Thursday, April 23, 2009


What should be our legacy of love be? Here is something for you to ponder about.

As a young man, Al was a skilled artist, a potter. He had a wife and two fine sons. One night, his oldest son developed a severe stomachache. Thinking it was only some common intestinal disorder, neither Al nor his wife took the condition very seriously.
But the malady was actually acute appendicitis, and the boy died suddenly that night.

Knowing the death could have been prevented if he had only realized the seriousness of the situation, Al's emotional health deteriorated under the enormous burden of his guilt. To make matters worse his wife left him a short time later, leaving him alone with his six-year-old younger son. The hurt and pain of the two situations were more than Al could handle, and he turned to alcohol to help him cope. In time Al became an alcoholic.

As the alcoholism progressed, Al began to lose everything he possessed - his home, his land, his art objects, everything. Eventually Al died alone in a San Francisco motel room.

When I heard of Al's death, I reacted with the same disdain the world shows for one who ends his life with nothing material to show for it. "What a complete failure!" I thought. "What a totally wasted life!"

As time went by, I began to re-evaluate my earlier harsh judgment. You see, I knew Al's now adult son, Ernie. He is one of the kindest, most caring, most loving men I have ever known. I watched Ernie with his children and saw the free flow of love between them. I knew that kindness and caring had to come from somewhere.

I hadn't heard Ernie talk much about his father. It is so hard to defend an alcoholic. One day I worked up my courage to ask him. "I'm really puzzled by something," I said. "I know your father was basically the only one to raise you. What on earth did he do that you became such a special person?"

Ernie sat quietly and reflected for a few moments. Then he said, "From my earliest memories as a child until I left home at 18, Al came into my room every night, gave me a kiss and said, `I love you, son.'"

Tears came to my eyes as I realized what a fool I had been to judge Al as a failure. He had not left any material possessions behind. But he had been a kind loving father, and he left behind one of the finest legacy of love, a most giving man I have ever known.

-Author Unknown-


Tiger said...

Hi, MWS.
Your articles never fail to "get" to me, and this one is definitely not an exception.

masterwordsmith said...

Hi Tiger,

Thanks for swinging by again...Am glad you like the article and took the time to share your comment. I really appreciate it :-).

Have a good day!


Chahya said...

Hi Paula,
This is really touching.

-love should be expressed, not kept in the heart
-love should be said, even though the depth of love may not be understood by the recipient, it may show its effect way later

Love you friend.

Walt said...

Poor guy, a life destroyed by all that guilt ridden anguish, and it was not the appendicitis that killed his son. No doubt in the boy's last hours he must have appeared to be resting as he was sinking deeper into septic shock, and it can happen very fast indeed.

"The hallmark of severe sepsis and septic shock are changes that occur at the microvascular and cellular level with diffuse activation of inflammatory and coagulation cascades, vasodilation and maldistribution of perfusing blood, capillary endothelial leak, and dysfunctional utilization of oxygen and nutrients at the cellular level. The challenge for the clinician is recognize that this process is underway when it may not be clearly manifest in the vital signs or clinical examination."

The American College of Chest Physicians/Society of Critical Care Medicine "in 1992 defined the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) as a group of vital signs and a laboratory value that if abnormal may indicate that sepsis physiology is occurring at the microvascular and cellular level.1 Meeting SIRS criteria is defined by the having at least 2 of the following 4 abnormalities:"

Temperature higher than 38°C or lower than 36°C
Heart rate greater than 90 beats per minute
Respiratory rate greater than 20 breaths per minute
WBC count higher than 12,000/mm3 or lower than 4,000/mm3 or with more than 10% immature forms (bands)
Of course, a patient can have either severe sepsis or septic shock without meeting SIRS criteria, and conversely, SIRS criteria may be present in the setting of many other illnesses. One large observational study demonstrated that, in the setting of suspected infection, just meeting SIRS criteria without evidence of organ dysfunction did not predict increased mortality, which emphasizes the importance of identifying organ dysfunction over the presence of SIRS criteria.12 However, there is evidence that suggests that meeting increasing number of SIRS criteria is associated with increased mortality."

masterwordsmith said...

Hi Chahya,

Indeed, this one is very touching.

Originally, I wanted to save it till Father's Day but I was impatient to share this beautiful story with you I posted it today.:-)

Good stories must be shared :-), not hoarded ...

I agree with your views and you know what, I can see it in your life, in the way you work, study, take care of your family and in the way you relate to your friends and me!

Thanks so much, Chahya, for being a very real, caring and loving friend...

Love you too, my friend who stood by me in my darkest times...

Bearry Big hugs ;-),

masterwordsmith said...

Again you surprise me with another dimension of your knowledge! What is it that you do not know ;-)!

From henceforth, I am going to call you Waltipedia because you inject much knowledge and wisdom into my blog via comments and I truly appreciate the effort you make to see the post from different angles and to take the off-beaten track in your responses.

Thanks a lot!!

Take care and have a good rest!


Joseph M. Fasciana said...

Love in this case became the absolute center of the young boy as he was growing up.

In the meantime nurturing became the center of his dad's commitment to his son.

His dad's provenance was most likely passed down from the boys grandparents. It seems apparent it was meaningful and real enough to form a bond of unconditional love between father and son, no matter what obstacles they faced. A very poignant message for all of us.



masterwordsmith said...

Dear Joseph,

Thanks for sharing your deep thoughts and response to this story.

We can see the positive effects of nurturing on the boy and that love overcomes all, leaving a legacy that lasts.

Indeed, this is a beautiful message for us.

Take care.