and be a better dad. Both things that are close to my heart. I have never been afraid to cry as Jim Valvano once said "If you laugh, you think and you cry, that's a full day. That's a heck of a day." I have always believed if that is what you have to do then let your emotions go when you are touched by something.

The reason I sat down to type tonight was not because I wanted to tell you about how I cried at the X Factor finale. It was maybe to get off my chest why I was feeling so emotional tonight. I have experienced alot of tragedy in my life, I have seen rock bottom , and I have contemplated ending it all on numerous occasions. Yet, no matter how far down the line I would fall, or how hard life would smack me off my feet I have continued to move forward. No matter what life had for me, no matter how alone I felt, I have always found a way to stand up and continue on. My writing has been my best friend since I would hide underneath an old tree in my grandmother's apple orchards for hours and just create stories or songs to ease my mind. I could still to this day be in a crowded room and feel alone. Which leads me to my point of why I sat down to write this evening.....I cant stand in a crowded room and feel alone any longer.

I am a 34 year old husband, father, son, brother and to a small few I believe I am a friend. I have lived my entire life asking what might have been due to the death of my father when I was just one year old. And today what might have been stops and becomes what will be. The reasoning for this sudden change 33 years after the fact is that now I have one of those moments in the life that you arrive at that leaves you with no option to continue the way you have been.

Two days ago I was told by my doctor that I had an object located right below my ribcage on my right side of my abdomen. As we continued to talk I heard the words come out in almost in slow motion as he said the words Soft Tissue Sarcoma. Now this was not only in slow motion but also sounded like a language that was like nothing I had ever heard. I have not spent much time dealing with Dr's of my own, matter of fact my only surgery I have ever had is when I have my wisdom teeth removed. I have never even had an IV or been put under. Yet on January 19th, 2012 I will travel to my first appointment with a surgeon to see what exactly has invaded my abdomen and what the course of action is for this. I pray with my heart and soul that this is just a blip on the timeline of my life but I also pray with all of my soul that I am here for my children always. Part of me writes this out of fear and the need to fill my hunger to write and the other to remind each and everyone that reads this to love with all of your hearts this Christmas. Do not let someones look if they don't like your present upset you, do not let crazy customers that want your job over $25 get you down. Do not let the guy or gal that stole that parking spot make you angry. If someone flips you the bird this season....maybe you deserved it or maybe they think you are #1.

2012.....will be the year that my life is going to have some firsts. My first novel will be finished by the end of 2012. My first promotion will happen one way or the other in 2012. I will step foot on the field at Notre Dame Stadium. And of course I will meet with the surgeon for the first time in my life on January 19th.

If you read this remember to love this holiday season, be a little more understanding, don't expect the world but enjoy all around you. Merry Christmas to all of you and sorry for rambling I just had to say something.

Oh and an update on my Liam and Isabella her is a pic.......

Friday, July 15, 2011

Beneath the Firefly Tree Chapter 1

               In every child’s life there are moments that are unforgettable.  Your first bike ride, your first hideout, your first kiss and for me the first summer that changed my life.  I remember many things about my childhood but I also have managed to tuck a good portion of that time deep inside of my mind so that I never have to face it again.  This story begins in a dark place and ends in a dark place. But in the end I find myself finally with a view of a light at the end of a tunnel.  And for me that will mean all the difference in the world.
               This story takes place in a small Ohio town, the kind of place that if you blink while traveling through it, you may just miss the whole thing entirely.  But to me this tiny little town of one thousand or so people represented the entire world for it was the only place that I had known. The summer was upon us and I knew this because my mother’s house was full of people who had come to fill their bellies with the delicacies of summer as we celebrated my birthday. I was turning ten and starting a journey that would change my life forever. Now people say these kinds of things all the time but in the summer of 1987 my life would be a whirlwind of events that would shape who I was to become.    
               Now with every birthday party come presents and this year was no different. There were a mound of presents before me and I ripped into each of them as if I was trying to imitate the Tasmanian devil. I tore through them so fast I can only remember that I got Donkey Kong for my Nintendo, a Fraggle Rock t-shirt and a new Robo Cop action figure.  Now those were fine gifts but the one I wish that I would have been more excited about was a book that my Grandfather gave me about fireflies. I didn’t know it at the moment that I tore through the paper he had wrapped it in, but that book would be the beginning of my journey through the summer of 1987.
               Hours passed and the day had gone, it was now night time and to be honest I am not even sure how I ended up in my room. Judging by the clothes that I am still wearing and the fact that my sneakers are still attached to my feet leads me to believe that I must have brought myself here and just zonked out. This is surprising to me since I had three pieces of cake, a bunch of candy, and enough soda to send me into a diabetic shock. Ahhh the life of a kid, it always seems so easy and peaceful. Not to me though these kinds of days unfortunately usually ended with a lot of screaming and banging and this night would be no different from the others.
               I believe that what startled me was either the loud screaming from my mother or maybe it was the car barreling into the drive and sending our trash cans flying.  It was my mother’s boyfriend Earl. Earl had missed my party entirely and I am sure it is because he had more important things to do with his pals Jack and Daniel, whom I came to find out later were not really people after all.  This was usually a nightly occurrence during the summertime except on Sundays when he would drag us into church all the while getting weird looks from the congregation, probably from the awful smell oozing out of his pores.  I enjoyed church as I got to hear all the stories of men that had overcome great obstacles to achieve what God had planned for them.  I really related to those stories, probably more to David and Goliath than any other because by all means Earl looked the part of Goliath and when I felt his belt and fists thrash my will from my body I felt like David.
My first response when I was awoken in this manner is to jump to my feet grab my shoes and get to my perch at the top of the stairs so that I can evaluate the situation.  On this night this would be a little easier since I was still fully clothed with shoes already tied. As I got to the top of the staircase I heard the argument spill onto the porch and within a matter of seconds Earl burst through the front door with my mother attacking him similar to the scenes I had witnessed in Science class of lions mauling their prey. Earl was staggering so much that I am not even sure if he felt her claws ripping into his bicep and leaving trails of blood dripping from his elbow.  My mother just kept screaming at him about my birthday party and how hurt I was today when he wasn’t there.  I honestly didn’t even notice that he had missed my party.  But there she was playing mother on this night protecting her son from a crazed man that had used his bear paw like hands to bruise my ribs so bad that I peed blood for three days, after which she told me I should watch my manners.  Yep on this night she was mother of the year. 
               As they made their way through the kitchen and into the living room Earl who had been playing the part of oblivious antelope that is just trying to escape quickly turned into the beast that I had the pleasure of meeting on several occasions. “Don’t you touch me again! You bitch or I will kill you.” A sentence he uttered with the voice of something similar to a little girl named Regan that I had seen once on TV when I snuck down to grab a bottle of coke when I was supposed to be sleeping.  Now for me I was scared but apparently my mother did not fear these words as I could hear her slashing her nails into her arms and ripping at his flesh and then within a matter of seconds there was complete silence.  I tried to slow my heartbeat so that I could hear over its loud thumping and at one moment I felt as if I could hear my mother gasping for air. It was with that sound that I inched my way quietly down the staircase trying to be ever so cautious as to not alert the beast to my presence. As I got to the bottom step I could see my mother’s feet dangling in the air and as I scaled her body I realized that she was indeed choking.
               With flailing legs and arms my mother was fighting for her life and as badly as I wanted to swoop in like Superman and save the day, I stood frozen.  I couldn’t even find the strength to scream and then in an instant my mother’s body seemed to drift off like those wrestlers I watched with Earl on Saturday nights all that was missing was the ref raising her arms to see if she was awake.  I watched in horror as she just dangled and then in an instant Earl just dropped her lifeless body to the ground and she hit with a loud thud. I watched her to see if she was alive and almost as soon as she hit her lungs began to fill with the air he had been depriving her of.  My eyes left her at this moment because out of my periphery I noticed a large image coming at me and as I turned his massive hand had cracked my skull wide open.  I realized later that this was one of those moments that I mentioned earlier, you remember the ones that are unforgettable.  I will never forget the feeling of my blood running down into my eyes and quickly forming a circle onto the floor.  At first it felt like he had poured warm chocolate syrup on my head but then I tasted the metal and I knew I was in a bad way. Luckily Earl had accomplished what he had set out to do with that swing and immediately made his way up the stairs and into the washroom.  I could hear him mumbling to himself and then the shower started and I knew I had to find the strength to get up and leave.  I knew after his shower he would probably return for round two because of the mess I had made.
               I wiped my face so that I could at least see where I needed to go.  After gaining my bearings I rose to my feet grabbed a towel I saw hanging in the kitchen and a thermos that was full of water from my party.  As I tapped the screen door I grabbed a flashlight and off I went, briefly stopping to assess my mother as she lay on the floor weeping.  I knew she would be fine so I set off into the field behind our house.  It was in this field that I had conquered the Russians in the battle of Ohio, it was in this field that I won Notre Dame their eleventh National Title and it was in this field that I found solace in this giant weeping willow tree that I loved to lay at the edge of and just watch the stars fall from the sky.  As I ran through the field I felt my heart pulsating in my palms as well as my head. The light of the flashlight bouncing off the field almost made me want to throw up some of that candy and soda I had taken down proudly earlier that day. As I reached my destination I fell to my knees, hurling the thermos and flashlight before me.  As I rolled onto my back I tried to locate the flashlight which I noticed its glow illuminating the grass that it had fallen upon.  Lucky for me I did not need the light on this night because not only were the stars fully in view but above on the cusp of the tree were what appeared to be millions of fireflies dancing by the leaves.  As I watched I could feel my eye lids growing heavy as my eyes rolled around in my throbbing head and as I tried to focus them I noticed that I was not alone under this tree as a silhouette was approaching me very quickly but not quickly enough because everything went dark.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Room Full Of No One

The littlest things in life have always been able to make me feel alive and that simple concept just blows my mind at times. Not because I wonder how little things can make my motor run but instead because of how aware I am of the road that has lead me to this place and my life and the pain that I walked through to get here. Tonight I begin this post because even though I have felt lost in myself lately it was just a tiny moment that has me smiling in my heart greater than I have smiled in awhile.
There I was just changing my 4 month old son Liam for bed, I had just pulled his shirt over his head and as I lay his head back down our eyes locked and I could sense his excitement  so I slowly inched closer to his face and then gave him a raspberry on his belly. Now usually a 4 month old will just look at you like you are an idiot when you attempt this (trust me my soon to be 2 year old daughter did it every time I tried until she was at least 10 months, now I cant get close to her and she is dying) but in this one instant my little boy just lost it and for the first time in his short life I made my boy laugh. I cannot even begin to describe the emotion that rushed through me but I could feel my heart shed some of the cold exterior that I have built to protect myself.
The craziest part of all of this is that I have been feeling so alone lately. My family is more or less non existent in my life, my friends well I am not sure what to think about them, and work well work is work for the first time in my life. I of course have my home life but when you want to brag about your babies I would imagine an audience of a 2 year old and a 4 month old are not what you had in mind. And the wife well she already knows the stories so that is no fun. I call my mother but the conversation just falls into what it has always been which is just a bunch of excuses of why she cant travel 3 blocks to see my kids, my sister has made recent attempts to see them but she did remove and block me from her facebook page, my friends well they don't even answer the phone half the time which has really caused some soul searching as of late.
You see I was the popular kid back in high school the one with people always around them. The problem that I had then basically came down to the title of this post. Although I always had people around me I was in reality in a room full of no one. I knew it then but I didn't care because I knew in my heart that with the messed up life I had been chosen for, if I was alone I was going to have one of three things happen. #1. I would be beaten by my mom's boyfriend. #2 I would have fallen so far down the line I would be writing this from a cell or #3 I would have ended my life. So I used the people that used me to make sure I lived after all I owed that much to my father who died at 30.
The kids were easy to use too, every weekend like clockwork my phone rang off the hook people wanting to come and stay with the kid who had no supervision at least not until closing time at the local watering hole. And I let them all come one by one to shit on me and talk about me behind my back and even while I was in the same room with them. I each weekend would find myself in a room full of no one, no one that cared what happened to me, no one that respected me, no one that knew how broken I was inside or that I wished that I did not need them by my side. No one that knew me.
I have always felt like I have been in that room. In school, at work, at home, in churches, with strangers, with family and even sometimes with myself. It is my least favorite place to feel like I am because when you are in a room full of no one, even though you are surrounded by many you are truly by yourself. I need that room when I was going through high school without it I would be a memory, but sadly I am still disappointed by the superficialness that has led me to this place now where I have something to brag about but all the people that I can tell already know the story and 2 out of the few I can tell are 2 and under.
I will never fault the kids that clung to me like glue because they could party their high school years  away because I used them too for my own reasons. But would it really have hurt them to invest themselves in my life a little more. Would it hurt my family to travel 3 and 4 blocks away to share my life with them. Unfortunately the answer to that is yes they too have always treated me like I was expendable. I never used my family for anything or walked all over them and I will not understand their actions.
Which brings me to my point, all my life I have been sitting in a room full of no one, pretty much a loner just thankful for the surroundings of other heart beats so that mine did not stop. All my life I have been haunted by the miseries and pains that my road has encountered. All my life has been spent pondering questions and what ifs but for 6 years now I have been on a path to redemption a path that found me at my bottom and at my worst and I am proud to report that my eternal flame that was near it's final flicker has actually been refueled and is burning stronger than ever.
You see I am 34 years old and I have lived through more pain and sorrow than most people see in a lifetime. And yet no matter how dark it got I have marched through with the will of a champion. Tonight I realized something when my son giggled. I was not in a room full of no one, I was in a room full of 4 and quite frankly how many more do you need.
Thank you if you took the time to read this, I love writing more than you know....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

How June 18th changed my life forever

The saying that "Timing is everything" is more true than anything I have ever heard in my life. From little things like getting to be first in line for tickets to a show, definitely in inventions and certainly in trying to create life.  People get jobs based on timing, they fall in love based on timing, some hit the lottery based on their timing and unfortunately some die because of their timing.
In this blog and in my story timing has been my friend and my enemy. It has caused me tears and set me up for laughter. But no single moment would shape my life quite like the timing of June 18th, 1978. See for those of you who have never met me and maybe stumbled upon this blog because of Twitter or maybe by accident let me tell you of the worst possible timing of any event that I have lived through.
In June of 1978, I would experience two events in life that are polar opposites, the beginning of life which I experienced as my own life reached it's first full year and the end of life which my Father reached at the age of 30 when he was struck and killed by lightning on June 18th, 1978.  In a matter of 16 days I ate my first cake, blew out the shortest amount of candles I would ever get too and spent my 2nd Fathers Day of my life at a picnic where my Dad was pronounced dead by first responders.
It is probably the hardest thing I have ever experienced and I cant remember one thing from that day. In reality the first recollection I have of my father was wondering where he was when I was 3. I have been doused with pictures and stories of my father for the last 33 years although the last few have gone quiet, with only me telling the stories I have heard over the years to other people. And with those stories I have heard about the kind loving, intelligent man that played one spring training with the Pittsburgh Pirates and would never hurt anyone and would give you the shirt off his back....what I did with those stories was create a legend in my mind that would move the Heavens and part the oceans to protect me and would love me more than the love from a million women and men. My Father would lift me out of danger and in tough times he would make sure to walk me through all storms.
Now in that description I have described at least 2 different people....Jesus or a Superhero. My point is as I was growing up I didn't let my father's death just destroy me and just throw away my life like I have seen many people do. I could have trust me it would have been easy, I was raised in an environment that had alcohohlism, verbal and physical abuse and worst of all a carousel of people who loved me one day and then disappeared from my life completely. But in all of that I used my Father's absence with my imagination I had learned from reading and TV to create the ideal model of what my Dad would have been. Couple that with the rose colored glasses that people put on my eyes every time they painted a picture of the man my Dad was and basically you would have a man that would win Dad of the Year hands down.  The problem with all of this creation in my head of the Legend of Bill Hall is that these ideas made me long for him even more when times were tough and trust me times were always tough.
Yet somehow when my path veered towards the wrong path these images of who he was in my brain kept me from traveling down the road least advisable to travel. Now I do not claim I am OK with any of this to tell you the truth I broke down three different times today when my mind wandered and it was 33 years ago but I will also not deny that this event shaped my soul in good and bad ways. June 18th has become to me a day that will always represent sorrow to me as I am sure anyone who lost their Father on Fathers Day would feel. It is a day that leaves me feeling robbed and I will never shake that but that day has also left me with an image of what I believe a Dad to be and although I may have painted my father out to be a Superhero, I will die trying to live up to those images for my kids Liam and Belle. If I can be half the man that I imagined my Father to be then to quote Charlie Sheen my kids will be Winning!!!
June 18th ripped my heart out 33 years ago and hear I sit another year older and another year wiser and although my heart aches at the thought of my Dad laying breathless on the side of a hill after trying to cook burgers at a family picnic and my eyes swell full of tears at the idea of him not being here to watch me grow. I can tell you that for the second year in a row I have held my babies and been able to connect with my Father as I now know how he felt when he held me close. I will never stop imagining what my father would have been like. Would I have played pro sports like he had if he had lived or maybe I would have been a Dr or a lawyer. What I can tell you for sure is that there is no way I would have been as good a Dad as I am right now. His death has taught me a very important lesson and that is a common one you hear in sports and that is live each moment like it is your last. I do not always do this and anyone claiming to is probably nuts but when I am with my babies I make sure to enjoy and treasure every moment we have and I make sure that they know how much I love them and that I always will, a question that has filled my head for 33 years. It is amazing how in just one moment your world can fall apart, mine did that fateful day in June of 1978 when Fathers Day was celebrated on the 18th day. I will never be what I may have been but what I do know is I will go to my grave trying to be the best father I can be just like my Dad did.
Happy Father's Day to all and for this Son and Father mine will be double the fun this year. I love you Liam and Isabella don't ever wonder. I love you Dad I hope I make you proud........

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Still Here and hope to be staying.

Ok, now I am going to warn you that this post may not meet your expectations of what you may believe about the end of days. I do encourage you to respond to me because I like to hear all points of view and would love to hear yours.

So by now I am pretty sure that the world continues to spin and that the end of times are not starting today. As I first heard of this theory my immediate reaction was who gave the microphone to the insane man and let him give the service that called for the end of times.  My next reaction came as watched a few interviews with the people that actually believed that this rapture was going to take place on May 21, 2011. As I sat and listened to these people glorifying how on this date they were going to be swept away to Heaven and all the non believers would be left here to parish on October 21st, I began to have a problem with the whole idea.

My first problem is why is it that people are so easily convinced by a man or a group of men to throw away rationale thinking and fall into line like children following the Pied Piper out of town never to return. I know right there I may have lost some of you but trust me when I say I know of the rats story but if you research the Pied Piper you will find the original tells of children being led to their death. Back on track now. Over the years many people have listened with childlike ears to a crazed man claiming to be a prophet that eventually leads them to their death. How uneducated are people that they believe whatever people tell them without trying to research what they are being told? Jim Jones led 909 people to their death in 1978. Marshall Appelwhite led 39 people to their death when the Heaven's Gate group drank Kool Aid to try to catch a UFO flying behind the Hale Bopp comet in 1997. In Uganda in 2000 a group wanting restoration of the 10 commandments murdered over 150 people because the prediction of the end of the world failed to come true on December 31,1999. Sadly there are many more of these crazies out there the most recent being this group led by Harold Camping who predicted today was the end and look at me typing this blog 3 hours later.  All people should be able to recognize these people for what they are which to put it politely.....they are lonely geniuses......oh and liars.... Get a clue people if Jesus wanted to come back he would not ask a pervert to gather you all and sleep with your wives and children Ala David Koresh or Jim Jones. And he surely wouldn't enlist the guy from Poltergeist to make multiple wrong predictions....if you haven't seen Poltergeist, google the third movie find pictures of Nathan Davis from his role and you will see Harold Camping.

Now the second problem I have with the possibility of this event is the simple fact that I have always believed that life is about living. Every event that I have ever been through, every knee scrape, every tear, every laugh, every argument and every one I have ever loved have made me into the man I have become. As I listened to people that didn't believe the end was near state that they couldn't wait to leave their life I became a little unsettled. Those of you that have read my posts have probably came to know that I have a soon to be 2 year old daughter whom I adore and a 2 month old son that is the gift I had always felt I had been robbed of as a child. It is my goal to see them grow into. I want to see their first everything and I want to put the money under their pillow for lost teeth. I want the chance to teach them things like how to ride a bike or drive a car. I want to help with homework. Have a catch in the yard or even teach about people like MJ, Bird, Magic or Dr. J. I want to cheer after a recital, a play, a football game or even an academic challenge. I want see my daughter in her prom dress and Liam in his tuxedo when they go to prom. And I hope that I have the chance to walk my daughter down the aisle one day.

Living is what makes life great. Every single moment of it from the laughter to the sorrow, from the success to the failures. The moments you live through are what shape who you become. I have lived a very hectic life filled full of sad tumultuous moments and amazing moments filled of joy. Whether it be my father's death in 1978 from a lightning strike or the birth of my daughter in 2009, each moment has shaped who I am in my heart and my soul. I pray that my baby girl Belle and my son Liam have the same chance I have had to live life and define who they themselves are in this world.

Living is what makes life bearable


Friday, April 8, 2011

A poem about my father and the news that makes me remember

Love From The Sky
I watch you walk around this world
not even knowing where to turn
gazing to the sky with that dazed look in your eyes
I try to reach you from the clouds but my hands just seem to miss
But don't you give up now
because soon you will find your bridge
and it will lead you to the dreams
that you have had since childhood
help you stand up tall
like I always knew you would
and when those times come
when things seem out of reach
just look up to the clouds
and I will give a little wink
Son then you will know that I believe in you
and just remember your words
It Will Not Rain Because
Of You

I wrote that poem over ten years ago when I honestly was so sad about life that I really had no clue where I was heading but it didn't seem to be anywhere good at the time. I remember going to sleep and dreaming about a person standing 50 yards away from me in the pouring rain and they were yelling to me but all I good hear was wind and thunder and all I could see was a siloutte of a man. Then out of no where a bolt of lightning hit between us and the view was clear it was my father and he whispered "Go"! I woke up and wrote that poem and it eased alot of the pain that I have had my entire life. It was weird for me because my Dad had died sixteen days after my first birthday, so to see him in a dream was super cool yet heart wrenching as well.

The reason this poem comes to mind tonight has to do with my other parent. I had called my mother earlier and we spoke for around twenty minutes and then hung up. A few moment later my mom called back and told me she had some news for me. She started by telling me how she had been sick for over a month and when she was at her most recent appointment the Dr told her he had found a polyp that was so big it may seel her air way. Now in most people polyps are benign little masses that just need removed, so I was fine with hearing this, but what freaks me out is the people that these are not benign the symptoms are hoarseness in voice, a history of an overactive thyroid, as well as people that smoke heavily. My mom has all of these traits and both her parents succumbed to cancer, so unfortunately her appointment in two weeks cannot come quick enough.

Life is a crazy whirlwind of events that make us who we are.  I have seen 6 people close to me fall to cancer and with each of them they were feeling off and then they went and found out at the Dr that the pulled muscle, the headaches or the sore throat was actually their body betraying them. I know that I shouldn't worry but with each of those people they were no longer on Earth within two years of that first appointment.

I know that all I can do is pray to God that all is ok but it is hard for me to maintain my cool. I lost my father when I was one and in 33 years I have attended the funerals of 40 people that I have loved. I just now started to get what I want in life and I have a beautiful family that I have laid the foundation for with my wife. I love my little girl and my newborn son so much. But I have no clue how a Mama's boy can face life without his Mom.

I am sorry to all who may read this but if you made it this far your prayers are greatly appreciated.

It Will Not Rain

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tiny musing of a Father and Son

I sit in the darkness. Completely focused on my task at hand as I struggle to keep my eyes open. I watch his eyes scan my face that is illuminated by the Jay Leno show. What must he be thinking of this strange man that is holding this bottle of food for him? I hear my mind wonder if he has yet to master my face and it leads to further wonderment of what I must have thought as my father held the bottle in my mouth. These are the moments that really rack my brain and pull at my heart strings. I am unsure of whether my feelings are normal for all fathers or are they magnified because of my father's death and never being able to talk to him, smell his cologne, listen to his laugh, watch him cheer for our teams, or look into his eyes. I am positive of one thing and that is when my little boy is finished with his bottle and he places his hand on my cheek it is the time when my heart that was shattered into a billion pieces puts itself together again.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A birth, numerical oddities and the story of It Will Not Rain.

My Baby Boy
This week has brought me joy, excitement, longing, tears, laughter, fear, panic, love and the best thing in the world my baby boy Liam Christopher Hall.  Who came into the world 28 days early and right now is sitting under lights trying to bring his billirubin down so that he can come home. It is amazing to me at how much I love this little boy and I have only known him for a little over 71 hours but to be honest I cannot tell you what it was like when he wasn't here. I truly have been blessed by God as this father son relationship, I have dreamt of my whole life.
1 in a million and the #'s 2 & 9
The crazy thing about my son's arrival is one heck of a numerical oddity but it makes me feel that maybe my life is no coincidence. Let me explain. The craziness dates back to my first year when my father became a statistic you see he was one of the unlucky people that were hit by lightning and killed. Now this 1 in 2.52 million chance set me on a crazy path through life. I have had a couple run ins with 1 in a million shots. My mom and her boyfriend actually hit the 1983 Ohio lottery when I was a kid and although he ended up leaving and taking the money with him that was a 1 in million kinda thing as well. Back to the one in a millions in a moment.
Now fast forward to 2006 when my beautiful wife and I got married on December 9th after a few months of being married we decided to have a family and after months of trying and failing once again I was introduced to the 1 in a million statements as our doctor told us that we would probably not be able to have children. I tried to keep my spirits up as this was something that I had always longed for since my father was killed and after many months of infertility treatments and praying I had all but given up on my dream. But I should have known that if there is a 1 in a million involved I will be that 1 and on July 9th, 2009 my daughter Isabella was born, and what makes it great is there was no infertility treatment that would work and we actually accomplished this bundle of joy naturally. And then there is my son who I mentioned earlier. Two days prior to finding out we were having another baby we were once again told that we would probably not be able to have another baby. But funny how things work because after tears and coming to terms with the news there was my wife telling me again she was giving me a child.
Now my birthday is June 2nd and the reason I bring this up is that my son was born on the 2nd as well. I am starting to feel like maybe my lucky numbers are 2, 9 and any thing to do with a in a million stat. Before I go on to It Will Not Rain one last fun number reference. My wife and I love the number 9, we married on the 9th, our daughter was born on the 9th, and I wore 9 in sports and little Liam would not be left out of the 9 love as he was born on 3-2-2011. Now you may wonder how that has anything to do with the number 9 well.....3+2+2+0+1+1=9........

Now the Story of It Will Not Rain
A long time ago, well I cant say a long time ago since I am only 33 going on 34, but what seems like a lifetime ago I sat in a field hanging out with some friends on a summer night sitting by a campfire watching the stars and I kept noticing a tower off in the distance with one of those red blinking lights at the top of it. See with the tragedy of my father I spent most of my life searching for a greater meaning and when I gazed upon that blinking light I think I found what I was looking for. I immediately went and found a pen and wrote down a poem about the rain.
If I ask people why they think it rains I always get one of two answers. The first is so that the earth may replenish and give life to the plants and all beings that inhabit it. The second answer is usually because the moisture in the air rises up to the clouds and then the clouds produce rain that falls back to the soil. Now both answers are formed in science and since I think differently I will tell you why I think that it rains.
My answer was formed in my soul when I gazed upon that red light in the field. See I wrote in my poem that as each soul was born into heaven they had a little light just like that one in the field. A fast blinking light that measured the amazing possibility that every soul has in their future. You see one of the most important things that I took from the Bible was that God created us in his image. Why that is so important to me is if that were true and he created the Earth and the Heavens and we have been created in his image, then what can we not do if we put our minds to it and try. I say nothing is impossible. So with this fast blinking light for each soul the possibilities are endless.
As the soul is born on Earth that light continues to race, blinking so hard that it looks like a solid color. And as we go through our lives we gain dreams and aspirations. All the while the angels watch our lights flashing. I remember in my youth I was going to be GI Joe when I grew up, then I wanted to be a Transformer and when that didn't work out I decided that my ultimate dream was to play football at the University of Notre Dame. I think I had the skill but what I didn't have was the work ethic to get me there. I didn't realize that going to the gym to lift weights was actually a big deal that would lead me to Notre Dame or that running and throwing after practice may push me to my dream. I just figured in my teenage mind that my God given talents would carry me to my dream. Now i did get a few offers from really tiny schools or schools that were just beginning their programs but I had lost my dream of Notre Dame, so I branded that dream on my leg to remind me not only of my love for the Irish but also for a dream that was lost.
Which takes me back to the field, as you look back through your life and find yourself failing just a little bit like I did, that red light that shines with your soul dims just a little bit. And if you find yourself giving up on life completely and nothing in your mind is worth living for and the smile that you used to have with no effort at all just disappears. When the glow in your eyes no longer exists and when you become almost like a shell of the man or women you once were that red light that beat so passionately when you were born into Heaven just disappears. And as the angels see this they send tears from Heaven for the soul that has lost all hope. So for me I decided that It Will Not Rain for me.
I was so motivated when I thought that whole story out. I wrote screenplays, poems, songs, love letters. I thought that if I could come up with something so powerful then I must be able to do anything if I really want it bad enough. I lost that a little bit around six years ago after my grandfather who was like a father to me lost his battle with cancer. The day his eternal flame was extinguished I lost my will to change the world and be the best I could be. My red light was fading away and there was nothing I could do to stop it. And then my daughter came and life was breathed back in me a little. But still I could not light my fire inside me. Almost two years later however with the arrival of my sweet baby boy I can tell you that my fire is burning bright again. As I held him against my chest I gained my red light back again and I believe although it has faded a little over time, it will never fade again. I have dreamed of being a father and for the rest of my life I will live that dream. I have dreamed of writing poems and songs....and for the rest of my life I will live that dream. My goal in life for a career has been to write movies and 10 years ago had you met me I would have convinced you I could. I lost that belief in myself but now it is back. So forever let it be known It Will Not Rain Because of Me...
It Will Not Rain
Over in the east appears the sun
to lend its light for us to learn
and in some place a man will quit
sending tears from heaven
a flame has went
So forever let it be known
that no matter how hard this world may seem
It Will Not Rain
Because of Me

Sunday, February 13, 2011

911 (America's Calling)- my greatest written work

I have decided that I really would like more people to be involved with my writing and although this is a blog I will occasionally post some of my stories, screenplay scenes, articles and my strongest work poetry. In this blog I will share my greatest writing of my 33 years. This poem was written after I watched an episode of Oprah in late September 2001 which had a guy that was just destroyed by his wife's last words being on his answering machine because he was sleeping in Seattle and failed to hear her call. She was calling because she was about to crash into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. This episode along with the months events left me floored and I sat down with a pen and created this poem.

911 (America's Calling)
Susie waits for Michael
to come running through that door
He went to work real early that day
only to be stolen from this Earth

And little baby Matthew
just opened up his eyes
so many sights for him to see
for the very first time
but with Daddy's face in heaven
so many tears are left to cry
as this newborn son
prays to Daddy every night

Oh God grant us your comfort
as our nation cries to you
so many fears inside these hearts
please send us love from Jesus too
United hand in hand we stand
as one nation under you
Oh God grant us your comfort
as our nation cries to you

Katie just finished the details
yeah next week she'd be a bride
surely giving Richard the best present of his whole life
But now with the help of Satan's hands
he will put her in the ground
Leaving him to figure out
which ways up and which ways down

And a little boy named Christopher
went on his way to school
kissed his Mom and Dad goodbye
said he hoped to see them soon
"Be sure to take lots of photographs,
please call to say goodnight"
and as he stepped outside that door
he turned to say
"Have a safe flight"
But at 3 past 9 that day in school
his whole world came tumbling down
leaving him to question
"God, did you have to take them now?"

Oh God grant us your comfort
as our nation cries to you
so many fears inside these hearts
please send us love from Jesus too
United hand in hand we stand
as one nation under you
Oh God grant us your comfort
as our nation cries to you

Monday, February 7, 2011

How my team losing the Super Bowl healed a piece of my heart.

Now if anyone is actually reading this I am sure you are skeptical of how my team losing could do any good for me. I know it sounds crazy but if you stick around until the end of this story you will understand. See I am a thirty-three year old husband, father, writer and sports nut and if someone told me five years ago that one of my greatest moments of my life would happen while my team was losing the Super Bowl, I would have told them they were nuts and pictured myself in a quiet anger filled trance staring at my TV as my team was losing. To give you a little background on me I was raised in a family that followed their sports teams like they were watching their own family members play the games. The stars of these teams were referred to by their first names and when I was a kid I would send Christmas cards to the players I loved hoping that they would receive them and with some Christmas spirit maybe they would send a card back to me. (Only one ever did, a baseball player that I had never heard of at the time but he had thrown me a foul ball at a game, Tim Raines.) Sports was something that helped raise me, something that had help build my resolve, my passion and my belief that if I worked hard I could do anything in life. Just like Michael Jordan seemed to lift an entire sport on his back, if I believed in myself I could do anything. I need what sports gave to me and my entire life I have rooted hard for my teams, I have cried when they lost, I have jumped for joy when they have won, I have seen my teams win championships, lose championships, play amazing games and play like they had just been introduced to the sport. In a nutshell my teams were like family to me. They had helped raise me after all as I come from a family that was broken apart by a tragedy leaving me longing for what I realized I had finally achieved on Super Bowl Sunday as my team the Pittsburgh Steelers lost the biggest game of the year. The tragedy that would shape my life forever and lead me to today happened on June 18th, 1978 just as summer came to Ohio to fill the air full of the scent of flowers and fresh cut grass and of course the best smell of summer a neighborhood grill that is cooking that nights dinner. But on this day in my small little town a rain storm would move in that would leave me broken for most of my life. The day for me is just a moment in time for it happened just sixteen days after my first birthday but the story goes like this. My parents were taking our family to a Father's Day picnic at a local park to celebrate with family and friends. My Dad who fancied himself like most men a master of the grill was making the burgers and hot dogs with his best friend probably swapping stories about work, sports, his new son (me) and telling the famous tales about playing baseball for a short time with the Pirates. Unfortunately the picnic would be cut short like many that day across Ohio as major storms ripped apart the state. I believe there were 50+ tornadoes that touched down that day. My parents did not see a tornado that day although I wish that they had. Instead my father had no warning as a bolt would end not only the grilling that he was a master of, but in fact it would end his whole life. That day shaped who I was as I lost the moments with my dad that I witnessed all of my other friends having as we grew up. With my mom having to work all the time I was left in the hands of three sources of learning; school, television and sports. The three would shape and sew the very fabric of my morals into my soul. Sports taught me to play like a champion and to never give up. Television taught me values such as right from wrong as well as my favorite lesson of all which is that as long as you have a cool car with a flag on its roof you can run from the cops while transporting moonshine for your Uncle Jesse and all will be forgiven. (I kid, I kid) And in school I learned history, math, science, English and how to play crab soccer. All of these things shaped me into the man I have become. Although each of these items I hold dear to my heart, I have always teared up at touching moments on TV between fathers and their children, I have always longed for my father who I have written many poems about and overall I have dreamt of the day that I would get to experience those moments that I had watched my friends share with their Dads. Which brings me to my point in all this random rambling, last night as I sat in my chair with my pulse racing after my Steelers scored to cut the Packers lead to 21-10 something happened that will forever change my life and who I am as a man. I sat back just hoping for another come from behind win to secure title number 7 for a team that I have watched since I was in diapers. But on this night it was not about the Lombardi trophy for me or my team as they would fight hard and never give up but ultimately fall to the Packers in a great game. No instead there was a greater meaning for me on this night as although my team would not be hoisting a trophy I would find myself holding something equivalent in my arms to a championship. On this night I would taste one of those moments that I had longed for as a child and no matter the outcome of this one game my heart would heal just a little bit more from the day the rains came and washed away my dad.

In this one moment I felt 33 years of wonder come crashing down on my heart like the waves that beat down upon our shores. Although it hurt that the Steelers would go on and lose that game, I realized a dream that I had longed for my whole life. As I held my baby girl in my arms, I realized that on this night I was a champion.