Faith moves mountains You often said when despair embraced me
Fate moves mountains I often said as control is in another’s hand
Faith moves mountains Through troubling times optimism was your shield
Fate moves mountains Through troubling times alcohol was mine
Faith moves mountains You believed in a God that would nurture and care
Fate moves mountains I believed in a God that was cruel and malicious
Faith moves mountains You rarely shed tears and if you did they fell with a purpose
Fate moves mountains I cried everyday angry tears driven by self-pity
Faith moves mountains Cancer came back for you this time it latched on You cried once in the hospital and I knew you knew hope fought
Fate moves mountains Cancer came back for you I couldn’t pry it loose I cried as much as I drank and you knew I knew hope lost
*** It’s been three years since you drew breath. You were in my life for 54 years. I guess I’ll be mourning till the day I join you. I cry mostly mornings, when another day begins, without wine or bourbon. During the days I’ll smile as memories, come in and out, out and in. Looking forward to more smiles and fuzzy feelings when memories hit instead of pain and tears.
You can live, take in air, eat, go to the bathroom, physically healthy on the outside and dying inside of a broken heart too weak to fight depression
When you die, you die, no air, no food, at times a final bathroom break, sick on the outside all while the heart fights desperately to live on the inside
It’s so easy to live and so easy to die
Living is a struggle, learning and navigating through a ‘new normal’ one did not ask to have. I want the old normal where stuff happened the way it should, predictable and expected
Dying is a struggle, learning and navigating through a final stage of life you did not ask to have. Death had no right to disrupt all that was normal, true and kind
It’s so easy to live and so easy to die
Life is a given.
We live our lives day to day, hour to hour, not thinking once about what it means to live. We take life for granted until we realize it’s gone
Death is a given.
For after the life we’ve taken for granted is gone the aftershocks of raw emotions will be unpredictable, coarse, sneeringly painful and at times forgetful until you wake up in the morning and realize death is not bringing back the one it took recently or those in the past. Your mom, tobias and pi patel are never coming back
It’s not so easy to live when the ones you so loved have died
Today, this day, the sky is grey and rain comes down. Sometimes slow, sometimes fast, sometimes taking a break and sometimes…still waiting for the next sometime to write.
In November I posted my blog piece, ‘I No Longer have a heart…’ on an animal mourning website. Not sure what prompt me to do so but at the time felt a need to release my mourning by whatever means necessary. Forgot about the post, months passed and then Tuesday came.
I received an email from a pet owner. She lost her fur baby two days prior and was on her 18th hour of crying, screaming, lashing out and not knowing how to deal with the pain.
Like me, she had to make the decision to end her dog’s life and wanted to know how I was doing after six months had passed.
Floored I was.
Did not expect this.
Came out of nowhere into my email which I was checking via Iphone while sitting in Fairway’s parking lot.
Started crying in the parking lot.
Cried, when I got home.
Cried touching his ashes.
So f*****g sick of crying.
I responded to her email to let her know it does get better. Memories and pictures guide you through. Allowing grief to take its course is a given.
And it does get better.
I’ve surrounded myself with so many memories of him. His leash hangs on my coat rack, his collar on a peg in my bedroom where his ashes also rest. I live in the place, Brooklyn and in the house, Berkeley where the memories began. I run in the park he so cherished, especially on Monday mornings after the weekend barbeque garbage lays waiting.
On a Wednesday in March, mi perro, my mini schnauzer, my mulberry doggy ware model, my Pi Patel, my fur baby underwent an ultra sound due to blood work which revealed high liver enzymes and cholesterol levels.
He was diagnosed with possible liver cancer.
On a Thursday, the following week, mi gato negra, my domestic short hair, my sassy than thou, my Fate, my fur baby had cloudy eyes and visited an ophthalmologist.
Based on the status of her eyes, she more than likely has FIP.
Can I please dig a hole in the ground, preferably in the backyard, crawl down and hibernate for the next 7 years? Is it okay to randomly scream as loud as possible, opening my mouth and having no sound escape-a silent scream like the figure in the “The Scream“.
I’ve emotionally held up owners or held their fur babies paws during a euthanasia for the past three years. I wonder who the hell will offer the same support to me?
Because I Will Not Let It Happen.
Grieving is personal and I protect myself intensely.
I grieved for my father alone.
Silently crying at night, reeling from the pain of losing a parent to trying to feel the pain my father endured throughout his life. Accepting the pain of knowing my father has permanently left this earth and won’t be returning is an ongoing process.
I grieved for my cousin alone.
I cried silently at work. I was numb at home. I cried walking through Target after seeing the Dove body wash he raved about using. I’m still in a state where I know he’s gone but can’t fathom his presence gone from this earth.
My memories of those two souls are always in my present. I live in the house where memories were created as we once dwelled there together. The backyard and third floor is my cousin. The house itself, the basement and the stoop is my father.
Grief and memories are intertwined.
One persons’ grief process is not another’s.
The loss is real. I’ve lost a parent. I’ve lost a cousin.
I’ve also lost two neighbours within a month. I want to say three for my ex-brother in law lived for a time in the ‘hood when it was the ‘hood’ and not the ‘neighourhood’.
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.
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.