Alone I sat, in my mentally made cell.
Why was I there, in that self created hell.
Thinking back to school, and my days of dope.
Foot by foot, rolling out the damn rope.
Hallucinogens were my rope, meth my noose.
Heroin in the needle, would have been my cooked goose.
One day in April, in the year ’99,
I awoke, did my prep, and did my last line.
I looked in the mirror, deep into my eyes.
I’m not am addict? Bullshit! No more lies!
I have stomped a mans head, into a curb.
He only mouthed off, something he didn’t deserve.
I broke my glass pipe, and then walked away.
No hospital detox, not even N.A.
17 years, this wagon’s been on this ride.
Not one relapse or slip up, I say this with pride.
For many years I sat, staring at my cell floor.
In the end, it was up to me, to walk out the door.

**17 years ago today I decided to get clean. I hear people browbeat others when they say they have only been clean for one week or one month and it upsets me. The truth is, we all start at day one. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you aren’t good enough, or haven’t been sober long enough to be respected for the amount of time you have been sober. Be proud of your accomplishments, and stick with it. One day you’ll look back at all that time, and your use will be a distant memory.**

Advertisements

  I had gone shopping for a few things today, and stopped by the gas station on my way back. I walked in like normal and stood in line. There was a long line and a woman standing off to the side leaning on the counter looking sad. As I got closer, the clerk asked her, “Are you going to be alright hon?”
  The lady said nothing and shook her head no. The clerk spoke to another customer saying that the lady had just told her that she was about to have a seizure. Then she told the lady to sit down and she would go get her mom in a moment. There were still like 4 of us in line and I couldn’t stand there and do nothing.
  Some people have the ability to sense a seizure coming on, and if she really was about to have one, I didn’t want her to fall and get hurt. I walked up to her and offered to help her sit, as she looked very shaky and was trying to sit on the floor. I got an arm and helped lower her to the floor as I was telling the clerk I would go get the mom. Suddenly the lady dropped into the seizure.
  I told the clerk to go get the mom immediately as I took hold of the back of the lady’s neck so she didn’t slam her head into anything. I held onto her throuought the ordeal and her mom came in after it was over and helped as well. She had been sitting against the ice cream bin, so we slid her down all the way to the floor and another customer gave us a sweater to put under her head.
  She awoke confused and didn’t remember anything prior to it. I understand this happens often. She didn’t even remember leaving the house today. We helped her up and were walking her to the car as she was talking with her mom. “Where are we? We aren’t at home. I don’t remember coming here.” Then she looked at me, then back to her mom while she motioned toward me, “I remember him tho. I don’t know who he is, but I remember him.”
  I was floored. Why would she remember me? I would figure that I’d be forgotten like everyone and everything else. I helped her into the car, told them to take care, patted her mom on the back and told her it would all be ok, and went to my car where I cried almost all the way home.
  This is the second person in the last few months that I happened to be in the right place at the right time to help like this. It freaks me out a bit, because my father had a seizure just before he landed in the hospital where he died so it brings back a lot of emotions that i dont enjoy dealing with. But when I’m there, I am calm and alert. I seem to handle the situation well until it’s all over. I’m thankful for that! Could it be that I’m being shown part of my purpose in life? I don’t know what it means, or if it actually means anything at all… but one thing is for sure… I’m happy I was able to help.

    I saw a vet today. A Vietnam era vet. He was having to use a motorized cart. I came up behind him and he dropped his cane off the cart. I was too far away to help. I heard him sigh in exasperation and he picked it back up. I could tell it pained him to do so. It saddened me to see such a sight. Here we have a person who risked his life, for an ungrateful country, gaining years and not as spry as he once was. I could tell he felt like shit because of his inability to walk.
    I did what everyone else seems to do and just let it be… but I continued to see the image in my mind’s eye. Around the corner, I was putting away some vegetables and I heard something drop. I turned to see this man trying to grab a pot pie that dropped. It landed in front  of him and slid across the floor. I picked it up and handed it to him.
    I pay a lot of attention to my surroundings, and one of the big things is looking people in the eyes. As I handed it to him, I noticed tears. He accepted the help graciously, but I could see that it hurt him to do so. We could all use a bit of humbling from time to time… but this was too much. He made a “joke” about the eyes going first, then everything else, but what I heard was, “I didn’t used to be this way. I was once young, strong, and almost unstoppable.”
    How quickly our youth goes huh? One day we’re climbing trees, jumping from great heights, and the next we’re in an electric cart trying in vain to pick something we’ve dropped up off the floor.
He thanked me and went on his way as I told him, “No problem.” And I was left thinking… One day this will be me. A mere shadow of what I once was. Not able to do the things I once could. Possibly relying on help from strangers just to get through my day.” Then I started thinking. I believe in karma. And I believe that at times, we can become karma incarnate. Today I got to be a good part of the karma for a man who has done noble deeds in life… and for that I am thankful. I only pray that one day I deserve good treatment like that.
    He went on his way and I went back into the freezer at work and cried my eyes out. It was too much emotion for me to contain. Many good people are looked down upon and treated like crap because they aren’t as mobile as the rest of us. That’s no way to treat people!! Treat them with the same respect that you would treat your mother or father. I mean hell… they have been through more than you most likely… and if not… who cares… they’re human beings, and everybody needs a kind word and deed in life.

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there. And also, to the women who have to play both mom and dad. Don’t ever question your worth. You might doubt it, but in the real world, you are your childrens’ heros!!!

Hey everyone. It’s been awhile since I posted. I’ve been going through a lot lately. Just before the lacrosse season ended, I was told that my ex wife was looking for job opportunities in Australia… and my 8 year old son wanted to go. I knew two things in that moment. I could say no, and hold it up in court for 10 years, or I could allow it to happen.
  I ran these options through my head for weeks. I talked with my ex, her parents, (whom i love dearly) and my son. I know it will kill me to be that far away from him, but can I really deny him this opportunity? In the end, the answer is that I cannot deny him. He has an opportunity to see a part of the world that I have always wanted to see. And he has a chance to experience the world.
  They will be gone for two years. Then, after they return, she will be looking for work in Ireland. I have looked into the possibility of moving there to be close to my son (as my older son was actually my stepson, and he is moving far away with his real dad) but, without a degree… Most other countries won’t let you in for more than a visit. On a travel/vacation visit, it is illegal to work or earn money. So I guess that plan is out of the window… for now.
    Then, my best friend, who’s car I have been borrowing, since i can’t afford my own, decided that he needs it back because his other car is broken down. I can’t be too upset… it is his car after all. But now I’m kind of in a lurch. He still drives me to work, but I hop the bus to his house in the mornings. So instead of leaving at seven a.m. I leave at 10 to six. I get to his house, and we ride to work at about 8:30. Then on the way home, he drops me off at a trolly station, and I hop on that and get home.
    So now, I’m facing life without the option to see my kids whenever I want. (A tough thing for a father that is very active in his children’s lives. Hell, the day I broke my leg, I still drove to pick them up for the weekend…. 6 hours after breaking it.)  I have no more vehicle. (Although, if the ladies ask, I got rid of the car to be more green. 😉 lol)
…. I have let this writing sit for about a week now. In that time, I have had a lot of time to think. I had forgotten what it was like to slow down, take a walk, and just appreciate your surroundings. The first thing that happened was, I needed to get somewhere that the buses don’t travel. I thought about how I was going to accomplish this feat. I’ve had a vehicle for so long that I had almost forgotten how to get around without it. I had to go get a money order to pay rent. The closest place for me to do that, is 4 miles away. I had already been up early, taken my son to school on the bus, gone downtown to pay some taxes for my uncle, (totaling about 4 miles walking already) and made it almost home. “How would you have done this as a teen?” I asked myself. I debated going home and grabbing either my rollerblades or skateboard, which have been sitting unused since I broke my leg in 2010. I decided I would just walk. As teens, we used to walk everywhere. Now we jump in our car and go wherever. I was gone from the house most of the day, but in the end, I had walked 12 miles and accomplished everything I had set out to do. I also got to take my time, and actually enjoy seeing my neighborhood at walking speed, rather than whizzing by at 60mph.
  I have had a few other adventures, but this post is long enough already. I plan to start a series called Adventure Time, discussing the adventures I have while navigating this world with no vehicle… Stay tuned. 😉

This song rings so true. I’m tired of being a dancing monkey.

image

  On this day, seven years ago, I held onto my fathers hand as he died. he was diagnosed with a stage four glioblastoma multiforme. He was given two years… He lasted 11 months.
  My father was a great guy. He always had a warm smile and words of encouragement for anyone in need. Of course, I didn’t realize how great he was when I was a teen… But as I grew up, moved out, and had children of my own, I came to realize that all the crap I hated about him back then, was just him looking out for me. He was trying to give me a life that he never had.
  I remember standing in that waiting room while they did a CT scan, and pacing nervously. The whole family seemed to be there. The doctor came out and said my father had a “growth” in his brain, the size of a walnut. He was rattling on and on using “docspeak” I stopped him mid-sentence and asked if he was saying that my father had a brain tumor. He looked at the floor momentarily and then looked me in the eyes, “yes” he replied. I didn’t know how to react. I left everyone standing there as I walked out the hospital door.
  My wife finally found me by the car, staring at the ground and fighting with my emotions. She had stayed behind and listened to the rest of what the doctor had said. They were doing surgery the next day to try and remove it. It was in an area of the brain that affected speech, vision, and memory. So, he might be ok after surgery, he might be blind, mute, and not have much in the way of memory, or he could die on the table.
  We rented a hotel room, I called work to let them know I’d be out a little longer, and I proceeded to put a liter of vodka on an empty stomach with little sleep. I wrote about eight pages in a journal that night. Its weird when I pull it out to read it, which I do once in awhile. You can see just how inebriated I was at different points of the writing, as my penmanship (not very good to start with) proceeds to get worse and worse. Since he might have suffered memory loss, I filled the writing with lots of things I didn’t want him to forget, interspersed with lots of “DON’T LEAVE” and “YOU CAN BEAT THIS” Special memories that we shared; hiking, (where i now take my kids) him filming while my friends and I were aggressive inlining, and a lot of sorry I wasn’t a better son.
  The surgery took 11 hours, and we were told that they removed all that they could without damaging his brain, but not all of it. We would have to hope that the chemo and radiation treatment would help the rest. I was then allowed to visit him after he woke. He was very out of it, but seemed a lot better. Although, he thought he was in a car crash, (a left over memory from when he was a teen, and was in a horrible wreck that left his brother and him in the hospital for about a year) He thought it was December, (It was March) and he told the doctor the the z in his last name was silent. (We don’t have a z in our last name)
  The short version of the following months is, we went about our lives, visited him often, doctor appointments, radiation treatments, et cetera. Then came Christmas…
  His company was having a Christmas dinner in Monterey, and his mother and sister couldn’t take him. Of course my wife and I jumped at the opportunity to spend some time with him. He was a well liked person, and everyone at his company had rallied to help him in any way they could. I wasn’t about to have them miss seeing him, spend time with my father, or have him miss the last Christmas dinner I knew he was going to have. I knew that he wasn’t going to survive another year.
  We arrived at Cannery Row and needed to find parking. He couldn’t make the walk from parking, so he demanded that we drop him off, and I walk with my wife (who was driving) because, “No lady should walk alone at night around here.”  Everyone came to say hi to him and you could see him beam with pride. Fighting through the headaches and nausea, to seem upbeat. He told everyone he’d be back at work soon.
  It was a beautiful place, and a buffet style dinner. We got our food and sat down close to the buffet because he couldn’t walk to the back where the actual tables were located. We were informed by staff that we would have to move to the back, because we weren’t allowed to eat there. I don’t know what came over me as I stood up, and quietly stated to the man, “That man there has terminal brain cancer. We will be eating here cuz he can’t make the walk to the back. If you want to press the issue, I’ll make sure you enjoy a little hospital stay yourself!”  We were allowed to eat there. Lol
  Fast forward to January. I took some time off work to go down, and be with my father. He was getting worse, the tumors (yes, now there were three) were getting larger, and nothing was slowing them down. I spent our time reading to him, reminiscing about the past, and helping him to the bathroom. On January 28th, he suffered a major seizure and landed in the ER. I stood next to his unconscious body as I was told there was nothing left to do but make him comfortable. He came out of it enough once to ask me for water. The docs said he couldn’t have any, and when I relayed this, he flipped me the bird. I understand his frustration, but let me tell you something… The next thing I did, I will regret for the rest of my life. I was tired, I was worried for my father, I was a little hurt that he flipped me the bird, so I went outside for a smoke.  While outside smoking, he fell into a coma that he never came out of. So, “Fuck you” were my fathers last words to me. My wife on the other hand, got some wet cotton swabs, and moistened his lips… She got, “I love you.” Nothing quite like knowing your ex got better parting words. :/
  For the next three days I sat by his side, sometimes crying, sometimes talking to him, sometimes holding his hand. No food or sleep for me. He was clinging to life, and I told him that he could rest now. We were going to be ok. He had a wife waiting for him on the other side. (my stepmom had died a few years prior) and I wasn’t going to sleep or eat until he went to be with her. Around nine a.m. on the morning of February second, he opened his eyes, took a deep breath, and started his journey into the unknown. I was holding his hand and singing to him as he died. In fact, everyone there was singing. “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” You see… His name was Behr, and he used to call me Baby Bear.
  It took me a long time to start using that name. And to this day, only a few people outside of wordpress know me by that name. I’m proud of this name I bear, (haha… see what i did there?) and I know that somewhere he’s looking down at his cub, smiling. I just hope I’m at least half the man he was.
  Rest in piece dad. I love you.

image