De Facto

De facto: (adj) actually existing, especially when without lawful authority

There aren’t enough moms and dads in the world for all the children born to this planet.

Mainly, some of these folks who could have filled the job became weary in well-doing and fainted from the responsibility.

On this Father’s Day, I was hooked up on a Zoom call with all my “children.”

I actually fathered five boys.

One of them was killed through a hit-and-run car accident, and one was lost through a miscarriage.

But along with my three “birthers,” three other young men crossed my path. They were in the clutches of a father who was ill-suited for the position, and in danger of passing the destruction in his own life into theirs.

I had a choice.

Was I going to intervene and help the mother of these children escape the bondage, and welcome them into my household?

Or was I going to keep my nose to myself and continue my journey with my own offspring?

Life is having the humility to know that you’re insufficient while living in the arrogance of “what the hell.”

Because if you’re humble all the time, you will passively talk yourself out of anything that isn’t red-letter law. And if you’re just arrogant, without humility, you become just like the father who brought these children into peril.

So today, as I talked to these now-grown men who passed through my house, who now have families of their own, I recognize that I have become “de facto Dad” to a whole horde of people over time.

Maybe in a perfect world, they should have been with their biological parents, but since perfect never shows up…

 I did my best impersonation.


Autopsy: (n) a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease.

The State of Washington demanded that an autopsy be performed on anyone who died suddenly.dictionary with letter A

It’s a good rule.

But when my thirteen-year-old child passed away from viral pneumonia and we were touring through the state, it seemed arduous, painful and intrusive.

My son’s name was Joshua. He had been hit and run by a car six years earlier, leaving him with a severe brain injury, in a vegetative state.

No one is ever ready for such a responsibility.

We did our best–but after six years, his body began to wear out, giving up its purpose.

Perhaps better care givers could have sustained his inertia, but when he developed pneumonia, the doctors suggested we refrain from heroic measures and let nature take its course.

Given only antibiotics and fluids, he passed away in less than twelve hours.

The State of Washington was not suspicious of our care. The autopsy was just a necessary step to confirm the absence of foul play.

Three weeks later, after Joshie was long entombed, I received the coroner’s report in the mail.

It was fascinating.

It told a story we did not know.

It told us about a little boy who was fatally struck down in the street and possibly should have gone on to his Maker that evening, but because of the advances of medicine, was able to be sustained without being healed.

His brain showed no signs of cognitive activity and his little body was wracked with the evidence of much pain. His organs had shrunk and he was more or less a living experiment.

My mind flashed back to the six years we carried him around, whispered in his ears, hugged him, kissed his face and desperately tried to feed nourishment into his body.

Was he aware of any of it?

Was there any spirit left to retrieve kindness?

I don’t know.

For you see, an autopsy doesn’t report that. 

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Thank you for enjoying Words from Dic(tionary) —  J.R. Practix




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