Lost at Sea

Lost at sea, no land in sight. That’s where you found me laughing in the moonlight without a name. I saw my reflection in the shadows of your broken heart.

The tide brought me to you. I learned to laugh and love in your waters. They crashed into me with every thought, with every breath, with every beat, rolling, advancing, receding, always moving in impossible ways. These unstoppable tides come and go leaving broken hearts and minds in those who challenged their impossible ways.

The moonlight followed me yesterday, but will it follow me as I dive into the depths of these dangerous waters. Is the storm in my mind strong enough to build you heaven? What will tomorrow be without the pain of yesterday? How many stars do I have to cross before I reach your shores?

Breaking down

I have had many fuck ups in my life. Some greater than others, but one stands out. In her sixty third year of her life my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. Her prognosis was terminal and she really deteriorated fast once in the hospital. Unfortunately she let her medical coverage lapse and had to enter the horrible world of public health care in the United States. Watching a loved one slow fade away while dealing with the horrors of the public health care has changed my perspective on the greatness of this country permanently. I would like to say I tried my best during this final stage of my moms life. Yes, I took the lead among my siblings durning her hospitalization, and I logged more hours at the hospital. However, I can’t say I always gave 100%. There were times I eased of the throttle just so my siblings could step up. In some ways I resented the role I had fallen into. In my early twenties my father was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer and during that time I was his primary care giver. I took a semester of from school and was with him every second of the day, but that was a different time. I didn’t have a full time job, a house, a mortgage, a horrid boss that question me every time I took time off to go the hospital, and I didn’t have a relationship that was slowing dying with my long time girl friend. There were times I could of taken time off from work to be there with her, but instead I delegated her care to one of my siblings. This is something I find unforgivable in myself. I was selfish in her time of need. My hidden resentment had me keeping score of who did what and when. This invisible scorecard was hanging over me up until the day she died. It wasn’t my role to keep track of the hours my family spent in the hospital, but I myself was physically and emotionally exhausted. What was really upsetting was the fact that I lived the farthest and yet I was never missed a day, all the while my brother had time to work out, and my sisters still had time to go out for dinners. I wanted help and there were times I did voice my opinion, but I got tired fighting the tide of their selfishness. Once my brother had just returned home from school. It was about 7pm, and he said it was too late for him to come to the hospital. Visiting hours didn’t end till 930pm and he was 30 mins away. I received this message from my sister. I was upset, but didn’t lose my temper. Instead I called him and told him to come down now. He didn’t question me and was there in less than thirty minutes. I think this was the breaking point for me. After this I started holding back, and occasionally showing up late just so one of them could spend more hours. My mother always expected more from me and I started to resent her for this during this time. I still loved her and it broke my heart to see her mind and body fade away. She was only in the hospital less a few weeks when they considered her stable. She couldn’t walk or even stand, but according to the hospitals policy they only keep a patient until they are “stablized”. Nevermind the fact they can’t walk or stand. Makes me wonder what do they do for patients without families. Do the just drop them on the sidewalk and wait for them to come close to death again before admitting them back in. Fucken health care in America! Once when my mother was home she had a doctors appointment and I was scheduled to take her to this appointment. My brother didn’t work that day and I knew it was possible for him to take her. Some how I was still on task to take her. I was at work, it was a busy day, but I could’ve left. Instead I told my mother I was running late in the hopes that she would make the logical decision to get my brother’s lazy ass to take her. She didn’t. Instead she waited for me. This made me angry so I started ignoring her calls as her appointment time approached. I let her wait two hours until I decided to show up. What I saw when I arrived broke my heart. She couldn’t walk unassisted and this point she was weighing adult diapers. Due to the nature of her disease she lost control of her bladder. My sister had dressed her and my brother helped her to the couch where she sat for several hours waiting for me. Her diapers was overflowing with urine and had soiled the couch cushion. I felt like a complete piece if shit. I let my mother sit for hours in her own urine for hours because I was feeling overwhelmed. I could’ve spoke up. I could’ve said something. I could’ve yelled at my brother and made him take her. Instead I just played this cruel game of chicken hoping my mother would actually make one of her other children step up instead of leaning on me. Regardless of what was going on in my head I will regret my decision that day to make her wait needlessly. It sadly didn’t stop there. The day finally came for my mother to be discharged. At this point her health was much worse. She would require full time care, and looking back I feel that we could’ve tried harder at this point. Since we all worked full time we felt at this point our only option was a nursing home, but without medical insurance the options were grim. We called around and finally found one we thought was acceptable in highland park. Our assessment was based on limited knowledge, but this was another decision I will regret until I die. This was my mother, she would of moved mountains for my safety and yet I allowed my family to make the selfish decision and have her admitted to this horrible place. I was with her the night she was moved. It was 11pm by the time she was moved. Everyone had left. The EMTs loaded her to the gurney and I walked with her to the ambulance. I then followed the ambulance in my car. It was about a twenty minute drive through the winding streets of Highland Park. I’ve never felt more alone than I did on that drive. I really felt like I was helpless in my situation. The hopelessness made the night seem darker than it was. Still I tried to keep an open mind about this nursing home. I stayed with her till morning sleeping on a chair beside her. In the morning I called work and let them know I was taking the day off. The next few days were a blur. It took about a day for us to realize we had made a mistake. My evil sister used to joke with my mother ad tell her that when she got older she was going to put her in a home, and my mother would always turn to me and say “Joseph wouldn’t let that happen.” I never thought I’d let this happen, but I did. The next few days we did our best to juggle our lives to limit the time she was alone in this place. It’s was a sad place. Her room was shared by two other patients. It was small, and cramped. The paint was faded so bad it made it impossible to determine the original color. There one small old 10 inch television all three occupants had to share. It took all my strength to maintain a smile when I looked my mom in the eyes. Really all I could think was, “is this the best we could do?” She deserved so much more. Finally one the third day something in me snapped and I knew I had to get out of there. I wasn’t sure how we would do it, but I gathered my siblings and aunts, and put together a schedule for her care. Later that afternoon I left work early and was excited to tell her she was going home. I informed the doctors and they scheduled a medical transport later that day. Before she could be discharged the doctor asked we wait for the blood results from the tests they took earlier that day. The results showed her red blood cells were low, and the doctor immediately put in the orders for her to be admitted back into the hospital. I followed her ambulance back to the hospital, and stayed with her till the transfusion was complete. It was about 1130 pm, and before I left her for the night I waited for the nurse to check her vitals on last time. She noticed her blood pressure was low and her temperature was also a little low. Nervously I asked the nurse what does that mean. She assured me there was nothing to worry about. It was late and I was exhausted. I told my mom I loved her and kissed her goodbye. I reminded her that she was going to get to go home in a few days and she smiled. Little did I know that was a lie. The next morning we were informed she had developed sepsis, a very lethal blood infection. She slipped into a medically induced sleep and died just after 930pm that night. In the final 30 minutes of her life I sat there watching there heart monitor as the beeps grew farther and farther apart, and I kept thinking was I just wanted to get her home. Maybe if I made my decision to bring her home one day so she would’ve lived longer. Did that filthy nursing home cause her fatal infection. I will always wonder if my selfishness during those final weeks sped up the onset of my mothers death.


It’s been quite some time since our last word. There is so much to say, but nothing you probably already don’t know. You wouldn’t be disappointed because I know you, but with your blood in in my veins I know I should have done done more. For this I apologize, but I know life is not a straight line. There are so many things I wish I could tell you. I want you to know I breath strong because of you, and my heart beats strong because I have your blood flowing in me. I want you to know I have a life full of friends and special people I wish you could meet. Each day for the past 19 years you have been with me, in every decision you have been with me. In my successes and failures you have been with me. I tried to be there for your family as you would. I know I’m not you, but I do my best to fill the gap you left. Sometimes it’s been hard, but I remember what you taught me. I remember the pride you have when you looked at me. This keeps me going. A few years after you died I remember our water heater went out, and I had to install a new one. I know it was simple, but it was the first time I had to do something without you. There was a certain fear that came over me when I had a question about the gas line and you weren’t there to answer. You had always been there, and all at once it hit me that you were gone. After I calmed down everything you taught me started to fill my head and I felt you by my side once again. Since then everytime I pick up a hammer, or a power tool I feel close to you. I know you worried about Johnathan and Mom as you were dying. Mom was never really the same after you left. She stayed strong for us, but there was always a brokeness inside her. There were times I was angry with her for not being as strong as you, but I know you would have told me she is doing her best. She never remarried, and I am sure you are not surprised. Instead she devoted herself to her children, and grandchildren. She died 14 years after you, but in someways I feel part of her died the day you died. Regardless we still had many happy times as a family in the years after your death. Johnathan went to St. John Bosco and graduated. He still is finding his path in life. I recently moved back into the house, and I am doing my best to guide him. For several years I had lived in Pomona with Christina. I had several happy years there, but it didn’t workout. You had your doubts about her, and now I see why. As I said there are so many things to say, and I could go on forever. Today I made a decision to a chance and go after my dreams. I know you would not think I wasted my life, but I want more. I know I am capable of more. So I made a decision to devote myself to going after my dreams. You never had an opportunity to risk it all because of your responsibilities. I wish you did but I know you had us. I thank you for the sacrafices you made for us, and I promise to chase my dreams. I promise to take the risks you never could. This is promise is the only way I can pay you back. I have no doubt that I will be successful. My life is full of good people. Out of all of them there is one I wish you could meet. There is a lot in this person that reminds me of you. Like you she grew up in the projects, and never had it easy. Like you I have never seen her take a sick day without being sick, and although lost at times in the end she always does what is right. From the moment I met her I knew I had to love her. Her name is Jadie and she is definitely special. I know you would love her too. She keeps me honest about myself, and pushes me to reach for the sky like you. I am not sure how to define what she is to me, but she is definitely part of me. Now back to me. You’ll be happy to hear I finally finished my degree. The day I graduated was hard without you. As with all great days in life for me it is always bittersweet without you. I couldn’t die without finishing school. This is something I owe you. I am also writing again. You probably didn’t know my love of writing until those days in the hospital. I recently found a need to write again, and it’s one of the passions I intend to pursue. Sorry it took 19 years for me to write you I just didn’t know you were listening. I love you Dad and will never stop missing you. I promise you I will die only with memories and not dreams.

Balsa Wood Glider

When I was ten I checked out a book on balsa wood gliders from the library. I have always loved libraries and book stores. Not sure where it started but my father had his library of books. Most of his books were utilitarian in nature, being devoted to construction, architecture and appliance repair. Looking back this one of the main sources for my love of books. As a child I was a amazed at how my father could learn to do anything from a book. There is some powerful and magical in that fact. My mother also took an active role in cultivating this deep, almost religious respect for nature I have in me. My elementary school sponsored book fairs every few months. The book fairs were special days for me. It was a anticipated the way other children looked forward to Disneyland or trips to the arcade.

Getting back to the subject at hand this book detailed several plans to build gliders. The suggested material was balsa wood. Being a small child my knowledge of woods was limited to that you would encounter at the local lumber yard. My father being a contractor I had much experience with red book, douglas fir and pine, but balsa wood as my father told me was a very special wood used in specialized craft project. The primary of these special qualities is its unusual lack of density or weight made it perfect for gliders. I remember my father using the yellow pages to find a hobby store in Buena Park. It was distance away from my childhood home but it was the closest business that had what we needed. It was a rare weekend where my father didn’t work, but he took Saturday afternoon of to drive me to this hobby store. I spent the week reading almost obsessing each glider this book detailed. I had selected the one I wanted and the previous evening my father and I reviewed the plans to determine what we needed.

I still remember walking in. It was the first hobby shop I entered. The ceiling was littered with remote controlled gliders and model planes. There were numerous aisles of special glues and paints only hobbyists would need. My father briefly talked to the guy at the counter, while I got lost in the fantasy land of remote controlled planes and cars. These were expensive toys I could only dream of having, but a boy could dream. My father called me to the back corner of the store where a small area of shelves and bins were devoted to balsa wood of various cuts thicknesses, cuts and shapes. Picking up my first piece felt surreal, as if I was touching some alien material. It looked like wood, smelled like wood, but it had the weight and density of styrofoam. I enjoyed these moments with my father. To me he was the source of all knowledge, there wasn’t ever a time I could remember in childhood where he didn’t have an answer or thoughtful response to my childlike inquiries. After selecting our inventory of balsa wood we went to the counter to purchase our supplies. On our short walk through the models cars, warships and planes he mentioned that we needed a special glue. He said this special glue was stronger and this was needed for our glider. I didn’t question it, but looked forward to playing with this special glue. Looking back I am not sure why my father knew of such things. His father was an alcoholic and from the stories I heard was never much of a father. Most stories my father shared led in disappointment or of him making the best with what he had. The closest thing he had to a fond childhood memory was a story about a schwinn bike his father promised to buy him. My father told me a story of anticipation of how his father gave him reasons to actually believe he was going to get a new bike. My father walked by this bike shop all week on his way home from school, which must have been torture to a young boy. Finally, the Sunday came when they were going to purchase the bike and the bike shop was closed. They never went back. His father never mentioned it again and that was the end of my fathers fantasy to own his own bike. Despite the abusive and selfish figure his father was I never heard my father say a bad word about his father. All he would say was he did his parents did the best with what they had. I thought it was curious that the shopkeeper kept this special glue locked up behind the counter so I asked my father about this on the way to the car. He said kids put it on a rag and smell the rag to get high. Like I said my father knew everything. I kind of find comfort in the fact that most people in my life see me as a source of knowledge.

We finally made it back to our house. Buena Park was about a 45 minute drive but to an adolescent boy with glider to build the drive seemed forever. It was late afternoon and my father reluctantly agreed to start building the glider. Looking back its moments like these that make me realize what a great father I had. It was a late Sunday afternoon and it was his first day off in weeks. I’m sure he wanted to relax but he said yes and we worked on the glider till late that night. He let me do most of the cuts on the wings, which was probably why it never flew quite straight, but we will get to that later. After hours of miter cuts and glueing there it was sitting on my kitchen table. I wasn’t allowed to touch it too much because my father said it needed to dry. Reluctantly I let it sit on my kitchen table sitting on a bed of newspapers so it there overnight. He said we would take to the park tomorrow after he got home from work.

Fearing Less to Love More – 2/17/2015

I read something the other day about fearing less to love more. This morning I woke up thinking of those words. Being stuck at home these past few days have been a struggle, both mentally and physically. It was the isolation really. The lacked of escape can be torture at first, especially if you are used to a million distractions to ease your mind. The thoughts come and there is no where to run. Its funny what happens when you are forced to deal with your thoughts. The mind wanders at first, like a wild stallion afraid of the saddle, it bucks and writhes in useless attempts to stay wild. After a while like all things wild it’s relentlessness retreats and all outward energies are focused inward. So inward I dove giving into the changing tides of thoughts. Time and time again I came to one thought. It’s an everlasting truth I lament, evolution and change. We fight to be in one place at one time, but this fight is a constant evolution and the same day never repeats twice. The best we can do is be true to this consistent change and listen to the direction of the tide. Today I am grateful for this truth and for all things that let me see this light. This post will definitely be continued.

Slaves to Fear

We are all slaves in the light of day.
Slaves to our memories and fears.

Shining through the night, shining for the fight.
Suns rise and set with out fear and so shall we.

Shadows hide hidden truths of fears and shadows. Step forward and bring the fight into the light.

Life after death

Life after death is the path you set me on. Take a breath before you die and I’ll see you on the other side.

Open you eyes, close your eyes its all the same. You can learn to see in the dark. Your words, actions and thoughts show me the way.

My thoughts, your thoughts, are all the same. In the light of day you will see.

If I’m sleep walking don’t wake me.

City Lights

Riding high through the city lights. Coasting on the highs of other, breathing in the lows and highs. Bass beating, treble screaming touching the hard to reach part of the soul. Smiles and Crys paint the landscape with nameless colors of forget dreams and lost hope. Clouds scream though the dreamless nights leaving us to light our own fires. Smoke rises into the beating night giving us new dreams for tomorrow. I drive and drive, following endless lines looking for the echos of her beauty, hoping she sees the beautiful light of my soul burning.

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