Sins of the Fathers > Sins of the Fathers > TOC > 2002 April

What's HAPPENING to me?

What's WRONG with me?

Am I going CRAZY?

It's the...

I was going to say the SUMMER of 2002 but, based on the absence of my older two kids from a memory, it's more likely still the SPRING.

Spring Break.

And then Easter.

And I'm falling apart.

And I don't know why.

And it's starting to scare me.

It has to be the stress of having lost my job in late 2011 and not being able to find one since. And my severance pay starting to run out.

Plus, I have a newborn, so I'm not sleeping great.

And it must be getting to me.

Though I will say that, for whatever reason, the Spring — starting around Easter — is never easy for me.

But this year has been worse.

MUCH worse.

I'm just...



On edge.


Snapping at the kids.

And my wife.

I've gone from a guy who likes EVERYBODY to someone who simply can't stand to be around people.

It's so completely unlike me.

And it has to be the job thing.

And the baby thing.

If I can just find a job, and the baby can just get to the point where she can sleep through the night, then things will be fine.


But I'm not the only person who's noticed.

And who's concerned.

It's later on in the Spring of 2002 and my now ex wife is sitting on the blue sofa in the family room at my parents’ house. My youngest is still just an infant, mere weeks old, and she's cradling her in her arms.

And my younger son is cowering in the corner.

My wife is talking to my mom.

And crying.


Because something’s wrong.

With me.

I’m different.


And she doesn't know what's wrong.

And I don't know what's wrong.

All I DO know is that it absolutely, positively, certainly has NOTHING to do with the Catholic sex abuse crisis that blew up earlier on the the year and is still in the news as the Spring of 2002 turns in the Summer.

I know, for sure, that it has NOTHING to do with what people have said about, and my experiences with, Fr. LeRoy Valentine, my favorite priest — and one of my favorite PEOPLE — from my childhood who, out of the blue,  and bizarrely, was named as an abuser in a New York Times article of March 3, 2002 entitled...

I KNOW it's not that because I checked.

I was one of the LUCKY ones.

Yes, I was close to Fr. Valentine, but NOTHING happened.

Not to ME.

In fact, I'm so sure of that that I start a file of recollections, of memories from my childhood, by that name.


Sure, things happened to some guys, but I know for sure that, even though the priest who took a special interest in me when I was a kid was named as an abuser, nothing happened to ME.

I knew that, for sure, because, when the article naming Father Valentine ran, in the next few days I talked to my friend the cardinal — who was at Immacolata at the same time as Fr. Valentine, and who knew all the players and the situation — and he, and then an independent psychologist, gave me the all-clear.

And then I got sick.