My Family Faces a Test

Mitch Morrison, Vice President of Retailer Relations

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In 1997, the Boston ska band The Mighty Mighty Bosstones produced a song that would become their best-selling hit. It’s called “The Impression That I Get.” The opening lyrics are profound:

Have you ever been close to tragedy Or been close to folks who have Have you ever felt a pain so powerful So heavy you collapse I’ve never had to knock on wood But I know someone who has Which makes me wonder if I could

As I recently shared in CSP Daily News (, my family is being tested. We recently learned that our younger, 10-year-old son, Daniel, has lymphoma. It is serious yet treatable. We are slowly grasping a life of “new normal,” returning to a routine but one different from that of our past.

I was initially unsure whether to share such details of my personal life, but my hesitation was brief. You have been my second family for 15 years, and I felt it important you know why I would be taking a short leave of absence, why I might be slower in responding to calls and requests. It was equally important to know that CSP’s great editorial team would carry on in my absence.

What I didn’t expect was your outpouring of support. In a week’s span, more than 150 of you sent emails, handwritten notes, small gifts and great words of inspiration. I have tried to respond to each of you. If I have failed, please accept my sincere apology.

Yours were words of prayer, family, and inspiration.

From an East Coast truckstop operator: “I have three kids. My oldest is 10 and she is off to Girl Scout camp. … At 10, she has decided that she doesn’t want us to hug her anymore and that I shouldn’t say ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’ anymore; it has to just be mom and dad. But as much as she wants to be mature, in my mind she is still the baby that I held in my arms, pacing back and forth, trying to induce sleep.

“I can’t imagine what you and your wife are feeling right now, but I want you to know that you are in my thoughts. … I will hug my three kids tighter tonight when I say goodnight (and I will hug my 10-year-old whether she likes it or not).”

From a tobacco journalist: “I am in Kortrijk, Belgium, and promise to find a church and say a Hail Mary for your son. So sad, but do not despair—I survived a heart attack and cancer (prostate). Have faith.”

From a Southeastern consultant: “I just read your article regarding Daniel and wanted you to know how it touched my heart. … Sometimes life just doesn’t make any sense, especially when it comes to our own family, and we all wonder why! But even in these moments, some things remain true. God loves Daniel. ... He has a plan for his life. ... He will be with him constantly, and even the darkest night will eventually turn to dawn.”

From a West Coast operator: “While none of my children have a life-threatening disease so I cannot say I understand exactly what you’re going through, I can relate to the anxiety and fear for a child because my youngest son was hospitalized with a high fever for five agonizing days after he was born. … I remember sitting by my son’s basinet praying over him and hearing the Lord ask me, ‘If I do not heal your son, will you still praise and follow me?’

“Wow, was that a moment of testing. … I praise God every time I look at my son because I have, so far, been spared that ultimate test of faith.”

From a Southeastern operator: “When I started reading your very personal CSP article about your family and son, I gasped and felt almost a stab in my chest. I am so sorry to hear about the news. The c-store industry/family is pulling for Daniel, and I will offer prayers for recovery.”

From a Southern operator: “Thank you for sharing about your son’s condition. It is easy to get caught up in the urgency of the day, and your article is a great reminder about appreciating what we take for granted and having perspective.

 “Your family will be in my family’s prayers tonight. Good luck with the treatments, and God bless. 

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