Serenity prayer or…feel so different

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference

Every morning I wake up with a broken heart and every night as I lay my head down on my mom’s pillow I try to keep the broken pieces from traveling far.

You are gone and it’s not even a question of accepting that reality but trying to adjust to a new reality that no longer includes you, my best friend and my mother.mom 2

October 7th, should have been a normal Sunday with you getting ready for church, asking me if I’d go and gathering your dollars for the plate collection.

Instead…

on October 7th, I woke at 2:15am and did not hear your breath with the oxygen machine.

I got up…

turned on the light and saw the look of vacancy on your face even though your eyes were closed.

I knew…

you were gone.

I felt your forehead which was warm to touch and my hand traveled to your back which was cold. I reached for my stethoscope and placed it on the honey coloured skin on top of your heart.Mom 1

No sound, no breath, an empty shell void of the pulse of life it once contained.

At first, I was relieved.

The previous day, as I held your hand, I begged you to go, to let go of the body that so betrayed you. To let go of the organs slowly shutting down. To let go of the month of starvation your body endured. To let go of the dependency on the morphine I resented giving you for I knew each dose sent you further into oblivion and I so badly wanted to see you smile at me with eyes that saw me and not death.

It is almost six months since you’ve gone.

The morphine and the Percocet sit in my medicine cabinet.

Sundays are bad and I always hold the vials in my hand contemplating, while being angry at you for not taking me with you. Each Sunday that passes the urge to take them diminishes.

You so loved life and I’m trying so hard to learn to love and dwell in it as you often wished I would.

 

Continue on…

I have no choice, trudging through trying to find the new ‘normal’ while desperately holding on to what was, knowing the was, is in the past and no longer has a place in the present.mom3

I so miss you mom, my butterfly and my best friend. You are at peace, flying through another dimension. I pray you will be there, when it’s my time, to welcome me into your world as you welcomed me into this world.

I love you.

I’m BACK…

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Yeppers- it’s that time again-training time- for the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon and most importantly raising funds for a charity I respect and bow down to-ST JUDE CHILDREN’S RESEARCH HOSPITAL!!

St Jude Children’s Research Hospital is an organization that strives to end childhood cancer. Families never receive a bill from St Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food, allowing parents to only worry about their child.Treatments invented at St Jude have helped pushed the overall childhood cancer survival rate to more than 80% since it opened 50 years ago. The goal of St Jude’s is to drive the overall  survival rate for childhood cancer to 100%!  St. Jude also freely shares the discoveries made through research, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.

Please donate and help me give a bit back to St Jude in appreciation for the wonderful support I received through my first Brooklyn Rock n Roll Half Marathon to my first 2018 TCS New York City Marathon but MOST importantly for the kids and families this organization helps.

For more information on St Jude please check out their website: http://www.stjude.org.

-On a side note:

2018 was the year I ran my first TCS New York City Marathon and the year I lost my mom to complications from surgery related to pancreatic cancer. My mom, Margarita, encouraged me to run the marathon years ago but I waited until 2018 to seriously train for it not knowing what was to come with her health. Mom pushed me to get in the training mileage runs throughout her stay and painful procedures in the hospital. Upon her return home for hospice care she continued to push and encourage me with training. I crossed that finish line on November 4th, 2018 and although my mom was not there to see it as she had passed the month before, her spirit was with me from the starting line to getting my medal at the finish. Cancer truly sucks!

Love you Butterfly

Please visit my fundraising page and thank you!

fundraising page

Acceptance and Resignation, stronger than a hammer but not weaker than the nail or…Sometimes they come back.

Mom, my mom, would often quote a verse to me during my moments of frustration intolerance with life not going according to my plan.

“Accept the things you cannot change…”412

Oh lordy how those words bugged the crap out of me.

This is MY life, MY destiny, MY footprint on existing, MY, MY, and definitely MY!

I refused to accept, concede to, acknowledge or resign to her advice. Everything, absolutely everything can be changed with perseverance, determination and straight up ghetto refusal.

Naw man. Everything.

I have the power and ability to change, the perseverance to guide and shape while steering the helm of the wheel, the sole master of my world.

This is MY life, MY destiny, MY footprint on existing, MY, MY, and definitely MY!

Well…

HIM, yes, the one Noah built an ark for, the same one Moses climbed the mountain for and also the one whom Mary became pregnant for, put me in my place, disrupted my inner peace, laid down the law and let me know destiny belongs to no one but HIM.The Habby and the Mommy

Pancreatic cancer latched on to my mom and won’t let go.

 Like a soft whisper, a gentle wind caressing a cheek,

A touch of cotton soaked in cold witch hazel against the face on a hot summer day,

Ice cream in a cone, silky like velvet, on the tongue

Satisfying that sweet tooth…

Pancreatic cancer latched on to my mom and won’t let go.

I’ve cried the same thousand tears that bent my lashes inward when I cried for Pi Patel.

Pi Patel passed into shadow…suddenly. No whisper no warning. No ice cream or witch hazel on a hot summer day.   imagejpeg_2 (3)

My mom is dying…

slowly in front of my being that longs to have her like I did back in the day when I was a baby and she was my mother taking care of me and working so hard to support a family that society deemed should be supported by a man but family’s man had long gone back to his country to find solace, peace and acceptance that didn’t exist  in the new world he hoped to call home.

Enough.

Love my dad but this isn’t about him.

It’s about my mom

She thought at first it was a return of the stage 4 colon cancer of the past, because sometimes they come back.  The boys and mom 019

Which it did.

In another form, in another place

where it intends to stay

till death do us part.

Mom ACCEPTS the cancer.

Mom ACCEPTS the diagnosis.

Mom ACCEPTS

And RESIGNS to let what will be, be.

And I resign to accept there are things that cannot be changed.

I so love you mom, my mom!      CCI05102014_0000

005       30

Tobias Walsh…Toby.

Tobias…

Tobias, Toba, Tub of lard, Mr. Tobes, Mr. T, Tobester, Tobadia, Mr Tobadia.

Toby, for me

YOU will always be…just Toby. 1440421056303 (2016-11-02T19_58_20.842)

I want to write down the words that tell my feelings about

YOU.

But…

When I think of

USTED, I get all mamba jamba boogied up tight lip and my chest hurts, missing your bunny hopping days through Ppark.

The pain is so real and so there…as

TÚ is no longer here, and neither is Pi and I long to touch and smell

USTED as I do him.

Although, stink, Pi did, as did

YOU, and it did not matter because being all mine, all the time, unconditionally, lovingly far surpassed the dirty dog, musty stink after swimming at the doggy beach in Ppark brought into the house.

USTED passed into shadow on Monday evening, October 9, 2017, licking peanut butter from my finger as Propofol made its way through the vein that would eventually connect with other veins on a path to your heart-unstoppable as your personality and love was.

TÚ paused in the peanut butter licking, confused somewhat and before I could acknowledge what was taking place, the ER vet plunged Euthasol into that same vein, which stopped, and ended the pumping of your sweet heart that held mi alma intact and made me realize that yes,

YOU and your love were stoppable.IMG_2112

Pi took my heart…

TÚ my dear first fur baby, the oldest of the pack, took my soul (mi alma).

Beat on…run on…free at last from the arthritis, the crippling of the joints, the senioritis which left you at times confused looking for our house on return walks the sometimes incontinence, the sometimes-foggy vision, free at last, thank HIM almighty you are free.

Gracias me perrito  que vivir en mi vida por catorce años.

Gracias for choosing me.

I want to say to

YOU all that wasn’t said while this earth was lucky to have your soul in its presence, it’s concrete jungle, pseudo Ppark in the woods landscape with me by your side. Gracias a

TÚ for finding and choosing me to spend time in your life. Pi was not part of

the package, pero

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USTED accepted him or better yet, tolerated him on your own terms.

The residents at the now defunct Bishop Hulces nursing home would also join in this thanks to

YOU, the certified therapy dog who strutted through the dementia ward bringing the gift of words to those who would not normally speak. 1094724054094 (2016-11-02T19_58_16.355)

USTED, my sweet baby boy would allow the locked words to flow in their gibberish, unstoppable, accepted and not challenged or corrected way.

I remember the young teenage girl who was placed in the nursing home due to her disability of severed legs sacrificed from her attempted suicide gone wrong pact with an MTA train. Mother and father were at her bedside during our visits and the tension and awkwardness were too real to ignore. They spoke no English and who knows what if they knew what to make of you grizzly Adams appearance.

YOU jumped on me, and unto her bed, snuggled up to a hip that no longer had an extension.  She in turn was happy to pet your fur which brought forth a smile easing the tensions from the parents who now mirar a

USTED at what I perceived to be respect and admiration. The visits to her room always brought out the best in the soul that resided en

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LOVE

TÚ and el alma that took my own away.

Bereavement is not so acceptable when it comes to fur babies because for many they are insignificant, easily discarded as the wrapper on a wad of gum. Going into shadow is as irrelevant as swatting a mosquito of an arm.

But guess what…

For me not having

YOU, the job of life can be done but trust me, it will be half assed done, for your unconditional no judgement love does not await me when I return home and I’m left with no defense to put the day’s sucking vampires behind me.

DSCN0073

I go to work, forced to converse in conversations when I’d rather be home licking my wounds and thinking of you. Grieving for your lil bro was much easier-I was unemployed. 580

To pick up your ashes, I must return to the place your last breath was drawn and I will bring

 

YOU home.IMG_2164

Which is where you are now, my sweet Toby boy.

 

 

 

 

 

** TÚ, USTED = You.  Mirar=look. Gracias a tú=thanks to you. en= in. pero=but. Gracias me perrito  que vivir en mi vida por catorce años=Thank you my doggy who lived in my life for 14 years.

Dignified Toby-001img_0555roomies-220140916_113709

 

Sadness to Gladness to Gladness to Sadness or…Dear Lord please stop the madness!!!

Glad…

Cooking red kidney beans and coconut rice requested by your sister who is, inappetent and lies dying from breast cancer in a hospital bed.

Sad…

You deliver the goods on the 2nd day of her request and she dies on the third day without tasting a morsel.

SAD…

You do not cook red beans with coconut rice for a long time…

Glad…

…until you decide to make the coconut rice for yourself and buy the red beans subconsciously at Key Food.

Sad…

…when you realize the beans you bought are the red kidney beans you avoided for who knows how long because you have yet to recover from the red kidney beans and coconut rice incident from so long ago when your sister died from breast cancer.

GLAD…

…because your daughter who avoided red kidney beans like a deadly virus, accidently eats the red kidney beans mixed in with the coconut rice you made, because her mind was discombobulated in a strange way which is normal for her on any given day, but not on this day when her mind went far right instead of staying centered.

Glad but Sad…

My tía Nina (Bernice) died from breast cancer so long ago and mom, my mom did not take her passing lightly. I was by her side when the midnight call came letting us know Nina passed on. Mom cried, cried and cried, as I cried, cried and cried ions later when I lost Pi. I did not cry for my aunt at the time, as I was the crutch to hold my mom upright. I did not visit my aunt Nina (Bernice) during the hospital stay. My memories of her were meant to stay in the past, before the cancer: beautiful, dressed to the best, makeup and hair perfectly coiffed. At times, I say, bullshit to that excuse that acts as comfort when fear probably allowed that excuse of not visiting acceptable.

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Mom and Nina were not the best of friends when they reunited in America after going their separate ways in Honduras. Mom, was sent away with an aunt who lived in Jamaica to be raised in a culture that didn’t accept the ‘coolie shitting callaloo’ looking Indian girl,  while Nina stayed in Honduras, going to school and perfecting her spanish language skills. Once the sisters reunited, got over the female drama, they traveled all over the Caribbean and became quite close.

My tía Nina (Bernice) always paid attention to me while the others (the Honduran aunts and uncles) had no time for the Jamaican blood that ran through my veins and made me the ‘other’ in their eyes.

Ma and Tia Nina in Ja096

I was not aware of the red kidney beans and coconut rice that transpired between them. Actually, I found out today. Mom cried when she told me how upset she was about Nina not eating the comfort food she requested before passing. I reminded her, how happy I was to eat it yesterday. SIMG_1538he smiled…and made another pot of it for my weeks’ lunch…

 

Out of gladness comes sadness and out of sadness comes gladness…

Tia Nina018 (2)

Muchness

More words…

Soon to come.

For a bit of a spell,

 I lost my muchness.

But… 

IT’S BACK!!!!

 

Mi Tia Peggy or Nicknames and the Mulberry Tree

I miss my cousin.

Echar de menos mí primo.

I miss my aunt who is his mother.

Echar de menos mí Tía Peggy la madre de mí primo.

A tattoo drawing is now ready to be inked into my skin. Yes, another, and the design links the two, my cousin and his mother, both lives embedded in mí alma (soul).

Mom, my mom’s family and their cultures, emotionally and physically have graced many entries to this blog. Truth be known, I know more of mom’s side than of Dad’s which may be a good thing. Mom’s family were in the states, easily accessible, familiar and close by, although not necessarily close (the warmy and feely kinda close) to each other.

My aunt Peggy, mí Tía Peggy was my second mother during my early years at Berkeley Place, Park Slope, Brooklyn, when it was known as ‘the hood’ and hipsters did not exist. She lived on the third floor with my cousins.

When I came into the world, I was named after mí Tía. Her husband, my uncle, mí Tío drove mom to the Brooklyn Jewish Hospital , because, well, Dad was at work. Childbirth back then had the Dads pacing in the maternity waiting room while their wives hemmed and hawed through childbirth in the delivery room.

That, was, the protocol-back to the naming or my aunt.

Mí Tía Peggy went by her nickname of Peggy. Her real name is/was Amada E***a. Since my Dad was not present at my birth, my uncle, mí Tío named me after his wife-the E***a part of the name and not the Amada.

Why no name for the incoming or rather outgoing baby?

Need to ask mom about that one.

But, a name was given and the name became my own.

Names are peculiar on mom’s side of the family for nicknames can take the place of real names and what once was thought of as a name, a real name, becomes the nickname.  At times, it’s hard to remember that the nicknames are not the real names.

Evie becomes Judy, Bernice becomes Nina, Amada becomes Peggy, Noel becomes Teddy…stop.

I’m confusing myself right now and going way off topic. And, not everyone had a nickname and that includes me.

Tracing family roots was once an obsession for me, most especially during my studies toward the BA. Through searching, listening and relying on family oral stories, I was able to get the real names behind the nicknames as well as the towns in Honduras where aunts and uncles were born.

As far as tracing people and connections, I realized mom’s family tree is a broken one. The roots of her tree exist but the branches, stretching long and thick in some areas and dangerously thin in others often led to dead end ends.

Now onto the tree-the Mulberry tree.

The Mulberry tree is a peculiarity in the ‘hood. Back in the day, neighbours often complained of these trees and hired tree cutters to remove them for their yards. Mulberry trees produce berries, lots of berries from dark purple to ruby red. These berries stain everything it comes into contact with. From white sneakers, to clothing to concrete sidewalks-if the berry touched, it left its impossible to remove stain behind.

This tree and the berries hold a special place in mi alma because it reminds me of mi tia and my cousins.

When we were young and cooped up indoors, on the third floor, due to rain or too hot to venture outdoors we made jam. Jam from the berries of the Mulberry tree, set on a stove, mixed in with Domino sugar and spread warm and soothing on Wonderbread-white bread before whole wheat, before gluten free, before…the inability to be a kid hanging with your cousins gave way to playing video games in front of a computer.

Mí primos and myself would gather on the third floor fire escape and grab at the branches of the tree from the neighbouring yard plucking the berries bare from the limbs. We even devised a system of wrangling branches out of reach with a rope.

My aunt was amazing with us in that she kept us active and intrigued. Bicycle riding in Ppark when it was Prospect Park, the park one did not venture in at night, visiting the Botanical Gardens before it became “the” Botanical Gardens with its fancy horticultural courses and fine dining.

Anyway, the bottom line is I miss my cousin and the memories I have of his mother, my aunt, most especially in the house we were raised in, the house I am in now, which will always remind me that I come from not a broken family but a family that is strong, creative and alive.

New tattoo of the Mulberry Tree with Berries

New tattoo of the Mulberry Tree with Berries

 

The drawing of the Mulberry Tree

The drawing of the Mulberry Tree

 

Mi Tia Peggy on the left

Mi Tia Peggy on the left

 

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