Everyone has their motivations. Everyone is, more or less, rolling toward some goal, some place, some eventual end. That's the great promise of human life, isn't it?
My motivation, my goal, my place, my end is a little boy named Pablo. That's him in the photo up there.
Jo Ann carried this little being in her womb for nine months. The creature inside her was named Pablo when he was born into this world, on Saturday June 21 2003. I was excited to be a papa. I had no idea what I was in store for. The boy who was my son, this Pablo character, was so much more than I ever dreamed.
Even before he could speak or walk Pablo shined so much light on us, we'd have trouble going to sleep at night. He was the greatest little brother to Grady. He was the greatest son to me and Jo Ann. He was fun and funny. He spoke Spanish before he spoke English. For a time, we had to speak certain words in Spanish in order to communicate effectively with him. 'Beso. Aqui. Mano. Zapato.' As he got older, Pablo invented a new fashion style for himself every few weeks. You remember: green frog rain boots, suits, bow ties, pirate style, prison style, and all manner of cycling caps, including, as evidenced in this photo, his Mike and the Bike cap and matching socks.
I could write about Pablo until the Pablove Across America peloton reaches Solvang this afternoon. It really comes down to three words: Pablo was Pablo. That simple. It still is, really. Anyone who ever met Pablo knows this. If you never met Pablo, trust me. I wouldn't mischaracterize facts about my son. Even a year after his passing, the little dude abides.
We love Pablo.
Jo Ann, Grady and I love him so much that sometimes nothing in our
lives makes sense. It gets hard to love someone you can't hold in your arms. There's nothing harder in the human experience than losing your little brother. Nothing that will shatter you more than a being you carried in your womb passing away before you. And after a long, protracted battle in a f***ing hospital. Nothing.
I had many, many dreams for my son. For a start, I never wanted him to be hungry, or to go to bed sad or alone. You always want a better life for your child than you had growing up. If there's any bit of the American dream left, that's it. At least for me it was.
Funny, until I wrote those words, I'd never imagined all this 'dream' stuff. Looking at my words in the paragraph above, I'd add one other item to that list: I never wanted my son to suffer through cancer treatment. I never wanted to navigate my arms through I.V. tubes as I held him in my arms at night. I never wanted to see Jo Ann so sad she could crumble. Never. And the invitation to the cancer family must have gotten lost in the mail. Cos, suddenly, there we were. And we never got to leave. There is no exit for me and Jo Ann. We are here, always. We accept this. We have no choice.
Having no choice is one of the great motivators I've found in life. When it comes to our work with The Pablove Foundation our experience and our loss fuels the whole operation. No matter how hard I push myself on the bike, it's a comedy compared to what Pablo went through and 10,000 other kids go through every day. At least I have words for my suffering. Pablo was only five. He couldn't tell us what he was going though emotionally, psychologically, cosmically. When I focus on this, I could do damage to any wall, anywhere, in any room I am in while contemplating it. I hate that cancer made my son suffer. I do not understand it.
My motivation on the bike is to contribute—greatly—to pediatric cancer research, and to aid children and families who are where Pablo, Jo Ann, Grady and I have been.
It's that simple.
If you want to join this fight, help me bridge the gap between 84% and 110%.
Please click here and make a contribution to my Pablove Across America fundraising page.