grab neck

It was just a random comment, but both my wife and I caught it. About halfway through dinner, one of our five year old twins, Alison, said,  “I wish Daddy could not be sick.”  Her comments are often missed because she is more soft-spoken than her twin sister Hannah.

In fact, Hannah always has a lot to say about everything.  This makes Alison’s relative silence more powerful to witness. As soon as she said it, I quickly answered that I wish I could not be sick as well, but I am getting help from some great doctors. But the answer felt inadequate even as I was saying it.

My wife and I believe in total honesty with our children, but when it comes to breaking the “final” news of my terminal diagnoses to the kids, we have yet to go “all the way.”  The situation is complicated by the fact that we won’t be having our more detailed cancer meetings until early October, so we are still short on detail ourselves.

When the girls were younger, I felt like such an engaged father. I had a way of getting down on the floor with them and entering all their imaginary worlds. We would build castles, time machines, and spaceships. Our imaginations simply grew together.

But a few years ago, well before my cancer diagnosis, my own work choices pulled me away. I chased some incredible job opportunities that all but removed me from their young lives. That’s the bad news. The good news comes hidden deep inside this recent cancer tragedy.

If I am home fighting this illness now, I plan to use all those free moments to recapture my once mythical standing in their imaginary worlds. This is a trust I am ready to earn once again. Time to crown me, “Pretty, Pretty Princess!”


1. Forest fires  here have gotten somewhat better and with my improved breathing they are cranking down my oxygen.

2. My red blood cells are low and platelets are high. Both are most likely caused by the cancer in my colon or liver.

3. I had to get yet another blood transfusion yesterday. It made me feel a bit better so that is always a plus.

4. My mom is heading home and Amy’s sister is on her way to help us out.  We have been blessed by the help of so many family and friends both here and at home who have done so much to help us.

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5 Thoughts on ““I wish Daddy could not be sick”

  1. Jamie Orr on September 24, 2014 at 12:47 am said:

    Jim –

    I love that you are taking such a difficult situation and using it to enjoy your relationship with your daughters. You are such a wonderful family and it is great to see how your love for one another translates into amazing strength. Your family and friends are blessed to know you and will continue to stand by your side.

  2. I dont’ know you. I graduated high school with your sister, Jennifer, and while she and I aren’t what you could call anything other than facebook friends, I read your story and am touched by the love your family has for you… and this article…. “Time to crown you Pretty Pretty Princess” brought me to tears.

    Know that you have a support group around the world watching, praying, hoping and sending you and your family love.

    Fight hard, Jim Ross. Steal every moment with your dear family as possible.

    With love and support from Washington State,

  3. Anna Kitzmiller on September 24, 2014 at 10:48 pm said:

    We aren’t as adorable as your girls but we loved having you spend your weeks with us, and we have a greater appreciation for who you are because of our time together. Your “Jim-isms” are a permanent part of our daily vocabulary. We love you and keep up the good fight because amazing things can happen.

  4. Jim,
    Your writing is a gift to us all. I LOVE the title…fiercehope….YES! You and your Girls (all 4) are frequently in my thoughts. Sending you so much Love and Light.


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