For my son David, who explained to me the reason St. Jude's statue was gone during construction of the hospital's new research tower, in 1994. St. Jude's specializes in treating childhood cancers; the hospital takes its name from the patron saint of hopeless cases.
Not the first time you visited St. Jude, just long enough afterwards that you knew some part of the emerging truth, his statue was gone: Patron Saint of the Hopeless tucked safely from harm's way. But you were there: bone-weary pilgrim to medical ministers, clever anointer of your Batman and Robin and two Power Rangers: loyal disciples. You, the suffering communicant of carboplatin and VP-16, determined tither of body fluids, faithful worshiper of Big Bird and Elmo, joyful builder of Lego Temples, reluctant owner of a shiny-nickel new eight-inch scar gracing the back of your hairless head. You were there. Four-year-old architect of hope's doctrine, eyes rolled heavenward when asked if you knew, who belonged on the empty pedestal. Mo-om! you said to me, (overly educated, clouded eyes only able to see the granite stone declaring Hopeless Cases.) You know who! Donatello! Teenage mutant pizza-lover, empowered sewer-dweller, humbled follower of the Rat Master Splinter in His Fight Against Shredder. Oh, I see, I said, hope cracking my heart. No competent angel was a better guard against Evil goons stepping unpredictably through an omnipossible portal of doom threatening the sanity of everything.
Anne Ney, David Holte's Mom, holds an MS in Biology from Georgia Southern University, and studies Creative Writing at Eckerd College. David was diagnosed with medulloblastoma in 1993, at age 3; he passed away in 2002, in Georgia, from treatment complications. She resides in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she hopes to write a memoir about loving David. Her work has appeared in Secrets of the South, The Sun, Statesboro Herald and Triton.