On the anniversary of Rory's death, 2012

February 22, 2012

On this magical, mystical 222, I want to - need to - shout, “I am so very grateful to be alive.  I love my life.”

And it has not always been this way.

Seven years ago today ... as I told my sister-in-law Jeannine to remove the ventilator tube from my 13-year-old son Rory’s mouth, I knew I had given flight to the bird that would fly Rory’s spirit out of his physical body, once and for all.  A flight that had started long before we got to the ER 11+ hours earlier.

I wanted to die.  To leave my body, too.  I did not want to do this grief thing.  Not again.  I had done it twice before.  After Erin died.  After Trici died.  And it was just too hard.  Too all-consuming, frightening, painful, confusing and lonely.  It was too lonely.

I did not want to live in a world without my most amazing son Rory Brennan Zuba physically in it.  No, thanks.

And from where I sit now.  I know without a doubt, that Rory has never left me.  I know he (along with Erin and Trici and all our beloveds) are in the presence of the divine - of God - of love itself.  Not that love, but REAL LOVE.  And in that place, where they all are (which is actually right here) all things are possible.  All things.

Seven years later...do I miss him.  I do.  I’m human.  I wish he were here physically so I could stare into his eyes again.  I wish I could touch him.  And when I am present.  In this moment.  Where healing and God and love and life itself is ... there I find Rory, and Trici and Erin.  Always.

Mostly though, I am so glad he was born.  To Trici and I.  On July 24, 1991.  Being Rory’s dad has been the ride of many, many lifetimes, for me.  On Sunday, I re-watched the tape of his Memorial Service.  First time in several years.  I am in awe.  Of myself.  Of who my family was then.  Of the people who spoke.  Of the people who attended.  In my remarks, I said, “I was fascinated by Rory Brennan Zuba.  I am fascinated by Rory Brennan Zuba.  I will always be fascinated by Rory Brennan Zuba.  I will always wonder ‘who are you?’”

Who are you Rory Brennan Zuba?

As he stood in front of the television, conducting along, while watching Fantasia at about 2 years old ... I knew this kid was special.  When I picked him up after “Science Day” (which he had been invited to attend when he was in kindergarten) and the facilitators asked me if I was a scientist, myself ... “Surely, such a brilliant young boy’s dad must be a scientist” I knew he was special.  When after his mom died when he was seven and he said, “Dad, I think the womb is a portal of the soul,” I knew he was special.  When he inhaled all things Russian, and then Japanese, and all things Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter, and Zelda, and Manga, and Michael Chrichton I knew he was special.  And when - the first night after his performance in The Nutcracker at Bancroft School in Walnut Creek - as he lie in the top bunk bed - he said to me “Dad, I wish you could be me for one minute so you could feel how happy I am” I knew he was special.  And when he played the violin, and sprayed his hair blue, and twisted it up with rubber bands, and played his Gamecube, and asked to go the bookstore to celebrate his birthday, and sat and read for hours and hours, and when he “did his noises” in the other room, and built forts and wrote books about other Universes, and explained to me Einstein’s theory of relativity, and the workings of the Hubble Space Station ... I knew he was special.

And when he handled his seizure and it’s aftermath with grace and dignity and little fear.  And when he was so very determined to do what he had to do to “get back in the game” a game he never really left ... just learned to play at a higher level.  And when he hung around earth - staying in his physical body a few months longer ... so people from around the world could be, and would be, touched by his glorious, grace-filled life.  I knew this kid was special.  And when ... in those last months ... he slept with me each night ... and we held hands.  I felt special.  I knew this glorious soul selected me as his Daddy.  And I was absent for none of it.  I knew this leg of the journey would be pivotal.

What an honor.  What a treat.  What a delight.  What a ride.

I love you Rory Brennan Zuba.  I am so happy you were born.  I am so grateful you lived.  I am so lucky to know your love.  To love you, and be loved by you.

And seven years later ... I would not change a thing.  Not one moment.

I am blessed!

Hope and peace always,


  • Everything I have read, heard and seen about Rory has captivated me.

  • Thank you Tom for posting this. Your love for your son transcends this physical place. It helps me remember that my love for Jonathan can too.


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