I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York and as a rule am not “star struck” by many people. Not that I do not have admiration for certain celebrities (i.e. JayZ or Denzel Washington) but, I try to remember they are human beings like the rest of us. Running up to them to “snap” a selfie might seem like a good idea to me but a bad experience for them if I am the 60th person to do it that day.That being said when I rushed through the Philadelphia airport and passed by a large man walking in the opposite direction I had to stop him.
“Are you that Bengals Player?”
He nodded. I outstretched my hand and squeezed. “I just wanted to say I am also a father, I have daughters and I couldn’t imagine. I am praying for you and your daughter.” He thanked me genuinely and continued down the terminal. I wish I had the courage to hug him but I didn’t want to push it. Devon Still is a defensive tackle for the Cincinatti Bengals professional football team, but before that he is the father of a young girl Leah battling stage 4 cancer. As a parent feeling as though you can’t help your children has to be one of the worse things you can endure. No parent should ever think they may have to bury their child…..
Normal life is pretty stressful: school work, PTA meetings, dentist appointments, corporate projects, fixing dinner, etc. Without the presence of difficult family members, overdue bills and car troubles. I could not imagine adding offensive plays, defensive formations and contract renewals all tied in a knot under the wrappings of your daughter’s stage four cancer. That just — to me — seems like something too much to bear. So when I saw Devon Still walking through the terminal I had to lend my energies to him; one father to another.
No matter your situation or circumstance things could always be worse. And though may of us wouldn’t admit it we take our children for granted. We take their presence as a given in our lives and that simply is not the truth. The strength, courage and humility to have something as private as your daughter’s fight with cancer be put on a national stage isn’t something I think most people could handle, despite what they think of themselves. After Devon Still walked away I looked at my own problems, worries and concerns as a father and felt guilty about most of them. They just didn’t seem to compare to what he might be going through. So for the single dads who may happen upon this post please go hug your son or daughter. Tell them you love them and appreciate every moment you share with them.
-A Single Dad