One Year Later

For a few days I’ve racked my brain on what to post today. I wanted something special. Something symbolic and fitting of a year that’s passed since Jax died.

But there is no magic idea to make us all feel better today. It’s a day I have to let happen. I can’t just get through it. I have to be present as it takes place. I have to shed the tears, feel my heart squish in my chest and my stomach ache. Numbing the pain with distractions is temporary.

Tonight we’ll come together not just to remember Jax, because we remember him constantly. But to experience today together. To hug, laugh, cry and be present.

One year. It’s been both the shortest and longest year of my life, at the same time. I can’t believe it’s already been a year since it happened. But I feel like it’s been a life time since I heard his voice, gazed into his gorgeous eyes, held him in my arms, kissed his head and jumped in to his infectious passion.

I miss you, Jax.

I LOVE you,


Below is a slideshow. No idea how this will work for you mobile users.

Shattered Faith, Part I

This is going to be weird. I’m going to open up about some stuff that will make you judge my faith, my strength, my mental/emotional stability and question whether you will keep reading this site, or even talk to me without looking at me differently. I just ask that you read with an open mind, without judgement and with love.

Faith, shattered.

Faith, shattered.

When Jax died everything changed. I used to pray every morning in the shower. Almost every single day I’d end by asking for God’s protection for my wife and kids. I prayed the same thing on June 24 when Jax died. On June 25 I stopped praying.

What’s the point? I was just wasting my breath. You know when your spouse gets so mad at you that they ignore you for a couple of days? That was me towards God. Except it lasted months. He was around, but I didn’t want to talk to him. I know, we live in a broken world, yadda yadda yadda. Shit happens. I didn’t care. I was beyond pissed. Now, I know there’s human element involved with life and death, and consequences occur, and it’s not all on God. I’m not discounting any of that. But if He can’t protect my kid, then what’s the point of any of this?

A few days after he died, or after the memorial service – I don’t remember which – I started to question heaven’s existence. What if there is no heaven? Will I ever see my boy again? I grew up in a Christian family and attended a non-demotional Christian church all of my life. I was raised to believe that you died and went to heaven if you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. What if the Bible is just a book of mythological stories, and when we die, nothing happens? I felt alone. Everything I believed in before 6/24 shattered like a glass bowl on the kitchen tile. Tiny shards shot every which way and I’m walking barefoot trying to pick up the pieces. But it hurts. I keep stepping on the shards. I’m bleeding. And I’m overwhelmed.

Thirst for Knowledge

I started to read Heaven Is for Real in which an evangelical pastor writes about his 4-year-old son’s encounter with heaven while undergoing emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix. It didn’t help. Call me skeptical, but it’s written by a pastor. As much as I wanted to believe it’s all true, he has too much to gain from a great story that sells.

My therapist recommended 90 Minutes in Heaven, a book written by a man who displayed no signs of life to EMTs for 90 minutes following a brutal car wreck. Some of his accounts of heaven were completely different from the kid’s in Heaven Is for Real. But I guess a grown man won’t see a rainbow-colored horse in heaven or a pink-jeweled crown on Jesus’ head.

I bought a third book, To Heaven and Back, which chronicles an orthopaedic surgeon who nearly drowned following a kayak accident and her experience in heaven. I don’t even know where it is.

Found Peace

And then I found comfort in an unexpected place. I felt peace for the first time in months. Peace that I would see Jax soon and that he was still with me. Peace that he is okay and in God’s hands. I’ll explain more about that unexpected place soon.

The “Christiany” thing is to seek God’s comfort and know that Jax is with Him, he’s safe and the Bible tells us I’ll see him again. But remember, I’m still picking up those sharp pieces of faith on my kitchen floor. I’m pissed at God that this happened. Or perhaps my faith was never strong enough to begin with?

Rebuilding Faith

I’m back to speaking with God. Not as often as I used to, but those lines of communication, at least on my end, are open again. The line on his end was always free. I’m sure of it. This morning I prayed that if this unexpected source of comfort is of His will, that I may have peace with it. I still doubt whether it is, because really, it’s weird to me, too.

Tomorrow (hopefully) I’ll explain WTF I’m talking about. In the meantime, if you pray, pray for my wife and I tonight, even though you don’t know what you’re praying for. Things will get weirder tomorrow. I promise.



Dreaming of the Sea

Written by Gordon Livingston

Written by Gordon Livingston

My therapist loaned me a book from author Gordon Livingston entitled Only Spring, based on the journal he kept after the news of his 6-year-old son’s diagnosis with leukemia and ultimately the agonizing cycle of faith lost and hope gained.

I’m in the faith lost part of it all in my life and I’ve forgotten the definition of hope. I mentioned my blog to my therapist so she told me about Livingston’s book. It seemed like a good fit on multiple levels. It only took the foreword to inspire me to share.

Written by author Mark Helprin – educated at Harvard, Princeton and Oxford and served in the Israeli Army, Israeli Air Force and British Merchant Navy – the foreword hit a nerve. It struck my longing to clutch Jax tightly once again.

Whether Lucas (Livingston’s son) rose into a world of light or was taken with a roar into waves of speeding darkness as if into the deep ocean, he went alone. The way I see it, he is either clasped tightly to the breast of God, or there is no God. One way or another, he has given his father, and in some respects all of us, a great gift. He has made death a prospect of fulfillment, an excitement, for what greater need is there but to find the lost child, or at least to chance that one may find him? If you were on a ship battered by immense waves (and, believe me, you are) that swept your child from your arms would you not (given that you had no others for whom to remain) throw yourself into the deep, hoping for the chance that in the vast black ocean you might grab onto him? Comforted just to know that you would suffer the same fate?

And if you had to remain, to protect others, would you not dream all your life of the day when, your responsibilities over, you would finally get to the sea?

I’ve mentioned before in this space that my wife and I no longer fear death, and Helprin’s words explain exactly how I feel. For now, we’re here to protect our twins. But I will dream every day of hitting that sea and feeling his little hands in mine again.

CHOC Walk 2013: Iron Jax returns

Iron Jax

Children’s Hospital of Orange County announced that the 23rd annual CHOC Walk in the Park will take place Sunday, October 13, 2013. Per CHOC’s email:

This year’s CHOC Walk in the Park promises a day of wonder and excitement as we kick off on Main Street U.S.A. and stroll through Disneyland®, the Disney California Adventure Park® and cross the finish line in Downtown Disney® District. After the Walk visit our sponsors at the Walk Festival and enjoy breakfast at one of the many great restaurants in the Downtown Disney® District.

Last year my wife and I (mostly my wife) threw together a team just six weeks before the Walk and raised $10,565.47 dollars to support CHOC. The turn out was amazing, so we’re going to do it again this year.

Walker and team registration will be available in June. You can sign up for the organization’s Facebook page or return here for news on team Iron Jax.

For those of you that don’t know, Jax passed away at CHOC’S pediatric intensive care unit. The entire staff was so compassionate to us and treated us with so much respect that this is our little way to give back to the hospital and the community.

Ice Cream, Woody and Consignment – How Was Your Weekend?


I’m notorious for falling asleep while driving. I’ve caused two rear-end accidents as a result of nodding off. Coincidentally, insane traffic on the 261 toll road in Orange County helped me ram both vehicles at about the same spot – just beyond the sensor at the peak of the hill if you know the area. The last occurrence was about eight years ago.

My commute home Friday almost snapped that streak. Fortunately I opened my eyes soon enough to slam on my brakes just before impacting that large pick-up truck. F me.

My wife picked some things up at the store after the twins went to bed and surprised me with Baskin Robbins. She got me baseball nut. It’s one of those quirky things I’ve liked since I was a kid. It’s seasonal for the baseball season, or at least used to be, with vanilla ice cream, cashews and a black raspberry ribbon. And it’s fanfuckingtastic.

Baskin Robbins' Baseball Nut.

Baskin Robbins’ Baseball Nut.


T-ball class seems less and less of an adventure every week. Gray and Ellie’s attention is slowly improving (I emphasize the slow). But we’re used to Jax. He didn’t care about water breaks. He wasn’t running away from me in the outfield. And he knew where first base was.

Gray’s been begging to watch “Buzz and Woody” for a bit, so I told him when it got dark we could watch Toy Story 3 as the wife worked. He and Ellie grabbed their Woody and Jessie dolls and settled on the couch for movie night. I pecked away on the iPad nearby and joined them for the last ten minutes. And cried like a baby.

I last saw the film in the theater when it was released in the summer of 2010. My wife and I took Jax as he was obsessed with Toy Story at the time. He sat on my lap and didn’t budge the entire time. He was in awe. I bawled my eyes out then, too, but this was different. When Andy dropped his box of toys off at Bonnie’s house the whole thing thing reminded me of Jax. How he used to want “Andy” written on the bottom of his cowboy boots. It reminded me of his own super imagination.

And when Bonnie and her mom go inside the house and the toys sit up to watch Andy drive off to college, it symbolized Jax leaving this earth. Leaving my world. The achy heart I buried clawed itself out of the ground like a Friday the 13th movie, pried my mouth open, jumped inside and was stuck in my throat.

Ellie was sitting against my stomach and looked up and back at me.

“Daddy sad?” she asked. She’s used to this. She’s used to looking at sadness. I confirmed and she turned back to the TV to watch the credits.

Woody and friends watch Andy drive off to college.

Woody and friends watch Andy drive off to college.


The twins and I left my wife alone to sleep for a few hours. We went to church and discovered the closing date will be May 12. Afterwards I made the mistake of letting them walk (while holding my hand) in Target to pick up some packing tape. Holy crap was that a bad idea. Ellie turned into a 14-year-old and refused to hold my hand and Gray at one point shrilled in my ear because I picked him up. There was mass chaos.

After finally returning home and getting them to nap, I wrote my first post for Bugs & Cranks, which you can find here.

After the wife woke up we drove out to Huntington Beach to drop off items we’re selling at the Urban Kids Consignment sale next weekend. If you or a friend are looking for good deals on used clothes, toys or other accessories for children, you should hit it up. I can’t speak for all of the items, but what we’re selling is in great condition.

When we left, Ellie kept yelling at me from her car seat for a restaurant. That’s just kind of how she communicates now. She’ll yell. It’s super fun. We landed at Red Lobster. Toward the end of our meal I felt a strong tap on my left shoulder. I turned around to find an elderly woman, roughly 80, right in my face.

“You better watch out for that one,” she said. My mind scrambled. The hell is she talking about? “He’s been flirting with me the whole time.”

It’s Gray. Okay, phew. No one’s in trouble.

“He definitely likes the ladies,” I replied with an uncomfortable grin.

At home, my wife asked Gray about girls at the restaurant. He muttered “pretty”. I had no idea he knew that word. Then I thought of that elderly woman. Gray likes cougars. Beware, ladies.

Fireworks, Resumes and Shit…How was Your Weekend?


My buddy Sam hit me up with two extra suite tickets for Friday’s Angel game against the Tigers, courtesy of his lovely new bride’s employer. My wife had a rare Friday night off of work so we dumped the twins at my parents, drove through Del Taco and joined 5,000 other cars trying to enter the Angel Stadium parking lot.

Angels Stadium suite

Angels Stadium suite

Did you know there is a parking lot solely for Lexus vehicles? It’s fucking awesome. We rolled right up in their Lexus and parked away from those dirty, classless Ford, Honda and Hyundai’s. Peasant pigs.

Our view from the Angel Stadium suite.

Our view from the Angel Stadium suite.

Torii Hunter returned to Anaheim for the first time since leaving the Angels this past winter as a free agent. Hunter is Jax’s favorite player. My odd brain often wonders how Jax would have handled the news that Hunter left the Angels. I’m confident he wouldn’t have cried. Short of Captain America leaving Marvel to “find himself” in a temple on a South American mountain, Jax wasn’t going to cry about anything. But would he just like Torii on the Tigers now, or pick a new Angels favorite?

Big Bang Fireworks

Big Bang Fireworks

We were still walking to our suite seats when Hunter came to bat. Angel fans gave him a warm standing ovation, Hunter scored the only Tigers run and the Angels won the first of three games against Detroit. And as they do every Friday night for Big Bang Fireworks Night, the Angels organization treated us to a show.


Ellie's coach is a big dude.

Ellie’s coach is a big dude.

Gray and Ellie played their first t-ball game as Team Black against the dastardly Team Burgundy. Ellie broke out of the statue act from last week and had a good hit in her second at-bat and flashed grit and a gun in the field. Gray, meanwhile, stroked two hard ground balls up the middle and refused to wear a glove while playing first base. He even chased down grandma for a water break in middle of an inning.

Breathe, Seth, breathe.

While the twins “napped” I tweaked resumes and cover letters and applied to three jobs. The Fortune 100 insurance company I work for decided to centralize its operations and our charming Ontario office is closing in August. Dopamine shot through my body from the sense of accomplishment. But that will fade fast when no one calls.


My church is closing within the next three weeks as a result of financial difficulty. My parents left a mega church in the ’80s to follow a friend and pastor who established the church I grew up in. At this church I:

  • Broke out of my shy shell in my early teens
  • Met the girl I kissed for the first time
  • Met some of my best friends
  • Met my wife
  • Had the pastor marry my wife and I
  • Had my children dedicated

Jax’s memorial service was held at this church. It’s the only church he ever knew. It’s the last place I saw his physical body. He was breaking out of his shy shell here, too. This church body has showed so much love and support to my family I know I will never feel again. What breaks my heart the most is not having that same support to surround Gray and Ellie. I’m on the verge of sobbing as a type this. The more I think about it, the more I can’t handle it. I sensed it coming, and I thought I’d be okay with it. But I’m totally not. 

At night, as my wife prepped herself for a night at the hospital, I took Gray and Ellie to my parents for dinner. First we met at a baseball field for some t-ball practice. I had this fantastic idea that letting them run around on a real field with bases and grandma and granpda and no other distractions would increase their short attention span. But that backfired. They had more fun using plastic bats as telescopes in the dugout.

But then something strange happened. Something eye opening. Gray grabbed a small soccer ball some friends gave the twins out of the bag of bats and wiffle balls. He started kicking it around, moving from the first base side out into left field. He dribbled the entire time. And he dribbled like he’s been doing this for a while.

Neither my wife or I like soccer. Neither of us played as a child and we don’t push the sport, so his performance today is completely natural. Which means I’ll probably spend my 40’s driving him to club matches (games or matches? WTF SOCCER!) throughout Southern California every single weekend. Shit.



A Brick in My Foundation of Support

After Jax died, people came out of the woodwork to give. Old friends from high school, acquaintances I forgot about and people I’ve never met scribbled cards, sent flowers and gifted money. The beauty of the human spirit wrapped us in a tight embrace when we needed it most. It was completely touching for us.

But a group of men I’ve never met in person stepped up in a shockingly, thoughtful way that touched me deeply with something I love – Angels baseball.

In 1998 I started a computer Strat-O-Matic 20-team baseball league with three friends. Remember, I’m a big baseball nerd. The four of us drafted players, traded for better ones and competed against seventeen computer teams in a 162-game season. Gradually the league expanded to 24 teams and other “human” owners settled in to run franchises in our Westside League.

The league is now in its 16th season of play. Owners have come and gone, leaving due to increased job responsibilities, a new addition to the family or lack of interest. But quite a few of today’s owners have participated in the league for several years. And while we only know each other from the internet, some of us have developed deep friendships as we mix in stories from our personal life between a brainstorm of mock rookie drafts, battling for a World Series championship and busting each other’s balls when our players start to suck in real life.

Led by Steve Jack – the league’s webmaster, my right-hand man and all around pot stirrer – this group of men put together funds and surprised me with an Angels jersey with “Jax” and the number 08 on the back, indicative of his birth year.

They also purchased a personalized brick that rests outside the front of Angels Stadium between the two large helmets. On the ground is a pitcher’s mound designed into the brick layout, and to the right of the mound lies the brick.

My buddy Ian and I set off to find the brick last night. It was opening night at Angels Stadium and we had tickets in our usual season seats in Section 240, Row A. But first, we needed to fuel up.

Greasy Del Taco quesadilla

Greasy Del Taco quesadilla

We hit up Del Taco for a quick bite before parking in our usual spot near Chapman and Eckhoff in Orange and hiking our usual trail under the 57 freeway overpass, over the Santa Ana riverbed and into the stadium’s parking lot. That’s my quesadilla. No, I didn’t spill water on it. It was that greasy. Now that’s impressive, even for Del Taco.

The packed stadium buzzed with anticipation and hope of an Angels season that will bleed into an October playoff run.The usual pomp and circumstances filled the outfield prior to the game, which turned out to be a crapfest for Angels fans.

Panoramic shot from our seats at Angels Stadium on Opening Day

Panoramic shot from our seats at Angels Stadium on Opening Day

Prior to taking our seats Ian and I scoured the bricked infield in search for the Westside League’s gift. All proceeds of the Angels Brick Program go to the Angels Baseball Foundation, which helps fund local and national youth organizations aimed at creating and improving youth programs in education, healthcare, arts and sciences.

Ian finally spotted the brick, which read his name and “Always Loved”. Jax’s interest in the Angels really started to pick up as he turned three. He sported an Angels hat or t-shirt often and his favorite player was Torii Hunter.

Always Loved brick

Always Loved brick

Four days before he died we went to a game with my wife’s family to celebrate Father’s Day with her grandpa. We had such a fun night as a family and Jax especially enjoyed watching a game from a baseball standpoint for the first time, and not just taking in the stimulation around him. We have a large canvassed photo in our living room of the five of us on that night. The brick memento ties together perfectly my love for the Angels, my love for Jax and my wish that he always be remembered.

The relationships I’ve built with these faceless baseball fans means more to me than my Boston Chowderheads winning another World Series. While it’s a virtual baseball world, we live real lives. And the support we’re able to offer each other in tragedy, sickness and the valleys of life make all the hours put in to run the league more than worthwhile.

Thank you Steve Jack and the Westside League.