success is relative

Here it is, a day off, and my body woke up early as if it were just another day on the job. But I don’t mind. I need these early moments of silence to share my thoughts with you

Back when I posted my writing on a tattoo website, a friend reached out and asked for my help. She was known as The Painted Nana.
Rita was not only a mother, she was a grandmother. She lived a life that was different from many, but I suppose the seasons she lived through are what flavored her life and made her interesting to me.
But sadly, she suffered a loss. Rita suffered the worst kind of loss and she was faced with the painful reality of outliving one of her children.

After following some of my poetry and short stories, Rita sent me a message. She explained the tragedy of losing her son, Christopher.
Chris was a father of three young girls. He loved his children. He loved his family, and he loved his life.
In her message, Rita unfolded the story of her son’s death.

Chris was up late one night on a cruise ship, and while heading over the deep parts of the Atlantic Ocean, he decided to go up on deck. That was the last time anyone ever saw him..
Chris had fallen overboard. There was no shred of evidence as to how this happened, and to defend their business, rather than investigate his death, the cruise ship considered the disappearance a suicide.

Unfortunately, the truth of his passing will never be known, which was heartbreaking to the family of Christopher Caldwell.
He left behind three little girls. He left a family with too many questions.
Rita’s message to me explained, “I don’t write so well.”
She asked, “If it’s not too much, would you be able to write something for his daughters.”
She went on to mention, “I only ask this because I know you’re a father. So I figured maybe you could write something for his girls.”

This was the poem I wrote for them:

To my darling girls,

I have looked at you through the eyes of skies
and seen your smiles
s well as tears.

There have been no days between us,
nor could there ever be.

I have watched you as many would watch a sunrise
and cheer for its beauty.

A time will come when there will be no more questions,
and again,
my arms will wrap around each of you.

But I understand today is not that time
and I feel the same sorrow as you
for every tear that falls from your eyes
and I did not have my hand there
to wipe them dry.

But before you think my breath is gone,
know full and well that I have never
and I will never
leave you

Each of you will carry on as my extension throughout eternity.
Understand that life stretches further than our understanding of days
but in every one yours . . . believe that I have been there.

Through your steps and smiles,
I have survived more than one thousand times,
and in your joys and dreams, my breath never fades.

Speak to me
and I will hear every word.

Look for my answers in the open blooms of flowers
that surround you.

Find me in the strips of powdered clouds
amongst the comforts of a blue sky,
and I will always be with you

Know that my love lives inside of you
and while Indeed, our days are numbered . . .

a father’s love is limitless.

So Jesse, Shelby, and Kaylee

Daddy will always love you


In May 2008, I was allowed the honor of writing this on behalf of
Christopher Paul Caldwell  (1967—2004)

I received a phone call from Rita last week.
It seems Jessica (Christopher’s oldest) is getting married.

I may not have reached all of my goals in life.
I might not have a lot of money and I may never find myself on the New York Times Best Sellers list. But I do have Rita . . .
and no other writer in the world can say that –

Recently, I was told about my inability to see my value or accept compliments. I struggle to define myself as a writer, or at least a successful one, and I seldom believe when people compliment my prose.
But yesterday, I walked into a store and girl approached me with a big smile.
She said, “I know you. You’re that writer!”

I still say compliments distract me . . . but that one made my day.

2 thoughts on “success is relative

  1. Thank you Benny, this was so very special for me this morning and believe me I really needed it. You are indeed have a special place in my always. Love you much. Have a great week

    Sent from my iPad


  2. I have been behind in my reading and just read this today. I told you I save it until I can give it my full attention.
    Your words speak volumes to any child that has lost a parent and any heart that longs to find it’s home.
    I am grateful for your words, graced that you choose to share them and proud to call you my friend.
    Another wonderful tearjerker courtesy of my favorite author!

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