Happy 11th Birthday, Jax

Kristina and Phoenix just walked out the door to deliver cupcakes topped with little plastic dinosaurs to the preschool that Jax went to. His teacher remembers him every year on his birthday, and her and her class sing happy birthday to him.

The baby (we don’t really call him much other than that) is napping, and Gray and Ellie are at school.

“Watch that video while we’re at school,” Gray told me while putting his pants on this morning.

It took a bit for me to register what video he was talking about.

“Oh, you mean Jax’s video?” I asked, referring to the slide show of photos and short that was shown at his funeral.

That was the one.

“You don’t want to see me cry?” I said.

He does not. I told him I won’t watch it in front of him. Truthfully, it’s been a while since I’ve watched the video. But I think it’s time for Phoenix to see it and get to know his big brother. The little guy is very excited to go see dinosaurs today at the Los Angeles Natural History Museum.

All weekend he’s alternated between having dinosaurs fight to the death in his room and then apologize to each other in sweet, innocent toddler voices and playing with a figure that Kristina and I have named Scuba Steve. It’s a plastic scuba diver he got from the Aquarium of the Pacific. He thinks that the scuba diver swims up in the air, so he says that’s what he wants to do. He plays with him while wearing swimming goggles, and he asks for flippers.

But P’s excitement today makes me excited to experience it with him. It’s somewhat softened the blow of an emotional day. In a couple of hours I’ll wrap up work, we’ll pick up the kids and head out to LA. And, as always, we’ll meet up with family for dinner at Ruby’s Diner to be together.

I’ve stopped trying to figure out what Jax would be like as an 11-year-old. It’s too hard. I mean, I have my hopes. I hope he’d be kicking everyone’s ass in baseball and playing fantasy football with me and serving as my assistant general manager for my Strat-o-Matic baseball team. I hope he’d still love puzzles and dinosaurs. I hope he’d be a protective, loving and teaching big brother to Gray and Ellie. But then I realize these hopes are impossible dreams, and pain sets in.

My hope today is for a peaceful, loving day together as a family remembering Jax, honoring him by doing the things we know he loved.

If you think about it today, do a puzzle. Watch Jurassic Park. Grab a shake at Ruby’s. And smile when you think of our little man.

Happy Birthday, Jax. My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Love you,


The One Where We Finally Choose a Name

We did it, guys. We chose a name before discharge day. Without a poll.

But before I share the name, let’s review some ideas that didn’t quite make it to the final list.

*These are in fact legit ideas suggested by myself or the wife (mostly myself)

  • Wally (Walter)
  • Boone
  • Knox
  • William
  • Cohen
  • Quentin
  • Brooks

Enough of that. And the name is…………

Hendrix Asher. Yes, if you recall from Baby Name Watch of 2016, we chose Phoenix over Hendrix for the symbolism. This time around, nothing leap-frogged Hendrix for us, although Asher was close. So instead, the runner-up, which we love for the meaning (below) and tie-in to Phoenix’s symbolism (rising from the ashes), becomes the middle name.

And I think we’re going to call him Ash. Of course, we also thought we’d call Phoenix “Finn”, and here we are two years later, calling him P all the time. So we’ll see what happens.

Ash and wife are both doing well. The pediatrician said he looks great, and an echocardiogram cleared Ash of any heart concerns, which there was during the pregnancy. They’ll get another full day in the hospital Wednesday, and then we’ll bring him home Thursday, where the reality of having four kids in the home will smack us right in the nose.

Love you all,


In Case You Didn’t Know

The wife is pregnant. I realize this is the first time I’ve posted the news in this space. Kristina posted it on her Instagram and Facebook accounts a while back and tagged me, but unless you stalk my feed or have seen her within the last six months, this may be news to you.

In fact, she’s so pregnant that the c-section is tomorrow morning at 9:30. It’s a boy. We don’t have a name picked (shocking, huh?). Ellie is pretty excited, Gray is less than excited and Phoenix just wants to name him Chewbacca.

This pregnancy has had a couple of concerns, but from what we’re now told, baby boy appears to be healthy as can be. We’re looking forward to getting the sucker in our arms about this time tomorrow, and then we can breathe easier.

I don’t plan on posting a live blog, like I did with Phoenix’s birth, as the WordPress app sucked. But I will be posting on Instagram @sethtearz and Facebook throughout the day with meaningful updates or trivial silliness.

Love you all,


The First Sunday Since

I woke up Saturday morning at 3:30. It wasn’t on purpose. I had to pee and grab a drink of water. When I lied back down, I wasn’t sleepy. Typically, this isn’t a problem for me. But this wasn’t a typical morning. It’s a day I was dreading. And, mostly because of that, I never did get back to sleep outside of 20 minutes before the twins woke me up a little after 8.

Jax died on a hot, sun-filled Sunday. Yesterday was the first June 24 that was a Sunday since he died six years ago. It was definitely sunny, and mostly hot. And I was dreading all of it. I didn’t want to pretend to be okay, and I really didn’t want to have to talk to anybody.

I managed to wear enough of a smiley face once we arrived at Angel Stadium, and it helped to watch the kids play at the Family Sunday zone before the game as friends and family snuck some shade under a tree and listened to mediocre kid-bop cover songs of some decent artists.

Soon it became a place of warmth (not just because it was hot), positivity and love. It wasn’t anything that was said or done. It was just loved ones, being with us in support, all together in whatever each of us were feeling – and not doing it alone.

I’m continually overwhelmed by the amount of love and support everyone has, continues to, and will give us as we continue to mourn the loss of Jax. I get lost in my own junk, and it clouds my vision of what’s real and what’s imporant, and it’s a day like yesterday that helps me to see and feel what is real, and what matters.

I love you all. My family loves you. And thank you.

Jax Remembrance 6/24/18 – Angel Stadium


Just a quick note that Jax’s remembrance this year will return to Angel Stadium, as the Angels host the Toronto Blue Jays for a 1 P.M. game on Sunday, June 24.

Tickets are $16 and the seats will be in the shade. However, seats are getting low in the section we want, so I need to know by Sunday, May 6, if you want seats. Please let me know how many. You can reach out to Kristina or myself to RSVP.

Thank you for your continued love and support of our family as we remember Jaxson forever.

Happy 10th Birthday, Jax

Last week, Kristina text me that National Puzzle Day is today, January 29. She came across a link about silly days of recognition. For example, February 5 is Chocolate Fondue Day. Go wild, people.


Jax loved puzzles. He started young, and enjoyed them up until the time he left us. At 3 he was assembling 100-piece puzzles. He had a distinct pose when he was in his puzzle zone – one knee on the floor, one knee up at his chest, with laser-like focus.

After the pool party the day he died, Jax was supposed to clean his room. Toys and puzzles covered the floor of his room, including the one below, which we’ve framed. IMG_0417

For today – Jax’s birthday – to be recognized as National Puzzle Day blows my mind. Puzzles were such a piece of him that we’ll always remember (sorry for the bad pun).

Today we’ll spend his birthday like we always do. We’ll drop off dinosaur cupcakes to his beloved preschool teacher and her class. We’ll pick the twins up early from school and head out to the National History Museum to explore the dinosaur exhibits and whatever else strikes our interest. Then we’ll meet up with family for dinner at Ruby’s Diner, one of his favorite places to eat.

Moving forward, it seems like we should add a new tradition to the day – putting together a puzzle.

Happy Birthday, Jax. My love for you knows no limits. My heart aches beyond comprehension. And my soul longs to be with you again.

Love you,


Five Years

5 years later

A couple of weekends ago I was driving all three kids home from an over-night stay at their great grandpa’s with their cousins. They conked out about five minutes after getting on the freeway, exhaused from staying up late and suffering from excessive sugar hang overs.

I was somewhere between Cerritos and Buena Park on the 91 East when it hit me, hard, like a punch in the gut from late-80s Mike Tyson. Jax has been gone longer than he was here.

That’s fucked. Lonliness filled me with despair. For whatever reason, a quiet car has been a magnet of super shitty thoughts for me since Jax died. In that moment, all those feelings came rushing back. It only lasted for 10 minutes, but it left its mark. Then, as I do, I crammed those feelings way down deep. And now, here we are. Five years that I last rubbed my fingers through his hair, heard his voice, made him smile and gazed in to his gorgeous eyes.

Saturday, the day of the remembrance, was rough. It was the hardest remembrance for me emotionally since the first year. The lack of booze didn’t help. At least at the Angel games I can numb myself up some. Disney’s El Capitan Theater offered no such relief. I didn’t want to be in my own skin. Acting natural felt forced, and I had trouble relaxing and just being.

Kristina missed most of the movie as Phoenix, who was missing his nap time, didn’t want to sit quietly. She was having a hard time Saturday, too, and this didn’t help.

The movie experience itself was terrific. Jax would’ve loved this so much. El Capitan is beatiful and the preshow, which I can only describe as a 13-year-old’s idea of a fun day on acid, was pretty cool. And the movie, Cars 3, was a fitting end to the franchise. Garvey, who is slightly older than Jax, said it was the best movie in the trilogy. I think Jax might’ve agreed, especially with the emergence of namesake Jackson Storm. It was an apt way to honor our missed little boy.

After the movie we gathered in the lobby, trying to catch up and say hello to those that joined us. At one point I looked out to the front on Hollywood Blvd, and what do you know, a fire truck inched its way along traffic. That’s our boy for us. Much needed. A few minutes went by and I couldn’t hold my emotions in check any further. Hugs made my eyes swell and at some point I lost it, breaking out in a hard, loud, ugly cry. The climax of my awkwardness.

I’m pretty sure we held the El Capitan crew up from opening doors for the next show time, but they never asked us to leave and were very courteous. We headed back to the parking structure and began our voyage out of Los Angeles, stuck in 101 traffic. We ate lunch with friends at an Island’s in Long Beach and then went home.

Kristina crashed on the couch. She didn’t sleep well the night before, with the day looming. Gray pulled out his Cars toys to play with, so we raced together while he recreated the movie on our living room floor. At night, my mother-in-law picked up balloons and we wrote notes to Jax and released them.

Then Kristina and I headed back to the theaters to catch a 10:30 PM showing of Cars 3. We weren’t the only ones in the theater, but it was pretty bare. No baby to hold or kids to rush to the bathroom, so Kristina could an enjoy an uninterruped viewing. I tagged along mainly for security. I didn’t feel great about her going to the movies late by herself. When we walked out back to our cars after midnight, I asked her thoughts, and she said it was cute. And agreed Jax would’ve loved it.

Saturday is a reminder that none of this gets easier. Some days are just shitty. And it’s normal, even after a string of non-shitty days, no matter how many years after the fact.

Thank you to those that joined us Saturday and those that couldn’t, who continue to honor our missed little boy and support our family with love and kindness. Sometimes, because of my own shit, I’m not able to express it. But it does mean so, so much to us. We love you.