Saturday, February 25, 2006

Bad Luck?

The Seattle PI article is out. Yeesh. I look like hell. In all, Hector did a good job describing things and checking facts. The only small "oops" (and it is truly small) is that Punky was female.

Interesting that so many have mentioned luck as a factor. What bad luck. They've had a run of bad luck. That would indicate the presence of randomness in all of this, but that doesn't explain the timing of it all. Was Sam's diagnosis just bad luck? Was it mere chance that something funky on the kidney scan made our doctor ask for a full torso CT? And my father's diagnosis just two months after that? Okay, maybe. Was Sam's death just before spring break 2005 just random, so that the kids had time away from school to be close to family? Perhaps. What about my dad dying just 6 weeks later, on Memorial Day, after a VERY rapid 2-week decline? And not directly from the cancer, but of a pulmonary embolism in the hospital? Was that random, or was he supposed to go with Sam for some higher purpose? Were those left behind supposed to learn something from the odd set of circumstances?

People die all the time. I suppose just by playing the odds you could come up with two people related by marriage dying within 1 clendar month of two unrelated, non-hereditary, rare cancers. But I'd bet those odds are astounding.

Okay, so we're reeling from having these two people ripped from our lives, and starting to get back into a semblance of normalcy and life. But wait - Christmas Eve wouldn't be complete without a little sewage in our bedrooms. Okay, sewer mains back up, I understand that. Sometimes people get flooded. On Christmas Eve (when we have winter break to deal with it). Fine. I suppose that could be random by itself too. But to lose the rest of the house in a fire on Valentine's Day (just before the President's Day/midwinter break), in combination with EVERYTHING that's happened in the last year... well, that's just a little bizarre. It smacks of fate or plan or whatever you want to call it. In my opinion (speaking from the eye of the huricane), we're meant to be changed by all of this - my kids and I are being set on a different path. I was beginning to make strides in my own life toward releasing the "couple" part of me, toward making "our" home into "my" home. But whatever forces are at work (be it a collective intelligence, my own higher consciousness or a gentle janitor played by Morgan Freeman - see Bruce Almighty), it is clear to me that we were not meant to remain in that home. That home was something that Samantha and I created with our kids. And that part of our lives is over. We have no choice but to move forward.

Bad luck? I don't think so. I think people make their own luck. And in the midst of everything terrible we are dealing with, there are bits and pieces of really good luck to be found: friends and family who drop everything to run to our aid; a school PTA which organizes food delivery so we don't have to worry about cooking every night; a vacant rental house right across the freakin' street; the firefighters who thought our situation warranted some special attention; a massive campaign by friends around the world to get us on Extreme Makeover...

Whatever lessons are to be learned in all of this are being learned. Outside of those larger lessons, we nurture relationships and try to attract positive things into our lives. Even though my kids have had their world turned upside down, they smile and hug me and know in their hearts that the universe is ultimately in balance and things will work out. Maybe that's pig-headedness, or maybe it's faith in an ordered universe. Regardless, I think it goes beyond a roll of the dice on some cosmic scale.

We are where we are for a reason, and are becoming the people we need to become. Luck... mmm, yeah, not so much.


Tyler's Friend said...

I am deeply saddened whenever I read this blog. Being a friend of Tyler Downing, I have a deeper comprehension of the emotional roller coaster the Downing family is experiencing at the moment. Tyler is especially silent when it comes to these situations. Luckily, I stumbled across this blog...KEEP ON WRITING!

And for those interested, please see my blog at

You won't regret it!


There is nothing that sucks more for a religous person like myself then to have no words of solace or answers as to why the Lord allows bad things to happen to good people. Because if you deeply believe it becomes part of your nature to want to heal like the Divine Master in Heaven.

Also from my reading of the Book of Job it is always a basic mistake to try & tell people "God is doing this to you because [fill in stupid insensitive answer here}.

The best I can do is just pray for you Todd & offer you my love & sympathy.







Darth Jim Scott 4th said...

There it's fixed.:-)

Anonymous said...

Todd, you're a good man who's been through way more than anyone deserves. I will continue to wish well for you and your children, and if I can do anything for you, Gavin knows how to contact me.

Pamela in Charlotte

beach said...


I've been thinking about this for a little bit. When you and I were young, we spent a great deal of time inside our heads. We thrived in fantasy. It can be argued that we got lost in fantasy. Even though it was a creative time, my grades and general interest in school reflected that unreality... I don't know about you.

Each one of these events is about as real as it gets.

Reality has bitch slapped you.

Reality is about the hear and now. The now. This instant. The only thing that is truly real is this one moment.

If these events have any purpose, perhaps they're about reality. About waking up and focusing on that one thing that you know is inside you. Waking up and putting all your energy, all your might, all your fortitude into that single vision. That one thing. I bet you know what that is.

Last night your father was in my dream. I have never dreamed about your father before. You were not there though. We were on his boat and sailing to Hawaii. I don't recall why, but it was an adventure. Kathrine was there and lots of people I don't know. Some rather old.

The unusual thing is that for some reason we had to go through the Panama Canal to get there. It didn't make sense. But no one doubted your dad's leadership. And it was beautiful. The skies were so blue, the greens of the trees were so deep. The sands were so white.

We were having fun. And your dad was having a great time. He wore a big white robe made of terry cloth.

Our job, it seemed, was to sit back and enjoy the ride. With the wind in our hair and the sun in our face.

That's all I can remember. I don't know what it means, but perhaps you do.

With all my love,


Lori said...


Matt Forbeck, who says that you two are "on some of the same industry mailing lists", posted a link to your story and blog on his Forbeck Feed. Know that my thoughts and prayers - as well as the thoughts and positive vibes of an entire industry - are with you and yours. Take care, and let us know if we can help you with anything.

-Lori, Owner
Delazan Enterprises (an editing and indexing company that specializes in RPGs)