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My Father

The Man That Never Left My Side

As many of you may know, after I had those two major seizures the morning of October 31st, 2014, I was rushed to the local hospital and then, after a few initial procedures, was immediately transferred to Lahey Burlington. That hospital was my home for the next week. There, I experienced further tests being run on me, having brain surgery, being diagnosed with brain cancer, recovering from said brain surgery, and coming up with a treatment plan for the next year of my life. Overall, it was a relatively eventful week, and not in a positive manner.

However, do you know the one thing that remained exactly the same throughout that entire week? My father being by my side – literally. He slept in the uncomfortable arm chair next to me every night until I was released from the hospital. He ate the hospital cafeteria food and he drank the cheap hospital coffee every single day. If I had a tough time sleeping, or even just twitched in my slumber, he would immediately awaken in order to make sure I was comfortable. He told his boss that he would not be in for the foreseeable future, and that his colleagues would have to simply deal with his absence until further notice. The man put his life on hold in order to be by the side of his firstborn, recently cancer-diagnosed son because, even though he did not articulate this idea, he knew that I was scared to death.


The Innate Characteristic of a Father

There is a good chance that my father did not do much thinking that week, and I do not mean that in an insulting conduct. When I look back on that week, it becomes more clear to me that the mindset my father had was something along these lines…

“Nothing in the entire world matters to me right now aside from the fact that I need to be by my boy’s side. Work can wait, my health can wait, my marriage can wait. I am putting life on pause until my son allows otherwise.”

Now, even though there was a storm brewing inside my mind that entire week, it was blatantly obvious what my father was doing for me. The love and compassion coming from his aura was palpable. A lot of this blog will consist of me being very strongly against the autopilot setting that we can all so easily activate in our lives. However, my father portrayed a rare instance where that setting is necessary, and that is when a loved one’s problems exceeds all.

In this current moment, I feel like a true cancer survivor – healthy, energetic, and mindful. However, I am a realist and, with the unpredictability of cancer, I recognize that there is a chance, no matter how small or big, that I do not live to be a father. Do I believe that I will live to achieve this goal of fatherhood? Absolutely. But that does not mean anyone, whether you are in illness or in health, should repress the fact that an untimely death is certainly plausible.

All in all, if and when I do achieve this goal of becoming a father, I can only hope that I am even half the father that Big Paul is. Because if I am half the father, that, in itself, means that I will be a tremendous father. That should somehow convince the reader what sort of role model he is to me.
I love you Dad. Thank you for being a resounding reason why I am still here today. I could not have done any of this without you.


  1. Carla PUCCIO Carla PUCCIO

    I love you both
    Father & Son amazing people❤❤

  2. Aunty Aunty

    Paul, you have captured in words what the essence being a parent is. I had your dad as a student when I first started teaching in Gloucester and I am not surprised that he turned out to be the man you emulate. Continued good health!

  3. Marianne Marianne

    Thanks Paul for sharing. You have me in tears: I remember sleeping in the hospital bed next to Brit and thinking probably some of what your dad was thinking. You know our diagnosis on Brit’s tumor was different, but what you do as a parent, the unconditional love; the want to take it away from your child just aches inside. Keep sharing. It’s beautiful.

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