Tag Archives: DEATH

THANK YOU. I LOVE YOU. I WILL MISS YOU

On Friday, I got the call from my mom that my father passed; I didn’t know how to feel. I know how I should feel, but the reality is “that” feeling feels ingenuine. I remember seeing my father a total of two times, once when I was 18 and the other time, last year at my cousin’s wedding. You see, my father left before I turned one, and when he reached out to me later in life, the time apart had done so much damage the bridge couldn’t be rebuilt. 

We would talk on the phone on occasion; he would see how I was doing and like my Facebook pictures from time to time. But, the interactions lacked depth. So, when I got the call that he was dead, there was a short reset and sensation similar to an ache, but not quite. 

I’ve never been the cry right then type of person. When my grandmother passed, I didn’t cry until we were at her funeral. With one look at my crying uncle, I could no longer hold it together, and all the tears fell. All the memories of the times we shared came flooding back. And I realized that I would never get to see her again. My family would never go over to her house for the holidays. I would never braid her hair, and I would never get to hear her curse out her home-health-aid. I would miss all the memories, and I would forever miss what could have been. 

But, with my father, there are little to no memories to reflect upon. When I saw him when I was 18, I was a moody adolescent with an attitude because he left in the first place. When I saw him again, in my thirties, I just enjoyed the moment. With less than twenty-four hours worth of memories and a lost future of what could have been, I sat down in the tub last night during my shower and tried to find conjure up the emotions society said I was supposed to feel. Mixed with the steady stream of hot water came crocodile tears, followed by a day-long headache. 

I posted a picture last night on my Instagram and Facebook. It was a picture taken at my cousin’s wedding with my mom and father; we all looked happy. That day we laughed, danced, and ate, and when the night was over, we talked about visiting him in North Carolina. Other family problems happened, then COVID happened, and before I knew it, he was gone. Below the picture was messages of condolences and prayer emojis from various friends and followers. I appreciated every one of them, but I couldn’t help but wonder if they felt worse for me than I did for myself. 

Last night my brother and sister-in-law called me to express their condolences; this was interesting considering my brother actually spent more years getting to know my father than I did. We laughed about it, but the truth of the situation stung a bit. I know he left for a good reason, but I’d be lying if I said I totally understood. I’d be lying even more if I said I forgave him for it. 

Holding onto that grudge won’t change the fact that my father is gone, and he won’t ever be coming back. There will be no more calls to make or receive. I’ll never see him like a Facebook post. And he’ll never get to attend my hypothetical wedding or meet his hypothetical grandchild. 

Another thing I realized is that the news of death comes in waves. The first wave acknowledges death; it’s the heavy feeling in your stomach that first weighs you down. The second is missing; missing the person and the memories of them. But the last, which is the one I always feel, is the feeling of regret. I always wish that I had done more. Could I have called more? Could I have texted more? Could I have visited sooner? When my grandmother passed, I saw her a week before, and we spoke often; but I still felt regret and wished that I had done more.

Death sucks. Getting the news that someone you know, love, or care for died sucks. Wishing you had done more while they were alive sucks. And knowing that you’ll never get the chance to do things over, or better, sucks. My father wasn’t a perfect man, but he was my father, and I wouldn’t exist without him. So, I have to thank him for contributing to my existence. I have to thank him for loving me from a distance. And I have to thank him for trying. 

Thank you. I love you. I will miss you.

I WAS BLESSED BY A WEEK 9-11-01

I was a sophomore in High School, on a Tuesday morning. When I got off the 2nd avenue bus, I walked up to see my teachers on strike. As my friends and I entered the school, we silently joked that they would let us out early. I didn’t dislike school, but any excuse to go back home and watch tv or masturbate, seemed like a win. None the less, the first bell rang and the student body was in their respective classes. Had it been a public school, all the teachers would’ve been on strike; but, since my high school was catholic, many of the brother and sisters didn’t participate in the strike. It would’ve been a normal Tuesday, had it not been for the events that followed.  

I’m a born and raised New Yorker. I was born in Mount Sinai hospital, in Manhattan, in the summer of 1986. Geography was never my subject; so, other than the few trips to Disney world, and trips out of state to visit family; I had a horrible gauge on where things were in relation to my neighborhood. Hell- I used to think the west side meant west coast.  Any-who, I was a city kid whose entire world existed within a 10-20 block radius. Occasionally I would travel down to the village with my gay friends, from the neighborhood youth choir; but I never really let the importance of certain landmarks sink in. Before the summer of 2001, I thought the Twin Towers were in Chicago, right along with the Sears tower; I know, shame on me!  But, since I never had a reason to go that far downtown, I simply didn’t.  

The summer of 2001, I had a summer youth job working in the building right across from the towers. My job was simple, I filed paper work and answered calls; nothing too crazy, but I did get paid for my services, so it was a win-win. I remember cashing my bi-weekly checks at the check cashing store in the area.  As I was never a fan of eating lunch at my desk; sometimes I would walk to the local park and eat my lunch. I remember there was a bakery around the corner that was responsible for many of the cavities I acquired that summer. I may have only walked inside either of the actual towers, maybe once ever. Lastly, I remember telling myself, I’ll plan a day to come downtown, allow myself to be a tourist for a day, and explore the Twin Towers. I never thought that they would cease to exist; I don’t think anyone did. 

I heard that a person on the street came yelling at the striking teachers that, the towers had been hit. Then, that news spread like wild-fire. The news was turned on, on all the overhead and rolling TVs. We all sat in horror as we watched the planes make impact, then we all watched as the buildings fell to the ground. Some girls cried for fear of what would happen next, while others cried for concern of loved ones that worked in the towers; I was numb. It didn’t cross my mind that day; in all reality, it took quite an amount of years for me to realize how close I came to uncertainty. School had just started; if it had started a week later, I would’ve been down there. I was lucky; all of my family worked in Spanish Harlem, far from the towers; but, since it was deemed a terrorist attack, they refused to release students early without a guardian. I couldn’t get in contact with my mother (only land lines worked). There was a long line to use the pay phones to call our parents and by the time I got to the phone I could barely hear my brother at home, on the other end. Luckily, one of the parents came to pick up her daughter and agreed to take a few of us home as well. They had suspended all MTA bus and train transportation; but she flirted with an MTA bus driver and he took us all home. When I got home, I didn’t turn on the news, I turned on my computer and went to an AOL chatroom. I started talking to some guy that lived near me; I went to see him and we hung out for a bit. Before it started getting dark, I walked back home. An hour or two later my mom got in from work, we had dinner and I went to sleep.  

I didn’t cry about 9/11 until the following year. I was at my grandmother’s house and they were showing the memorial. The camera happened to pan over to a woman who clearly lost someone, and seeing her cries, struck a fire in me, and the tears that I held back that day streamed through my eyes.  

I started writing this post on 9/11/19, but I couldn’t publish it; because, almost 20 years later, it finally hit me- how close I came to not being here. My nephew was only 5, my niece wasn’t even thought of, my grandmother and all of my uncles were still alive. Had the position lasted one more week, I would’ve been down there, and I might not be here today.  

A lot of people were lost that morning; from those on the plane, in the building, and those on the ground. A living life is precious and it’s imperative that we tell our family and friends how much we love them, when they are here, for we don’t know when they might leave this earth and be gone forever.