Tag Archives: personal growth

How do you cope?

How do you cope with a bad situation? How do you cope when someone you love has a disease? What if that disease is a terminal disease? When my father was diagnosed with Cancer, I didn’t want to believe the diagnosis. Of course I went through the entire spectrum of emotions- despair, grief, disbelief, denial, hope…. I initially thought that it was a nightmare, and it was. The only problem is that I never woke up from that nightmare. I couldn’t believe that my father- the man who meant more to me than any other man-had Cancer. I couldn’t believe that we didn’t see it… Why didn’t we see the symptoms in time?

My father had a little accident at work one day. I believe it was a fall of some sort. Well he went to the hospital, and it was through their testing that it was discovered that he had Cancer. Had he not had that fall, who knows how long we would have been in the dark about his condition. It was after this discovery that he had to receive extensive treatments to battle this awful disease. Initially, I thought that everything would be okay. I figured that he would be cured, and then we’d go back to living our lives. I figured we had many more years left. I just knew that he would have the opportunity to see his grandsons grow up.

I was wrong. I watched as my father deteriorated. This big, tall, strong, healthy man now had to have chemotherapy sessions, and then his kidneys failed. How does one deal with that? Although the situation was dire, we still continued to smile and do our best to keep his spirits uplifted. That was really hard because all I wanted to do was cry. I felt like my world was coming to an end. I will never forget the day when he whispered to me “Dana, I’m dying.” Although it tore me up inside, I smiled and told him “No you’re not. You are going to be okay.” I remember leaving the hospital that day and driving back to Maryland where I was living at the time. I remember going back to work. I also remember getting to the end of the day- two days later, and my Principal telling me the news that my father had passed. Apparently my mom had called her earlier that morning and told her the news and asked her not to tell me until the end of the school day because she didn’t want me to be upset in front of my students.

I am thankful that she waited to tell me the news. I wouldn’t have been any good if I had known that morning right after it happened. Since then, I have accepted the fact that life is just not fair. Sometimes I still cannot understand why my father was taken from us so soon. I feel like I am missing out on so much. I know that my son and nephew are missing out on spending time with their grandfather and learning how to grow up and be a real man- a lesson I know he would have been the best man to teach.

During those long rides back and forth between Maryland and Florida to visit my father while he was sick, I had a lot of time to think. It was during this time that I knew I had to give some recognition to the most important man in my life. My father instilled such strong values in my sister and I, and he was such a wonderful person. I knew that I had to share him and his legacy with the world. “Bo John’s Train” is the beginning of my tribute to my father, Robert Lee Walton Jr. Sharing his life with others is what I do. Through “Bo John’s Train”, I am able to give others an insight to the man that he was. Seeing the response that others have when I talk about him or do presentations in schools makes me so proud. It took me a while to realize it, but this is the way that I cope.


Exploring LIfe’s Lessons With “Bo John’s Train”

Bo John's Train, Dana Walton, father, trains, grief, childrenIt has been said that people come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Although we may not understand someone’s purpose in our life at the time, when we allow ourselves to sit back and observe, many times, their purpose becomes clear. It is up to each individual to use the situation to their advantage and allow themselves to learn from the people that are in their lives.

People come into our lives, and they make an impression. That impression can either be good or bad. In the story “Bo John’s Train”, the main character “Bo John” makes a good impression on the people who lived in the town through which he drove his train. Although many of the townspeople may not know him personally, they know his face; and they know that he is the man who drives the freight train. Bo John makes an impression on those people simply by smiling and waving at them as he passes through town. At other times, he shows himself to be a fun person, someone who is full of life. He gives the townspeople a little ray of sunshine as he rides through town- on his freight train, or in his big, fancy car.

As a result of the affect that Bo John has had on the people of this small town, they really notice when he is absent from the scene. They had become so accustomed to seeing Bo John around town. When he was gone, the entire town felt the blow of his absence. In life, this is reality. When someone who creates an impact in our lives is no longer a part of our lives, that absence is felt. Regardless of the reason behind the disappearance of that person, their absence from our lives is apparent.

Upon Bo John’s return, the town is overjoyed! It is as if they had been waiting, watching, and wondering if he would ever reappear. When someone who touches our hearts walks back into our lives, it is as if a part of our hearts has been restored. We all have the ability to have that type of impact on others. There is no way to ever really know the effect that we have on those people who cross our paths. We never know the effect that our actions may have on another person. Many times, life is all about perception. For this reason, it is important to bear in mind the Golden Rule. When we do unto others, as we would want others to do unto us, our lives may have a different purpose than we originally planned. The things we do- and think nothing of- may mean the world to someone else.