Saturday, August 20, 2016

Finding Religion as an Adult

IMG_0130
Religion was not a part of my upbringing. Like many Berkeley, California moms my mother could be described as “spiritual” rather than religious. She took bits and pieces from our Japanese heritage and mixed them with Mexican Catholicism and Caribbean Santaria. We had an ambiguous alter in our home with rice, whisky, incense and pictures of our ancestors, but we never talked about it. I kept up this non-traditional tradition through my twenties. 
When I met my wife she was going through her own religious awakening. She had started attending Episcopal services in high school, largely unbeknown to her parents. I still don’t totally understand why she started. She says she found comfort in the routine and the message. While we were dating I went with her at times, and encouraged her to go on her own when I didn’t feel up for it. I always reminded her that she felt better when she went. I attended her confirmation, and at the time had no intent to join the church myself, or even attend regularly. We were still dating and I wasn’t fully committed to her long term, let alone the church.
FamilyCommunion
Things changed when my mom died, but it wasn’t the idea of death that turned me to religion. My mother’s death touched off a feud within my family that had been simmering for years. My mother’s siblings and friends, people I expected to support me during this time, instead focused their pain and anger about the situation on me. They squabbled over my mother’s “estate” in as much as it could be considered one, no more than a few thousand dollars and a small house. But they behaved as though it were a fortune. The acrimony and distrust were tearing at me. I had never felt more stressed or persecuted in my life, and I had changed schools every year from kindergarten through Jr. High. I felt alone, but mostly I was angry.
I was angry that my mother had been taken from me when she was just 54. I was angry that she hadn’t finished getting her affairs in order before she died. I was angry that everyone had been so insistent on the power of positivity that my mom and I had never been allowed to have those deep end of life conversations that I longed to have. I was hurt that my family distrusted me as the executor and trustee for my 17-year-old brother. I didn’t know what to do.
During this time I left my career in Washington D.C. and moved home to California to help care for my brother. My wife chose a church nearby and for lack of anything else I started attending more regularly. I found that every week the sermons spoke to something I needed. They weren’t just about God or Jesus or what the Bible said we should think. They were about how we could live better lives and be better, happier people. A few of them were about forgiveness. The rector talked about how to let go of resentments. She told us how we could try to understand the people who hurt us. She gave me a blueprint to follow to move past the hurt my family was causing. Beyond that, her words helped me remain open to having a relationship with them. After I’d lifetime spent a lifetime banishing people who had hurt me, it was permission to let go of the grudges I was building. It was freedom.
After that I became more interested and involved in the church. I had found a place where the message of the Bible was about love and acceptance, not the hate and vitriol associated with the loudest voices of the religious right. I started confirmation classes. My wife and I were married, and held our reception in our home parish. I was confirmed on the same day my son was baptized.
image1-2
I’ll confess, I don’t believe in all of it. I honestly don’t know if there’s a God, let alone one true God. I don’t believe in all the miracles. I don’t think the bread and wine actually become flesh and blood. I believe that we should be good people in the world for the sake of being good, not because of any reward in the afterlife (if there is one). Still, I’ve taught Sunday school. I am raising my children in the church. Many of my fellow Christians would say these thoughts mean I may as well not bother showing up. What I do believe in is the message and the structure. The primary take away from every service I’ve ever attended is to love everyone. The only action we are compelled towards is to make the world a more peaceful and caring place. Being good in a vacuum can be hard. Having some guidance helps me.
My secular friends, which is most of my friends, like to post memes and articles to social media proposing that you don’t need religion to be a good person. I think that’s true. But when my family is in a time of need I notice that people I hardly know from my church are almost more likely to step up and help than are my non-religious friends. It’s been parishioners who have organized meals for us when we’ve had a birth or death in the family. When my father-in-law died a woman I didn’t recognize knitted my wife a prayer shawl and brought it to our house. The thing is, we have never asked for the help we’ve received, it’s simply materialized when people heard we might need it. This isn’t a knock on my non-religious friends. Rather it acknowledges that being in a church seems to compel people to not just feel sorry for others, but to act. That sense of community has deepened my connection to the church. Finding religion as an adult has been as much about discovering faith people, as about believing in a higher power.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Check Me Out on City Dads Group




Hello Gang,

I hope you're all having an awesome summer so far. I wrote an article For City Dads Group recently and I wanted to share the link here. It's about how strange it when your four-year-old gets a nose job. Lou had her nose re-done a few months ago as part of her surgery suite related to fixing her cleft. In the column I explore what the term "normal" means to me, and why it makes me uncomfortable.

I hope you'll check it out.

Daughter's Cleft Lip Makes Dad Question What is "Normal"





Wednesday, June 22, 2016

They Make Me a Better Sport


We're old school Dubs fans at my house.

I am a poor sport.

It's tough to admit, but it's true. Part of the reason is something I noted about a month ago while waiting to hear back about a job interview. Some people can do that thing where they say, "Don't worry about things you can't control." I'm the opposite. I only worry about things I can't control. Why would I worry about anything else? I control all the other things so there's little to worry about there.

Being a poor sport doesn't come through as much when I'm playing, though I have been known to be a bit of a hot head when I feel an opponent is playing dirty. It comes out in spades when I watch rather than play. In fact, I've come to realize over the years that watching brings out the worst in me because I can see everything, but control nothing. It's why during my rugby days I played better as a scrum half, in close to the action, than as a wing standing on the outside with a great view, but little minute-to-minute impact. I never got in trouble playing scrum half. I was constantly in trouble as a wing.

I don't coach anymore, I didn't have the right temperament.
I quit coaching a couple years ago when I realized I couldn't stop yelling at the referees. Yelling at referees is terrible to begin with, but for me it was especially egregious because I am a referee. I was haranguing guys I worked with, guys I had to face at the ref meetings. I couldn't stop. So I had to recuse myself until I could work on my issues and be the kind of coach I expect when I referee.

So why am I writing about this? I may have found my salvation, and it's my kids.

There are a few things that being a parent has changed for me that I would not have changed on my own. I eat more vegetables and cook healthier meals now, not because I have internalized that it's good for me, but because it's good for them. I drive slower and more patiently, not because I don't feel the road rage, but because I want them to be safe. I don't pick up my phone when I'm driving, not to save my life, or yours, but because I want to be able to say to them "See, you can drive without FOMO." Having them with me is also making me a better sport, at least when I'm in front of them.

It started with the 2012 NFC Championship Game between the Giants and the 49ers. San Francisco lost on a muffed punt in overtime that led to New York's winning field goal. I was bummed, but Buddy was heart broken. For the next three days our morning commute was consumed with him crying, begging for them to replay the game so the 49ers could win. That's when I had to institute The Rule. The Rule is that when our team loses, whether as fans or as players, we can be sad about it for 24 hours, then we move on. As a fan The Rule is useful because it acknowledges our emotions and our need to grieve, while also allowing for the fact that sports fandom is kind of a silly pursuit.

Go Buddy, go!
As Buddy and Lou have gotten older and begun to engage more with the sports world, I have had to become better. The first big challenge came last year when Buddy started playing Under-9 (U9) touch rugby. I tried my best to just be a parent. I didn't want to be a coach, I didn't want to referee. I wanted to be a parent and let him experience what it's like to hear other voices.

Really, I wanted to not want to be a coach or ref.

The truth is I desperately wanted to do both. It killed me to see coaches who were caring and well meaning, but didn't have a ton of experience with little kids, devise drills and practice sessions that failed to hold their team's interest. It was all I could do to swallow my frustration with how the games were officiated. None of this is because the coaches or refs were truly inadequate, but because it is so hard for me to watch imperfection, even in games where they don't keep score. (A note on keeping score, you can say you don't keep score, but the kids all know the score.) The next challenge came this month as my Golden State Warriors carried a three-games-to-one lead in the best of seven NBA Finals, that then became a three all series with a deciding game seven to come.

Generally it had been easy to rant and rail at basketball games like a typical fan because they usually start well after the kids' bedtime. I became notoriously obnoxious on Facebook during the playoff months of April, May and June. I also had more riding on this than the average fan. A Warriors win would mean trip home to California for me to work the victory parade. I had worked the parade the year prior and I was over the moon at the idea of doing it again. With game seven in Oakland, and with the two-time MVP on our side I was confident our team would win, could win. Might win. OK, I'm generally a pessimist, but I figured they would win despite my reservations.

2015 Warriors Championship Celebration



It was Sunday night before the last day of school and I offered the kids the chance to stay up and watch the game. Early on I realized the biggest challenge of the night would be in keeping my comments measured in order to be a good example for them. So while I complained about things on Facebook, I tried to remain calm while Buddy snuggled next to me on the couch. (Lou elected to go to bed before half time).  At one point in the first half Kyrie Irving hit a tough shot and had a foul call go his way on what was, in my mind, not even close to being a foul. It was bad enough that it happened, but then he danced. He danced because he was happy. He was happy because he was playing better than he ever had in the biggest game of his life. But it burned me up and I said, "Someone should punch Kyrie Irving right in his stupid smug face."

Nope. That is not what you say in front of a seven-year-old kid.

I got up. I got a drink of water. I went to the bathroom. When I came back to the living room they were showing the replay of Kyrie's dance. I sat down with Buddy.
"Hey Bud, a minute ago I said someone should punch Kyrie Irving in the face. That's not true. I shouldn't have said that. I was frustrated, but no matter how frustrated you are you shouldn't say that someone should get punched in the face. Do you know why I was frustrated? Because he was dancing and taunting his opponents. It's rude. If you're ever doing really well in a game, don't dance. You can be happy, you can high five your teammates, but don't do things to taunt the other team. And if someone taunts you, or dances, don't think about punching them. Use whatever emotion you have as motivation to do better. Then, if you win, go back to the locker room and dance your butt off. But always show respect for your opponent."
Other than a couple instances of "That's not a foul!" I was well behaved the rest of the game, even as the Warriors let a seven point half time lead slip away. Buddy did implore me to stop begging for coach Steve Kerr to take Anderson Varejao out of the game. Honestly, it was a brutal few minutes for both us. For me because I could see Varejao single handedly losing the game. For him because he had to hear me cry about it.

In the end the Warriors lost the game and the series, and I lost my trip to Oakland. The game ended up being a classic, won by Irving on a shot with just a few seconds left. I apologized to Buddy. I thought he'd be up to see his first championship win. "It's OK dad," he said, "I got to see my first championship game, and I got to stay up and see it with you." And with that he demonstrated that he was already a better sports fan than me, which is what I want for him. We talked about what the game meant for LeBron James and the city of Cleveland. We talked about how that game will likely go down as an all-time classic. With that we started our twenty-four hour mourning period with a hug, a wan grimace, and headed to bed.

Let's get it again next year.



Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Little Boys and Nail Polish: This is Why I'm Moving Back to Berkeley


OK, there are actually a lot of reasons why I'm moving. It's where I'm from. It's where my oldest friends now live with their kids. It's where we have family.

It's also a place where I grew up understanding from a young age that people can and do express themselves in different ways. It's place where I could take art and dance as a kid and not feel weird about it. It's place where I grew up knowing that homosexuality was normal. It's a place that, on the whole, was more accepting and tolerant than any place I've ever lived.

I want that for my kids. It's been tough for us uber-liberal hippy types the last few years. Below is an email my wife sent to out previous day care. The goal isn't to trash the center so I am removing the identifying information. Her email was wonderfully written, and is a great example on how to approach these problems.
"Dear Daycare Director, 
I'm writing to share some feedback about an experience at [Daycare] that is now years old. Since the events I'm sharing are long in the past, I don't expect that any specific immediate action needs to be taken, but since they have had a profound effect on my child I am sharing with you anyway. 
Our son, nicknamed Buddy, attended [Daycare] full-time from 2011 through 2014. He generally had a wonderful time at [Daycare]: had positive experiences, created wonderful memories, and built lasting relationships with both his peers and his caregivers. We were especially grateful that some of those caregiver relationships were very long-standing, as he had one classroom teacher who happened to transition from his Toddler classroom into his Preschool classroom, so the two of them got to know each other very well. 
Our son has always had a flair for self-expression, and during his preschool years he experimented with fashion. Like many young children, he enjoyed decorating himself with nail polish on his nails, barrettes in his hair, and sparkly things everywhere. We knew that this behavior being outside American gender norms, he might come in for some questioning or even bullying from his peers, but we were completely blindsided when we learned that some of this bullying came from his teachers. When I personally heard a teacher saying "Buddy, why are you wearing your sister's barrettes? Those don't belong to you," I made a point to take him shopping for HIS OWN barrettes and show them to that teacher, saying "These are Buddy's barrettes that he picked out for himself, so please don't tell him they don't belong to him. They do." Buddy picked out his own outfit to include a skirt one day (as he had worn to many non-school locations prior to that), and as I dropped him off I was very nearly in tears, afraid about what was going to happen that day. I had a quick conference with his most supportive teacher and asked her to please look out for him that day, and help him if he decided he'd rather change into jeans. He came home still wearing the skirt, but did report that some students and teachers reacted negatively, and he never ever chose to wear that kind of outfit again--not at school or anywhere else. I will never know exactly what was said to him that day, but I have to wonder, since this particular experiment of self-expression didn't phase out or anything... It stopped on a dime that day. 
I am bringing this up now because I had a painful conversation with Buddy last night. He has current classmates who are very insistent about gender norms. Okay, these kids are six and seven years old, so we don't expect them to be particularly enlightened or supportive. But he told me that he doesn't like nail polish anymore (true--he has steadfastly refused all nail art for three years) because "Ms. S" asked him if he was a girl when he wore nail polish to preschool once. Ms. S was his teacher who worked with him for years at [Daycare]. He then proceeded to say to me, "She told me I can't have nail polish on my fingers and then she made me take off my shoes and socks to see if I had any on my toes. She made me feel embarrassed!" A [Daycare] teacher ordered a child to take off items of his clothing, in front of his peers, in order to shame him about a completely innocuous decoration. 
"She made me feel embarrassed" is a devastatingly understated way for a seven-year-old to describe his own public humiliation, isn't it?

So I'm writing to you with this new information, not because I'm requesting any formal discipline or any specific actions at all--just because I feel that you need to know that this happened at the hands of your staff. The one request I'll make of you is that you respond to this information with a promise, to me and Buddy's father, not to let it happen again to any other child in [Daycare]'s care.
Thank you so much for always having been responsive to my concerns over the years. Despite this disappointing experience, we have a lot of love for all our friends at [Daycare]."
Later in the day we received this response from the day care director. 
"Good afternoon, 
I'm so sorry to hear that this happen to our wonderful Buddy.  I'm just sick to find out that a caregiver here at [Daycare] left devastating effect on Buddy's life.  I'm glad you are bringing this to my attention because I this can now change what's happening in our facility because every child need to feel valued.  Please be reassured that I'm going address this matter with all my staff because children need to feel valued in all their choices. Again, thanks for giving us the opportunity to be a part of your children's lives and if  there is anything I can do to help just let me know and I will be there for you and your family."

The response helped, but as my wife said to me later, "I'm tired of having to fight these battles on his behalf."

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Birthday Parties are a Waste of Money

I've seen it firsthand. I've been right in the thick of things, surrounded by chaos. The screaming, the crying, the damage done to person and property.
I was a birthday party entertainer. 
For two years during college I worked for a company that provided edutainment science programs for kids in after school programs, summer camps, and birthday parties. For two years I put on the same show three to six times each weekend as I drove all over the Los Angeles area in a 1989 Civic with no A/C.
In that time I saw everything. From families who had likely saved all year to hire me as a treat for their kid, to lavish spectacles where I was one of several acts and felt lost in the shuffle. I was often paired with, or pitted against, some sort of inflatable structure. Some parents were engaged in the show, others used it as a time to grab a drink and chat with friends. That's how I once ended up being the only one to notice a bouncy house full of children tipping over and deflating. I sprinted across the yard and pulled eight kids out of the rapidly collapsing 500 pounds of PVC before anyone came to help out. Still, I realized I had it easy when I left a party with Batman and Buttercup the Power Puff Girl. When Batman got around the corner to his car he removed his rubber cowl and so much sweat poured out it looked like he had dumped a bucket of water over his head. The guy in the Buttercup costume didn't seem to be doing much better. By comparison my teased out half-fro and lab coat seemed like a blessing.
Even as I was doing it I couldn't believe that this was a thing. Hiring from our company wasn't cheap, and of course there were up-sells and add-ons on top of the base price. I was paid for each performance, plus tips, which I relied on. Whether I was treated like a star or an after thought I knew I wouldn't have a version of me at my kids' future parties. As much as I appreciated being able to pay my way through school on the wallets of these families I think it was a waste of money. Becoming a parent has only hardened my resolve. Parties at gyms, bouncy places, or climbing establishments run $250 and up in my area. No way my friend. I bristle at spending more than $50 for snacks, there's no way I'm buying trampolines and pizza for twenty.


I'm not a total party pooper. It's just that I still believe in the power of the old school parties we had growing up, at home. My two oldest children have birthdays five days apart. For them we have one party on the closest weekend to their birthdays. This way all their friends can come over and destroy my house once and I'm done for the year. For a couple years we prepared activities for the kids. Once our kids chose to perform a play for their guests. Over the years we've found that the activity is usually ignored in favor of just running around the house, or the yard (or the house and the yard). The last party involved half the guests grabbing light sabers and muskets and waging war on an imagined enemy, while the other half sang karaoke into a purse/boom box. Other times we've simply rolled some balls out in to the yard, or helped the kids make super hero capes. The point is, kids don't need a bunch of froo-frah to have a good time. All kids really need are some friends and enough space to roam around. And cake, kids go ape for that stuff. Our home and park based parties are enough. My kids have never asked for anything else.
RMSHeroParty
Super Hero Party
I get that there are different families with different needs. Some people have more money than time and would rather not have a gaggle of rug rats run through their showpiece homes. Some people just hate cleaning up. For us, a single income family with a stay at home parent, we'd rather spend that $250 on a season of dance lessons, or art classes, or sports dues and equipment. Hell, you'd be better off putting that money in a 529 plan and giving it to them when they're eighteen. Elaborate birthday parties are a waste. I don't think most kids really care all that much, and I'm not willing to get caught up in keeping up with someone else's lifestyle. I'm lucky that my kids feel the same way. Besides, why hire entertainment to occupy them while I grab a beverage with the other parents, when they can entertain each other for free?
Capes

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Guesting on the Uncle Nacho Podcast

Me, Uncle Nacho and Grandma Yo
There are potential big moves going on here at IDL headquarters and I haven't been free to write much here lately. I'll be excited to reveal all that's been happening as it closes in on being released, but for now I'm excited to share my recent appearance on the Uncle Nacho podcast.

Full disclosure, Jiro Ignacio Palmieri aka "Uncle Nacho" is my younger brother. He's been involved audio, media, and radio for a few years now. He had a radio show in the San Francisco bay area on KPOO radio. Now he hosts the Uncle Nacho podcast, which "examines the intersections between sports, politics, art, and culture." The interview is a great overview of how I came to lead An Interdisciplinary Life and what that's meant for me. It's sort of this whole site here compressed into an hour of story telling. So if you've enjoyed reading IDL think of this as IDL on the go, a chance to get your Berto time and also do dishes.

This is part one of our interview. In this episode I talk about going to elementary school as a vagabond in Europe for a year and comparing it to American public schools. We discuss racial identity, how flipping over a white water raft full of Deaf kids led me to a career as an interpreter, my dad teaching me how to make a zip gun, and the creation of "Your Mom is So Berkeley." We also touch on alternative educational paths, growing up with a single mother, and a Berkeley High School legacy I had totally forgotten about. Within all of that we do indeed intertwine sports, arts, and culture.

If you scroll down past the embedded podcast there's some expanded info on things we didn't have answers to during the podcast.
 

There was a question that came up about how my family ended up in Chicago. I asked the branch of the family that stayed in Chicago and got a great response relating to Japanese American history. From my cousins Midori, Vince, and Rea who are all amazing artists and writers. The block below is edited together from their responses to my question.

Because jobs and housing weren't available to Japanese Americans post WWII on the west coast a Japanese community developed in Chicago around that time probably to support each other. Vince and his wife were in Hattiesburg Mississippi and they heard there was more work in Chicago for JAs (editor’s note: Vince is my grandma Yoshiko’s brother). Also, the American government had already taken our family’s home and real estate. They came up and settled in Hyde Park/South Side along with many other friends from camp and Hattiesburg. Hattiesburg was the home of the 442nd all Japanese Battalion. I'm not sure what Vince's first job was in Chicago before he became photo editor at Playboy. He only moved back to California once his job made that available to him. Yoshiko must have joined them at some point.

The folks who ran the camps were mostly liberal, though their good intentions generally did as much harm as good. They had an idea that you could solve racism by sending JAs out of camps into areas away from the West Coast, a few at a time and that they'd be accepted and assimilated if they kept apart from other JAs. This was obviously a terrible idea because (1) segregation wasn't a choice and (2) you try living among people who hate you without allies. So, there were serious programs to resettle folks out of camp, but the ones who left had to create new communities. The largest migration was to Chicago, which was possibly the most important JA city for a couple of years after the war, before everyone who hadn't made a stake there pretty much decided to go back to the West Coast. I think Larry's (another of Yoshiko’s brothers) JACL ties also meant a lot--there were some serious divisions among JAs about how to respond to incarceration and I suspect going to Chicago probably said something about you/your family.
Thanks for reading and listening. If you have any other unresolved questions from the interview let me know in the comments. I'll post the second part of the interview when it becomes available.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Suicide and Survivor's Guilt

One of the few times we were all together after my first birthday.
There are aspects of life that highlight the contrast between the things you know and the things you feel. There are trivial ones, like sports fan superstitions, and then there's things like coping with suicide. It's common for the people left behind to carry guilt. We feel like we should have been able to do something. If only we'd seen it coming, if we'd called, said something, answered the phone, whatever it is we feel we should have been able to do to prevent it. We feel this way even though it's probably not true. It's not our fault. It's the difference between what we know and what we feel.
My uncle committed suicide shortly before I was born. As long as I've been a conscious person I've been aware that people sometimes kill themselves. It became part of the backdrop of my life, something that was always a possibility. When I was twenty a friend hung himself in the stairwell of my house. We always believed that the 15 bedroom house was so big, and busy at all hours, that he expected to stopped. Or he was making a statement. Either way, I didn't feel guilty, or angry. It was just something that happened. We all knew that the way we lived as adolescents, some of us weren't going to make it to adulthood. I didn't blame my friend, I knew there was something wrong inside him that he couldn't control.
My dad was different. I had been married a few months when I came home and found a police officer's business card stuck in my screen door. It was the coroner's office. They wanted me to come identify the body. I was a thirty-year-old orphan. It wasn't fair. Not just that he'd died, but that he'd lived as long as he had, while my mom died of cancer at 54. My mother did everything "right." She was vegetarian, a swimmer, she drank her one glass of wine. She raised me. 
My dad was the opposite. He wasn't around when I was a kid. At one point I hadn't heard from him in so long that I started telling people he had died. Growing up in the South Bronx projects, he was at times a gang member, a heroine addict and an alcoholic. He claimed he'd been shot once. He didn't eat well or exercise. But he was indestructible. I was six-years-old when he first beat cancer. He lost a lung that time. At twelve I came home one night and found him comatose from vodka and pills. My senior year of college he did it again, they told me he wouldn't live through the weekend. I was told that four weeks in a row before I stopped driving the 400 miles home on Fridays. They later found him wandering the ICU looking for cigarettes. He'd woken up from an induced coma, pulled out all the tubes, and set about finding some smokes. That's also when he beat cancer the second time. They'd found he had prostate cancer but didn't treat it until they knew he'd recover from the pneumonia.
In later years he survived diabetes and a car accident that destroyed his car and lost him his license. By 2008 he was losing his sight and a foot. We had been in touch sporadically over the years, trying to repair a broken past. I wasn't as attentive as I could have been in the year after my mother passed. I was also newly married and we were waiting out the three months before telling people we were expecting a baby. We were three days from the big announcement when I found the card in my door.
I could have called him earlier and told him he was going to be a grandfather. I still can't shake the feeling that I might have been able to give him something to live for. After every incident my dad would say, "Nothing can kill me. I'm from the Bronx." He was right. The only thing that could end his life was his own desire to die. I don't know if he was depressed about our fractured relationship, or if he was weary of his rapidly deteriorating body. Maybe it was a quality of life issue. Maybe staying alive for his grandson would have been a burden rather than a relief. The problem with suicide is you rarely get answers. None of the four suicides that have touched my life have involved a note. Without one no matter how much I know I couldn't have changed it, I feel like I might have.
I didn't know my dad well at the end of his life. I did love him. I do miss him. I miss having that link to my childhood. I miss being able to compare my son to myself at the same age. I have no one now who can tell me if he's just like me. To this day, no matter how much I read to the contrary, I carry the guilt of not having done enough to save him.
It's not my fault. It's not yours either.