MissionBlue

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About MissionBlue

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 05/01/1959

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    San Francisco
  • Interests
    Movies, Music, Gardening, History, Computers, Photography, Art, Books, YouTube, Genealogy
  • Loss Type
    Death of Father
  • Angel Date
    12/27/2014

Converted

  • Occupation
    former caregiver
  • Zip
    94110
  • Country
    USA
  • About Me
    I especially like silent films and Romantic classical music.

Recent Profile Visitors

1,199 profile views
  1. PS: Sometimes you have to push yourself beyond your comfort level to meet people, when you're shy like I am, but it's a way to move forward with your life.
  2. Dear Reader: I can so relate to your missing your dad call out your name. I felt the same way after my dad died. Thankfully, I now have Ernesto who often calls me to come see something or just to know where I am. He also likes to say my nickname over and over as a joke. I think just to have another human being acknowledge one's existence is essential to mental health. Man is a social animal. Of course, many people feel they get enough social interaction at work or with their friends, and relish their time to themselves, but some of us who don't get out enough really need human contact. It has been very therapeutic for me to have Ernesto come to live with me. When I was by myself, I could go for weeks without talking to anyone in person. When you partner with someone you also get to know their family and friends, and you begin to feel less alone in the world. I grew up around lots of relatives so maybe I'm more of a people person than some, but I also enjoy solitude. However, either extreme is not good for me. Relationships are not always easy. I have had my share of problems with Ernesto, who is far from my ideal, but I think people come into our lives for a reason, either to help us or to teach us. If Ernesto leaves me. I would not hesitate to try to find a new partner, because the pleasures of life are better shared. Love and hugs to everyone...
  3. Dear Mitchek15, Losing a beloved father is one of the hardest things in life. My heart goes out to you and your mother. I also have tried many ways to cope with the pain and sorrow of losing my father who was also my best friend. I find it helpful to search for articles online about dealing with grief and simply sharing my feelings in forums like this one. It is good that you will soon have a husband to help support you and your mother through this sad time. Though no one can replace your dad, it really helps to have someone with you who loves you who isn't overwhelmed by the loss. I think your dad would be happy to know that you and your mother are not completely alone. I hope the following article will be of some comfort to you: https://www.awakentheguruinyou.com/blog/4-things-to-know-to-begin-to-accept-the-unacceptable-in-yourself-and-life.html Take care and be patient with yourself, because it takes time to process deep grief. However, death is a part of life, so our minds are equipped with what we need to recover from great loss. Belief in the afterlife can be a great comfort, so this could be a good time to explore the subject of faith and spirituality. I like to pray to God and ask him to give my dad all the happiness he deserves for being such a good person and a wonderful father to me. I also give thanks that I had such a lovable father in my life.
  4. Dear Reader: Thank you for your kind reply. People would also ask me when I was a caregiver, don't I want a life of my own and a house of my own? I lived in my great uncle's house. He had never married, but through the years he had always opened his house to his siblings, nephews and nieces. After his divorce, my dad came back to live with his uncle who was also his godfather. My dad's mother was also like a mother to my great uncle, her second youngest brother, after their mother died young. Everybody had been surprised by my dad's marriage in the first place, because he was such a homebody, and very devoted to his mother. From a young age, I started helping my grandmother since she first started having heart problems when I was eleven years old. I always felt I was needed at home and there wasn't anybody volunteering to take my place. My grandmother had three daughters, but one died young, the other married and moved to NYC, and the third one was widowed and caring for her grandchildren in the suburbs. My aunt also cooked and cleaned for her daughter and son-in-law, because they both worked full time. So she didn't have much time to come visit her mother. Like you, I was managing my great uncle's household, so I felt like I already had a home of my own. We all got along so well, it really was a blessing. The people who gave us grief were some of the the relatives that came to visit. But I had to receive everyone with a smile. I sometimes felt like a short order cook. But this was my choice, because to me the idea of leaving my loved ones and paying thousands of dollars of rent to live alone seemed absurd to me. I was happy in my great uncle's garden. On weekends, he practically lived out there and just came in to eat and watch tv in the evenings. I spent most of my free time with my dad, so I never felt lonely. I also had cousins to play with me when I was younger. Maybe if I had had more friends my age, I would have felt completely different. I had some friends, but I didn't have a lot in common with my peers, because I was raised in the old-fashioned way. There were no rock concerts or even trips to Disneyland for me. I didn't even go to my prom. Maybe if I had had a boyfriend in my teens things might have turned out differently, but I went to an all girls' Catholic high school. I rarely met boys, except for the local delinquents I passed on the streets. Men would offer me rides to school, but they could have been the next Ted Bundy or Scott Peterson. I hope I haven't put everyone to sleep with my dull life, but I was happy for the most part. I just wish that my dad and I could have experienced the world more. If I get a good price for my house, I should be able to hire a driving instructor, buy a car, and finally have a normal life. This is why I want to fix the property as much as I can, because I only get one shot at this. Then I need to find someone to have fun with. I have tried dining alone, but it's not as pleasant as being able to talk to someone. I also don't regret staying with my dad. I sometimes think if I had gotten married, then my father would have gained a son rather than lost a daughter. However, I would not have left him alone -- it would have had to be a package deal -- not sure if many men would have liked the idea. I have a married cousin whose 91 year old mother lives with her, same aunt as mentioned above. My cousin has to accompany her husband on many vacation trips, and leave her mother by herself, sometimes on holidays. Even the bible demands that a person put their spouse before their parents. Since her husband recently survived prostate cancer, I can understand their need to enjoy life as much as they can while they still can. However, thanks to her and her husband's lucrative income, she is able to take her mother on many other trips to Las Vegas, Disneyland, the Grand Canyon, etc. Ernesto is being nice again and has promised once again to help me move, do repairs and get situated in my new house. He will not move to Texas until I am all settled in, and he may still return to rent a room from me in the new house. My best friend says he's just manipulating me and I should get someone else to help me move. But Ernesto knows that if he leaves me in the lurch, I will never hire him or even speak to him again. I helped him when he was down and out, now it's his turn to help me. If he's a macho man, then he should be the man, take control! He says he can get some permits to fix the cottage with the help of some influential people. Then go for it! I will move forward with or without him. So for now, I am once again hopeful. Take care, everyone, and have a nice weekend. Love and hugs to all......
  5. ELiz, when I told my last therapist about feeling guilty over spending so much time on my hobbies, she said it was normal for me to have my own identity and my own interests. She showed me a life chart which was a pie chart indicating how much time we are supposed to spend on each aspect of our lives. I don't remember exactly, but I think parents were only about ten percent. Anyway, much less than I expected. I don't know who the genius is that made up the chart, but I'm sure it differs in different cultures. American culture certainly promotes independence and individuality. It's not your fault that you needed time to relax from working all week and time to be with your friends. Personally, I would prefer saving thousands upon thousands of dollars in rent every year, and just live with my parents, especially since rents are astronomical here in San Francisco. I don't care what society thinks -- society doesn't pay my rent! As long as my parents wanted me there, but each case is different. My parents couldn't even stay with each other. I know an elderly lady who moved next door to her daughter, thinking that she'd see her all the time, and it didn't work out that way! One time a friend gave a package to the daughter for her mother and she said I'll have my son run it over to her tomorrow. I know they have big lawns in the suburbs, but give me a break! What is so hard about handing a package to her mother next door? This is the reality of modern life. Most of us are so busy we don't even have time to talk on the phone anymore. Some people can't even be bothered to send a text. Sometimes it's not caring enough, but many times it's just having too many obligations. Perhaps spending time with your mom depressed you, and you were trying to avoid feeling down or frustrated. There's usually a perfectly good reason why we don't do things that we think we should do. We would never do anything to deliberately hurt our loved ones. Instead of focusing on the times you didn't go out with your mom, try to think of all the times you did spend quality time with her. I know it's hard, but every time we find ourselves with a guilty memory, we need to replace it with a good memory. I think this is part of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), but I could never find a therapist who would actually use it with me, even though they said they knew how. This site about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy says, "Over time, if you replace self-criticism with self-compassion, your thoughts will change. As you do this, you might notice your thoughts about other people becoming kinder and more accepting too." May, the moving is not coming along at the moment. Ernesto and I keep having problems. I may have to hire someone else to help me. I also got a call from my cousin, the only one who was helping me, that he fell down and broke some ribs. That will take about two months to heal. I can't wait around for two more months or I will miss the peak listing period which is the spring. I think I'm going to find myself all alone during the house sale and during the buying process and that is going to be miserable for me. I wish it were easier to die, then I could be with my dad again at his new digs, even if they are six feet under. One good bit of news is that the nice judge excused me from jury duty so I can get my house ready to sell. When I was coming home from jury duty yesterday, the friendly cab driver said, "Please don't sell your home -- it's too nice! Let me be your chauffeur..." It looks nice on the outside, but the inside it's a disaster area right now. Reader, we all should have been more patient. I still would give anything to make my father happy, to see his warm smile, to hear him laugh again. It was tougher for you, because your dad was grumpy. My dad had his grumpy moments, too, but what I most resent is the way he held me back, instead of encouraging me to learn to drive. Then maybe I wouldn't be so tortured with regrets about the thousands of fun things we would have been able to do over those 55 years together. I lived life on his terms -- he should have tried to get more out of life instead of being so passive. I waited decades for something exciting to happen, and it never did, until our one trip together to Mexico. Even then we didn't do half as much as we could have, but he was starting to get old. I understood that. Watching movies with my dad was great fun, but there is so much more out there in the world. My heart aches that he denied himself so much pleasure -- and me, too, just because he thought I was going to drive off and leave him alone. He actually said that to me. I would never have done that. If anything we would have spent more quality time together, enjoying life, instead of me trying to distract myself with my computer hobbies. My dad's older sister is 91 and she still goes to casinos! All my dad had to say is take me to Las Vegas and I would have moved the earth to get him there. I know he would have loved it. Then Ernesto hoodwinked me into thinking life was going to be fun again, and now he's more of a party pooper than my dad was. When will I meet someone who wants to enjoy life! At the same time, I don't want a restless spirit who doesn't know how to relax. I want someone like me who is part couch potato and part adventurer. Love and hugs to everybody!
  6. Thank you again, dear Reader. I was only close to one grandparent, my paternal grandmother, though I got to meet my maternal grandmother a few times. I also feel like a teenager in a middle aged body! So many similarities between us..... As caregivers for our dads, our identity was wrapped up in caring for their needs. The routine was both demanding and rewarding. Now that the struggle is over, we feel empty and lost. As I told a therapist once, when I was caring for my dad, the payoff was his comforting and jovial presence. Now I'm in the same house, doing many of the same routine chores, but there's no payoff. No one to talk with over breakfast. (Ernesto doesn't always have breakfast with me -- his meal hours are unpredictable.) Even making a shopping list or taking out the garbage used to be fun with my dad. Just watching him sleep on the couch was a comfort. Once in a while toward the end, he would yell out while dreaming at night. Not in terror but like yelling at someone. Several times he told me that he was dreaming about running off an intruder. I think that intruder represented death. Wishing everyone peace and comfort....
  7. May, I never tried to look for my long lost half sister, because I don't have much information. She was given up as an infant in a private adoption. Since the three half brothers I do know have been kind of aloof (one died in an accident), I don't want to look for someone who may not want to be found. On the other hand, if she ever found me, I'd welcome her with open arms. I hope she is having a good life. Reader, thank you so much for your sweet compliment. I also long for the days with my father. I still can't believe how quickly the years flew by. To me, heaven would be a place with no past and no future, just a blissful present. I wish so much he could enjoy my new home with me and the greater security my property sale should bring (knock on wood). There are many famous people whose parents never got to see their success. Author JK Rowling has spoken of her sadness that her mother, who died from complications related to multiple sclerosis at the age of 45, never knew about the success of her Harry Potter novels. That must really hurt, now that she's a billionaire. My poor grandmother also didn't live to see the success of her grandchildren, and it's tragic, because if anyone deserved to be treated like a queen it was her. By the way, Ernesto and I have patched things up again. So many times it seems like we are on the verge of ending our friendship, but then he does damage control. Love and hugs to you both and to everyone here.....
  8. Reader, thinking you could have saved your dad is irrational guilt. It's normal but it is unfair to you. Even if you managed to prolong your dad's life by ten years, his quality of life was not good. You had to make a tough judgment call -- just imagine some people have to choose to withdraw food and drink from their parent in hospice to shorten their suffering -- at least, your dad got to enjoy his favorite food up to the end. We like to think we could have saved our dads, but we will never know for sure. It's not knowing that perpetuates our guilt -- maybe with a different team of doctors and nurses, they might have survived, but that is something beyond our control. In my dad's case, his diabetes and peripheral arterial disease were getting better, but his kidneys were not. He needed a heart operation and the chances were not in his favor. He didn't want to go back on the ventilator and have to go on dialysis at the same time. The doctors were saying he could end up like a vegetable. Dialysis is hard on the heart, because of the fluid volume fluctuations. The doctor at another hospital said my dad didn't have any good grafting spots to do a bypass operation. I didn't know which doctor to believe. My dad figured if they botched his toe operation, then he couldn't trust them with his heart. Any way you look at it, you were the dutiful daughter who tried to make your dad happy. No one can take that away from you.
  9. Thank you, dear Reader, for your comforting messages. Life is so hard, especially when you are alone or feel alone, because the people you are with aren't as supportive as they could be. It's sad that all the happiness of the past cannot make up for a miserable present and a dim future. “The pleasure of remembering had been taken from me, because there was no longer anyone to remember with. It felt like losing your co-rememberer meant losing the memory itself, as if the things we'd done were less real and important than they had been hours before.”― John Green, The Fault in Our Stars Please pardon my negativity, but even if I moved into the most beautiful house in the world, it's nothing without someone to care about or who cares about me. It's the way I've been raised -- that love and family are all that really matter in life, but I don't have a family anymore. I just have cousins by the dozens, but they don't live with me and most of them live too far away. Some of them won't even talk to me anymore, just because I dare defend myself from their unfair criticism. It's more obvious as time passes that Ernesto doesn't really care about me, either, but that is another story..... Take care, everybody, I'm off to jury duty tomorrow morning. They sent me a summons last November and already another one! It's not fair, because I know people who never get called.
  10. May, actually I do have a long lost half sister that my mother gave away for adoption years before I was born. Reader is my spiritual long lost baby sister. I agree that the second year is harder. I'm three months into my third year, and I cry less often but harder than the first year. Not so much at the cemetery but when certain memories of my dad get triggered by movies, music or random thoughts, I still get that ache in my heart. I'm sorry your wrist is hurting. Take care, and I hope you feel better soon....
  11. Thank you, dear Reader. I'm sure your dad knew you loved him. Actions speak louder than words. As much as I am trying to adjust to my new life, it is so hard, even after two years. I keep feeling sorry for my father. Because he was such a good, gentle person, I feel he deserved so much more than I could give him. Not that he asked for more, or expected it, but I felt like I was the parent and he was the child. He could no longer protect me, and it was my turn to protect him. You know the rest. Today was the first day of spring so I played Grieg's "To Spring" on my cell phone as I watched the rain fall. My father said that my mother used to play this piece beautifully on the piano. I never got to hear her play it. When my father married her, he thought he would enjoy a lifetime of beautiful music with her, but his romantic dream turned into a nightmare. He didn't know anything about narcissism and mental illness. She was very functional, so it was hard to tell at first. I don't blame him for marrying her. She was everything a man could want, 5 foot two, eyes of blue, educated, beautiful, talented, witty, but she didn't know how to love anyone. She was constantly jealous, even of me. I missed out on so much. For all her faults, I would have loved to be under her tutelage. She was a music teacher, drama coach and a ballet instructor. My half brother, thanks to her guidance, became a professional dancer for a time, but their relationship became strained. Oh, well, we can't change the past, but that doesn't stop us from wanting to. I hope everyone is dealing with the memories as best you can. May happiness and peace find us all......
  12. ELiz, I'm glad that you had a good weekend. Photographing your mom's notes is a good idea. Maybe I'll do that with some of my dad's notes just to back them up. It's amazing how much time my dad and I spent together, and yet I wish we had watched less movies and just talked more. I feel like his hours figuring the lottery were a waste of quality time and I also wasted hours on my own hobbies. I should have been documenting more about the past, but sometimes I worried that it might be too painful for him to think of the past so much, now that most of our closest family members were gone. Reader, I thought my dad and I had more time, too. How I wish I could at least redo the last year of his life, so that I could make the most of every precious minute, but knowing he was going to die soon would have cast a terrible pall on everything for both of us. I knew that with all his conditions, he could go at any time, but my mind didn't want to admit it. He didn't like talking about death and I didn't want to depress him. This is why I wish he could have had a therapist or someone to confide in besides myself, because I know he didn't want to worry me and I didn't want to worry him. There was a nice lady chaplain at the hospital during one of his stays but only that one time. He didn't open up as much to the others. He didn't believe in therapy -- he thought it was too expensive, which it often is. Well, I have to close because Ernesto wants to watch a movie. Take care, everyone, and have a nice week.....
  13. Dear Eli, it is extremely hard to lose a mother, under any circumstances, but cancer is especially difficult. I grew up without my mother, even though she was alive and well, so I know how it feels to see other kids with their mothers. I hope that your father has been kind to you and that together you can come to terms with your loss. It is very good of you to offer your support to others. I wish you the best. There are things that all of us can do to reduce our risk of lung cancer. The following articles list some of these things: https://www.verywell.com/causes-of-lung-cancer-in-non-smokers-2248878 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nalini-chilkov/cancer-genetics_b_3242208.html Dear Reader, Thank you for always being so kind to me! We have so much in common! My eye also twitches when I drink too much caffeine. It makes me happy to know that you find my posts helpful. Your messages are very helpful to me, too. It's rare that I meet someone who was raised by their father like I was. I felt abnormal when I was going to school, because I didn't know anyone who didn't have their mother living with them. I knew kids who had absent fathers, but everybody seemed to have a mother, except me. I didn't obsess about it, because I had such a nice dad and grandmother, but I do think my mother's absence affected me subconsciously. I have always felt somewhat like an outsider. Because of this feeling, I was always happiest at home with my dad. He was the one and only person I could trust not to abandon me and not to make me feel bad about myself. All of the older relatives I grew up with, my dad, my grandmother and my great uncle, were frugal and simple people. However, my dad liked to collect vintage things, such as stamps, postcards, old photos and scrapbooks which he used to find at a used bookstore called The Albatross. He used to go there during his lunch break from work. There were a lot of nice things he couldn't afford to buy, and he would tell me about them when he got home. Over the years he gathered quite an interesting collection. When I could finally afford to buy him some of the more expensive things he used to like, he was no longer very interested in collecting anymore, on account of his illness. Instead, he turned a lot of his attention to playing the lottery, trying to figure out a system. Eventually that interest petered out, too, and all that was left were movies. Up to his last day at home, we watched movies together. It makes me very sad that I couldn't spoil him with nice presents until later in life and then it was too late. Sometimes instead of my gifts making him happy, he would scold me for spending too much money. Of course, I was always there for him at home, but I wish we could have explored more antique shops, estate sales and bookstores together. Unfortunately, because I was a caregiver for many years, I couldn't get out very much as an adult. I was happiest when I was a child and had the time to go fun places with my dad, except we didn't have much money to spend. We used to wait all year for my dad's tax refund to come and then we felt rich! I'm sorry I am not feeling as upbeat today. Sorting through my father's things has made me sad again. I had to throw away reams of papers with his lottery calculations on them. I felt bad, because sometimes I wasn't patient when he wanted to explain his latest system to me. He used to want me to help him find a pattern. I used to say if great mathematicians can't figure it out what hope have we? And yet, his diagrams are so neatly drawn, with his beautiful penmanship, even colored ink to indicate certain things. It seems a shame to throw them away. Anything he wrote seems like a holy relic, even shopping lists. Maybe I should burn them like other holy things, but you can't burn much here in SF. My nasty neighbor would probably call the fire inspector again like she did when Ernesto was barbecuing. I still have those last notes my dad wrote when he was on the ventilaor. I don't like to look at them, but the one I'll always treasure is the one where he wrote, "I love you". So many memories. It seems like it was another world back then when my dad and I were going to silent film screenings together. I saw the old programs from the 1970's. We'd walk home on warm summer nights with the scent of night-blooming jasmine in the air. Even the jasmine has died. I hope that in time the good days will come to you. My Saint Patrick's Day was ok. I went with a friend to a restaurant. We enjoyed our favorite cocktails. Sadly, the Irish bar where we used to go for trivia night has closed down permanently. There was a fire in a neighboring business last June and the bar sustained extensive smoke and water damage. The property owner would not renew the lease. The Irish family had been in business for over 60 years. The world keeps changing..... Not that I am into bars that much, but I have to do what other people like to do, or just stay home forever. Thank you for not minding that I ramble on..... Take care, my friend. Sending you and everyone here love and hugs......
  14. Dear Reader: We've shared so many similar experiences, it's no wonder we understand each other so well! After my great uncle had his stroke, he also pulled his arm away when my dad tried to help him walk. And this was in the house where nobody else could see. He would pay full price on the bus when he was in his 80's. My uncle worked fulltime until he was 88, so he didn't need the senior citizen discount. He was a man of integrity and had a great work ethic. I think you made your dad as happy as possible, considering his physical condition. Consider how difficult it is for us to be happy, and we aren't even old and sick yet. When the things you value most in life are taken away from you, whether it's a loved one or your independence, it's damn hard to be happy. Even if I won the lottery, I wouldn't enjoy it as much as when my dad was alive, but I think I would enjoy making other people happy, if I could. Speaking of coffee, my great uncle used to drink four cups of coffee a day, even before bedtime. He died on All Saints' Day, Nov. 1st, which is one of the traditional Days of the Dead in Mexican culture. On the first anniversary of his death, I set up a little shrine with his photo and a cup of coffee with a chamuco, his favorite pan de dulce (sweet bread). Incidentally, my paternal grandfather died on Nov 2nd, All Souls' Day, and so did his eldest son, years later. Since three of my closest male relatives all died during the Days of the Dead, I used to get worried about my dad every year at this time. On his last Day of the Dead, some food got stuck in his esophagus. I thought, "Oh no, it's All Souls' Day!" Luckily, it went down with a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil. The Girl: I don't know what I would have done without the Internet to distract me during those early months of grieving. I still use the Internet, mostly Amazon and YouTube, to self-medicate more than I should. However, I consider this grief forum a good form of therapy. Thank goodness grief comes in waves, because I couldn't handle it all at once. I was numb for the first few weeks which was like the ocean receding before a Tsunami. I couldn't sleep and I couldn't cry hard enough to feel better. Now I struggle to stay awake sometimes and can be hard to waken once I'm asleep -- what a difference! Now I cry less often but more deeply. Eve: It is so hard to carry on without our biggest fans. We were blessed to have their love and support which helped make us who we are. Parents are often the driving force behind an athlete’s success. You are still a gifted athlete so you can still dedicate your victories to your mom. I admire your discipline and will power! You still have your husband to cheer you on in person. Maybe you could run in races that raise money for a good cause. Many charities now use bike races to raise funds and awareness, while also helping riders with training. I used to have a lot of hobbies, but I still haven't been able to resume any of them since my dad died over two years ago. I just do the things I have to do, and sometimes not even that, but I hope things will change after I move. Love and hugs to everyone!
  15. Dear Reader, Thank you so much for being kind to me, too. I know how you feel. I never wanted to think of life without my father, either. I also don't like change, unless it's something fun and temporary. I think it would be easier for us if we had someone who loves us above all others, such as a husband, or someone who needs us, like a child, to give our lives meaning and purpose. As Eve said, helping others can help us to feel better about ourselves. When I was in a sodality at my Catholic high school, I volunteered with St. Anthony's Dining Room to help serve meals to the poor and the homeless. It was fun, but I was with other girls I knew from school. It would be more scary to volunteer on my own, with people I don't know, but once I'm settled in my new home,.I might try to volunteer with some kind of a good cause. Maybe God did spare your dad's life for a little while longer. For all you know, maybe he was supposed to die twenty years ago, but God knew you needed him, so he was allowed to live on borrowed time. I think the same thing about my dad -- so many times he bounced back from the brink of death. My dad said that one time he fell down and hit his head so hard, he thought surely he should have died. He tripped over a chain he didn't see in the darkness of an early morning on his way to work. He fell head first onto the pavement. It was a miracle that he could get up and dust himself off. He used to work nights when I was a little girl, so he could walk me to school. One early morning he was coming home at about 2 am, when a car with some hoods in it started following him slowly. My dad started walking more alertly to show that he was not a drunk stumbling out of a bar. He thrust his hand in his pocket to simulate that he was packing a gat (his words) The hoods decided to move on. My dad was in many dangerous situations throughout his life, but somehow, by the grace of God, he was allowed to keep on living. At one point he used to carry a horse whip with a stiletto hidden inside it. At other times he carried a Saturday night special. Thank God, he never had to use them. I remember one time I had to walk home from the hospital at 2 am, because there weren't any cabs on a Friday night. I thought to myself, my dad had to do this night after night when I was little, because he didn't have a car. He couldn't afford a car for years, because my mother had left him in debt from shopping at the best stores downtown. I passed homeless men sleeping on the ground in front of a church. Then when I got closer to my neighborhood, the hilly streets were deserted. I stopped to catch my breath on some steps, when a friendly little gray cat came over to me. I looked up at the stars on that cold night and thanked God for sending me that cute little angel to cheer me up. I started back up the hill, and passed by the homes that used to belong to my relatives and friends who had died just a few years earlier. It was a lonely feeling to know that I no longer had anyone close by to help me. Luckily, I made it home ok. Even though Ernesto and I have had our differences, I still feel safe when he is around and less lonely. This morning he brought me a big breakfast from McDonald's with a coffee, and I thought about your dad. One of the mysteries of life is why do bad things happen to good people? Maybe if bad things happened only to bad people, then no one would have compassion for them. Everyone does bad things at some point, so where would you draw the line at who is good and who is bad? Many bad things happen as a result of natural laws and free will. Not all bad things are a punishment from God. Not all good things are a reward. I still believe though that through the law of cause and effect, we can skew things in our favor or against us. I also like to think that God does intervene in our lives more than we realize, but everyone still has to suffer and die at some point, because only things of the spirit are eternal. Sometimes I watch or read sad poetry to help purge the emotions over my dad's loss. One favorite is by Dylan Thomas, Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night, written about the poet's father who was going blind. Father and son died just one year apart from each other. I like how Dylan Thomas exhorts his father not to give up on life. We should all live life to the fullest and not surrender to the darkness. Love and hugs to all....