Is the father who wrote a ‘bucket list’ for his dying daughter unusual because of his sensitivity and hope?
I watch the online news very closely for this job at The Good Feed Blog. Throughout the day I click through a usual routine of Reuters, AP News Feed, NYT, LA Times, Washington Post and CNN, scanning for “man-related news”.
The past few days I’ve been actively avoiding one story: The “Bucket List Baby” – about a baby with a terminal illness whose parents made her a hope-filled list of things they planned for her to do in her life, which they’d hoped would be longer than the 2 years her doctors said she wouldn’t live past, due to a disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Type 1.
I was avoiding it not because I don’t have compassion for the child or her brave and hopeful parents Mike and Laura. I avoided it because I too am a parent, and I tend to obsess on the worst things that can happen to children; I play them through my mind too much, especially dreadful, heart-wrenching things. I think this is normal for parents, I’ve even heard it referred to as the “God Forbids”…
And this story didn’t seem to have relevance to our ongoing conversations about what makes a good man in the 21st Century, so I had no good reason to force myself to read it and cry, as I knew I would if I did.
But today I gave in when I saw the headline, “Baby With ‘Bucket List’ Dies.” I read it. And of course I cried. She’s passed away at only 6 months old.
But that’s not why I’m blogging about it here on the GFB. I’m blogging about it because of this:
The blog began as an efficient way to keep family and close friends in touch about their baby’s health. But when the father came upon the idea of writing a “bucket list” for his Avery — a list of things to do before death, normally drafted for adults — his blog went viral and now has 2.4 million page views.
The “bucket list” is so sensitively penned that many of his readers are convinced that it’s mom, not dad, typing the entries, he said.
“A lot of people, when they post on there, they say, ‘you and your husband.’ They obviously assume Laura is writing it,” he said.
And there it is.
It is sensitively written, it is thoughtful, it is emotional. How, in our society, have we gotten to a place where we cannot believe a man would, or could, write like this?
This is a father. This is a man’s dying daughter. Of course he is sensitive, and thoughtful, and emotional.
Is Mike Canahuati exceptional? Perhaps in his ability to write so compellingly he is. And he is obviously a wonderful father.
But is he exceptional in that love? In the expression of that love? Certainly not.
What do you think?
Our deepest condolences go out to Avery’s family.
Photo courtesy of Avery’s Bucket List