Several weeks ago, I found myself driving toward Greenville, TX on I-30 coming home from a very productive day of making sales calls along roads less traveled. My little silver convertible sported a brand new set of tires, the top was down, the sun was shining, and I the stereo belted out the tunes from one of my "Top Hits" music compilations courtesy of our digital music age. All seemed right with the world, and then I heard the first chords of Cold Play's "Speed of Sound" begin echoing in my once tranquil brain. This is the song playing in the background of Peter's YouTube video when we went skiing in Montana, and its lyrics are nothing less than haunting to me. Like mental whiplash, I went from singing at the top of lungs to tears welling up in my eyes in less than thirty seconds, and I found myself experiencing once again the heartache and sadness I felt when Peter passed away. Grief bursts like these happen every once in a while, but driving down the freeway is not the opportune moment to let my emotions get the best of me, so I began searching for a way to work through the emotion without stuffing it down and pretending it didn't exist. Suddenly, I remembered a scene from the movie "Dances With Wolves" where, toward the end of the film, Kevin Costner's character is saying goodbye to the tribe he has grown to love, but he can't find his close friend Winds-In-His-Hair anywhere. I remembered thinking how sad it would be to not be able to say goodbye to a man who saved my life or who showed me a new way to look at the world. Right as Dances-With-Wolves is riding out of camp with his wife, Winds-In-His-Hair appears suddenly on the cliff overlooking the camp astride his horse with his spear raised to the heavens. He boldly and emotionally cries out to his friend in a voice that echoes along every canyon wall, "DANCES-WITH-WOLVES! CAN YOU SEE ME? I AM WINDS-IN-HIS-HAIR! CAN YOU SEE THAT I AM AND ALWAYS WILL BE YOUR FRIEND! DANCES-WITH-WOLVES! I WILL ALWAYS BE YOUR FRIEND!" The raw emotion of that scene always stayed with me, and I remembered thinking how great it would be to live in a culture where a man could show his grief and heartache with such power and feeling and not be ashamed. Well, here I was, barreling down the freeway doing about eighty with semi-trucks ahead of me and beside me, and I thought to myself, now is the perfect time to shout out my feelings to Peter. With the song still ringing in my ears and my son's sweet face fresh in my mind, I cried out as loud as I could, "PETER! CAN YOU SEE ME? CAN YOU SEE THAT I LOVE YOU SON! CAN YOU SEE THAT I MISS YOU EVERY DAY! CAN YOU SEE HOW MUCH YOUR FAMILY MISSES YOU!" I yelled until I couldn't yell any more, and you know what? Winds-In-His-Hair had it figured out. I imagine that man never suffered from ulcers, stress headaches or high blood pressure because I felt 1000-times better after my "therapy" session. Everyone needs an outlet for their emotions, and I'm glad that I found mine on that sunny day in April while driving down the freeway.
I'm a father who lost his youngest son to an inoperable brain tumor. Although I miss Peter every day, I find strength through my faith to not only keep on living but to also find joy in life. I am keenly interested in helping parents of children who have died from cancer find a measure of peace again in their lives.