21 June 2009

AN EPITAPH FOR FATHER'S DAY


I MISS SPEAKING TO MY DAD. There were so many times, over a thirty-year period when I would call him just to hear the sound of his voice.

Of course, I never told him that, but it is true.

My dad was a Southern gentleman: raised Baptist; a convert to Catholicism; conservative to the core. He was, without a doubt, the most ethical man I’ve ever known. He would never associate with anyone or anything he deemed ‘shady’ or unethical. And if he caught wind of one of his children doing so, there would be Hell to pay.

As the second last of seven children, my relationship to my dad seemed different. As a writer, I often challenged his notions of how the world worked — and recall some short stories and articles I wrote in high school that must have put Dad in a terrible quandary — and made him uncertain how to react.

To his credit, he never once forbade me from writing about any subject, no matter how uncomfortable it made him feel. He could have done so — and I believe I would have honored his command.

But he did not interfere, sensing that this was who I was born to be: an artist, ‘agitator,’ of sorts, a mirror for society. . .a writer.

In February 2007, I was engulfed by Generation RX. The call came on a Sunday that he was lapsing in and out of consciousness and that it wouldn’t be long before he would die. It took me about 10-12 hours to process that, as I was rather numb upon hearing the news.

During my flight from Cleveland to Boise 36 hours later, however, I had plenty of time to sort through our many years of physical separation and replayed many of the events of my childhood. The nuggets I re-discovered have been applied — successfully or not — to my life as a single Dad.

AT 35,000 FEET, I thought a lot about how affectionate I had been with my father. I sat on his lap and watched TV — far beyond the point of being a young child. By the time I was 13, I think, he FINALLY threw me off his lap. I was already taller than Dad’s 5’9” frame — and I’m pretty sure that I already weighed more than him also.

It took him months to enforce his new law for good, however, and something tells me he realized that I was the end of the line of Miller boys — and that like me, he wanted to relish every moment before I, too, was grown up and gone.

Most of my elder siblings say that my incessant, outward expressions of love for my dad simply “broke him down” over the years, and stripped away any remaining veneer of what were “appropriate” displays of emotions.

I, on the other hand, have always asserted that my poor old Dad was just worn out after five children — and by the time he got to me, his personal “Berlin Wall” had fallen.

The truth probably lies somewhere in between, but one thing seems certain: Dad realized somewhere along the line that no two children are alike — and that there is no “formula” for success.

WHEN I ARRIVED IN BOISE, my Mom led me to their bedroom, and forewarned me that Dad had not opened his eyes for nearly 24 hours. He had suffered another stroke and was unable to speak.

I got down on my knees, at eye-level with my father, who was turned on his side.

“Dad,” I said softly. “It’s Kevin. . .I am here.”

And Dad opened one eye. . .a final ‘miracle,’ of sorts.

Tears filled his one opened eye. Mine too. The Prodigal Son had returned. . . in time to see him off to the next realm.

Over the next 24 hours, I whispered to my Dad and spoke to him for hours, even though he never again opened his eyes. I told him what a good father he was; how proud I was to be his son, and more. I thanked him for allowing me to be the creative spirit I had become — even when it threatened him — and I thanked him for being the best Dad on the planet.

I told him it was okay to let go — his shift was over. . .his time here well-spent — his impact undeniable — his suffering complete.

Within a few hours, he was gone.

There is so much more I’d like to tell you about my Dad: that he played minor league baseball with the Phillies before the war, that he adored my Mom for well over a half-century; that he lived a good and productive life. But those will have to wait for another day.

Because now, I’m going to breakfast with my own sons — to make new memories — ones I pray they recall with fondness at a ripe old age.

Happy Father’s Day.

18 June 2009

George Noory Interviews Kevin P. Miller on Coast to Coast AM (part 1 of 3)

George Noory Interviews Kevin P. Miller on Coast to Coast AM. This is part 1 of 3 — parts 2 and 3 are posted below.

Coast to Coast AM - Jun 11 2009 - Generation Rx part 2/3

George Noory Interviews Kevin P. Miller on Coast to Coast AM part 2 of 3

Coast to Coast AM - Jun 11, 2009 - Generation Rx part 3/3

part 3 of 3

10 June 2009

WE'RE GOIN' COAST-TO-COAST


LIFE IS GOOD. Yes, that's right, ladies and gentlemen — you heard it here first.

Because it's not every day I get to announce that I will be a guest on COAST TO COAST A.M. with the esteemed host of hosts, George Noory. We will be discussing GENERATION RX, the media, the Food and Drug Administration, and a bevy of other issues.

PLEASE TUNE IN THURSDAY EVENING at 10pm Pacific/1 am Eastern time. You can find the radio affiliate in your town by going to:

http://www.coasttocoastam.com/affiliates

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09 June 2009

RONEN LEVI YITZCHAK SEGAL, R.I.P.

ON APRIL 10th, JUST TWO WEEKS BEFORE HIS DEATH, I posted what I termed "an insightful film review" by Ronen Levi Yitzchak Segal of New York City.

The words spoke volumes about GENERATION RX, to be sure, bu also about the kind of man Ronen was. We first met online, as is the case with so many relationships nowadays, and I was so impressed by Ronen that within the first conversation I asked him if I could send him a copy of my film, which had just been released.

Here's another of Ronen's video commentaries, where he counsels a friend after losing a parent. I think it really represent what a kind man he was — the gentle soul whom many admired.

In our last conversation, Ronen said that he was making plans to host a special screening for GENERATION RX in New York City. He was "convinced that Generation RX has the power to change" people's attitudes about drugging children — and he wanted his friends and family — and fellow New Yorkers to take notice.

I am saddened that we never got to coordinate that event: not, of course, to publicize my film, but because I was looking forward to meeting this man, whom I sensed was a good and brave and kind person, above all.

Shalom, brother. You will live in my heart forever.

06 June 2009

GRADUATION DAY


IT MAY SOUND TIRED OR TRITE, but it is true nonetheless: when our children are young, we don’t fully grasp what it will be like when they finally walk across the stage and graduate from high school. Graduation Day is the event that compares most closely to a rite of passage — and while it pales in comparison to the indigenous experience, it’s truly all we have.

My eldest son sat with me last evening as he prepared for the big day, and we reminisced together: I, about goofy events from his childhood and he, oddly, about a story I’d shared from my own high school graduation many moons ago.

This art of “just being,” together in the same space is something we’ve done often. It’s been fifteen years since my divorce, but thankfully, we’ve spent many thousands of hours together relishing one another’s company.

As I’ve made my way through life as a single Dad, I’ve attempted to cherish each moment, amid crises and joy. Often I’ve struggled and failed, but try I do.

SEVEN YEARS AGO, the boy in the photo loved baseball more than anything. It was his life, it seemed. Today, it’s music and politics, computers and friends.

Next year — who knows? But one thing is for certain: I will never take any of it for granted.

Yesterday, I spoke with Mathy Milling Downing, who appeared in GENERATION RX. Her daughter Candace would have been graduating this week also — and it would have been her 18th birthday, had it not been for the tragic circumstances surrounding her death. Dosed with Zoloft, as the film tells, this beautiful child of 11 years old hanged herself in the Downing’s garage — a mere hour after sitting on her father’s lap watching Animal Planet on TV.

Mathy and Andy Downing — and their daughter Caroline are heroes of mine. They have fought through the pain and endured to become powerful advocates for “informed choice.” They have armed millions of others with the essential information they need about SSRIs like Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac. Caroline wants to become a journalist and filmmaker…and she is already in college pursuing those goals. Her parents are justifiably proud.

I told Mathy that as my son's graduation takes place this afternoon, I will be prayerful and full of gratitude. As she obviously knows better than I, we can never take these milestones lightly.

I love and adore my son — and I will surely be ‘misty’ today. I taught him to tie his shoes — and to tie a tie. I helped him to bat — and to combat narrow thinking.

This is his day.

But I will also be cognizant of my friend Mathy’s void — and recognize that she was unable to see both of her daughters walk across the stage.

As obvious as it seems, maybe we need to strip things down to the bare essentials — and give thanks for the basics on this day. After all, our blessed time with them as they’ve grown, the love we’ve shared, our rembrances of happy times in their childhood — are these not the building blocks of life?

Since life holds no guarantees for any of us — no matter how preciously we view it — shouldn’t we strip things down to the core?

Candace Downing lives on. Her life’s story — and her tragic death affect even the most hardened among us. In Generation RX, the story surrounding her suicide is simply stunning — and I’ve witnessed masses weep at the injustice of it all.

In the strangest of twists, Candace has already graduated — and is already teaching all of us.

Perhaps you too, have a son or daughter who will graduate this weekend — and pass the first major test of life.

As my son walks across the stage today, though, I’m sure I will shed a tear — out of my love and pride for him — and for Candace Downing — and others like her.

Peace to you this day.

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05 June 2009

WHEN THE BRAVE FOUGHT THE MIGHTY 毋忘六四

It was 20 years ago today when the Brave Fought the Mighty.

Today, I am Thinking of Tiananmen.

We Should Never Forget...Or We Risk Suffering The Same Fate Some Day.

Please Watch This Powerful Video

~ KPM