I am in frequent communication, to a greater or lesser degree, with my teenage son who passed in a train accident at the end of 2007. The bridge that has been built between us, with the assistance of many others, has allowed enough clarity for a series of books to be written by my son, still 19 years old by earth years if he had remained. The first book is just now off the printing presses.

Now, this is a very personal experience and I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am just sharing, but understand that I have had many long and emotional exchanges with my son. On some level, had he remained on earth, he would have become a teacher, a very influential teacher in his generation, but he would have had to pass through three very difficult decades to reach that place.

He would have had to become almost as old as I am now before he could start to really make his contribution, but in the meantime he would need to walk a very lonely path and one I would have never wished for him even if it all worked out in the end. Galen would tell you that “it all works out in the end.”

Galen was given a choice to remain in his broken body and at super-conscious level he chose not to remain in his body as a quadriplegic, because he did break his neck in the accident. Many choose to remain in their bodies and serve and teach from that place. The actor Christopher Reeve is a perfect example — and a relevant example because Galen was an actor.

However, if Galen had remained in his body it would have only been about remaining, and thankfully he knew better than that. Nevertheless, he would be the first to tell you that had he been given the choice to remain in a viable body, even knowing he had many difficult years in front of him, he would have chosen to remain.

It is a message he brings forward often, that leaving one’s body ahead of schedule by an act of disrespect for the life and opportunity to learn and participate with earth is a decision that one will regret and have to spend a considerable amount of time and energy balancing.

Galen will now be teaching far ahead of schedule, not three of four decades from now.

So, now comes my dissonance…. I am so glad he is being given this opportunity to teach. I am so glad he does not need to pass through the pain I found out was in store for him. I am so glad he had the advantage his new dimension provided to move forward in his understandings in a very short period of time even by the non-linear standards by which time moves in his dimension.

I am both excited and happy for him, and yet I still grieve, which is a paradox I have touched on before. A parent is never griefless for the loss of a child, and Galen, age 16, was still a child. It creates a strange emotional dissonance for me and as I have said before, and I just have to be with it.

Kenneth Stoller 2011


K. Paul Stoller

K. Paul Stoller, MD, started his medical career as a pediatrician and was a Diplomat of the American Board of Pediatrics for over two decades. Previously, in the early 1970s, he was a University of California President’s Undergraduate Fellow in the Health Sciences, working in the UCLA Department of Anesthesiology and volunteering at the since disbanded Parapsychology Lab at the UCLA Neuro-Psychiatric Institute. He matriculated at Penn State, and then completed his post-graduate training at UCLA. His first published works, papers on psychopharmacology, came to print before he entered medical school. During medical school, he was hired to do research for the Humane Society of the United States, and became involved in an effort to prohibit the use of shelter dogs for medical experiments, which made him very unpopular in certain circles when he published an article entitled “Sewer Science and Pound Seizure” in the International Journal for the Study of Animal Problems. He was then invited and became a founding board member of the Humane Farming Association, and served science editor for the Animal’s Voice Magazine where he was nominated for a Maggie. In the mid 1990s, after a friend, head of Apple Computer’s Advanced Technology Group, lapsed into a coma, Dr. Stoller began investigating hyperbaric medicine. Soon after, he started administering hyperbaric oxygen to brain-injured children and adults, including Iraqi vets and retired NFL players with traumatic brain injuries, also pioneering the use of this therapy for treating children with fetal alcohol syndrome. He is a Fellow of the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine, and has served as president of the International Hyperbaric Medical Association for almost a decade. When his son was killed in a train accident in 2007, he discovered the effectiveness of the hormone oxytocin in treating pathological grief. Dr. Stoller has medical offices in Santa Fe, Sacramento, and San Francisco.

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