Nothing Worse

There’s nothing worse than hearing your parents cry and not being able to do anything about it. Moving out of the house at 17 to go off to college and not ever moving back to the same city has it’s tough moments. The main one being the anxiety you get over not being able to be there when things happen. Over the years, I’ve had to face these moments and no matter how many times it happens, I struggle. I struggled when my mom called me to tell me that my dad’s best friend passed unexpectedly. I struggle every time my mom calls/texts me about my dad’s health. I frequently struggle with thoughts about what I would do if something happened to one of my loved ones and I couldn’t make it in time from NY to Florida to say goodbye.

I always have my phone on vibrate and I pretty much always hear it. This Sunday morning, my phone was lost in the mountain of king-sized blanket piled up with me on the couch. When I came across my phone next, I had a missed call, voicemail, and text message from my dad. The text message read: “Give me a call please.” No context clues. As my parents get older, the more edgy I get when things like this happen. A knot rose up and settled in my throat as I quickly called my dad back. He picked up – his voice was shaky. “Jaime died.” At first, I thought he was referring to his friend Jaime, until he kept talking and then I realized it was my second cousin, who was only 9 days younger than my brother, that he was referring to. My dad pushed through the beginning of the call while he told me about Jaime, intermittently crying.

Jaime was healthy. He came home from work, went out for a run, came back and hung out with his parents in the kitchen. His dad told my dad that Jaime was talking about how happy he was and how he felt he was in such a good place in his life. Jaime then went to the other room and sat at the computer to play some games. A few hours later his mom went in and found him slumped over the computer dead. 32 years old. When we were kids, he and my brother were best friends. Thick as thieves. Partners in crime. (featured photo: my brother [left] and Jaime [right] laughing away)

Did you know it takes 6-8 on average to get the results of an autopsy back? 6-8 weeks of waiting. 6-8 weeks of agony. 6-8 weeks of the unknown. 6-8 weeks.

Goodbye Jaime. I’m glad that you felt you were in a good place when you passed. I’m glad you were happy.  You are so loved.

Fight for the Future

It’s amazing how many people are in their own world. They have no idea that there are others in the world and that their actions could impact someone else. Or perhaps they do know, and they just don’t care. It’s truly sad that we live in a country where the right to bear arms is fought for over the safety of our children.

I do not have any children; however, my best friend does and her two children have been such a large part of my life. I have known her since she was pregnant with her son, who is turning 8 in a week and a half. I am scared for them. I think about losing them. I think about whether or not they are safe and it terrifies me into tears.

She was living with me on November 9, 2016. I remember driving home from work sobbing while listening to Hillary Clinton’s concession speech – not necessarily because Hillary didn’t win, but because Donald Trump had been elected as the President of the United States. I sat outside of my apartment in the car trying to calm myself down – trying to erase the evidence of my tears and despair. My best friend and her two children, who were 4 & 6 at the time, were inside. I was worried and scared to let them see me upset and crying, but I gave up and went inside. And then I remembered how amazing and resilient children are. I remembered how smart and emotionally competent they are. I sat with them and had an honest talk about why I was upset and what this meant for our nation. I remember her daughter, Grace, telling me that she understood why I was sad and told me that he was a “bad person.” I realized while talking to them that I shouldn’t be ashamed to cry, or to be scared. They are stronger than I could ever be.

The shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas was physically so close to my former home, and to where my entire family lives currently, but every shooting hits me in the gut. We repeatedly are fighting for gun reform. We are repeatedly arguing the same arguments. These politicians are lousy. Every person who believes that a change needs to happen needs to speak up and call their congressmen and congresswomen. I think about my best friend’s children each time one of these shootings happen. I think about my mother, who taught in the Miami-Dade Public School System for over 30 years. I think about how fortunate I am to have a mother that made it through the Public School System without an incident that threatened her life or her students’ lives. I think about the what if’s. I think about everything we have done wrong – every step we have failed that has gotten us to this point. We don’t just need gun reform. We need overall reform. We need to re-think the power that we have given the position of the President of the United States. Our democracy is falling apart. We should not be able to fight and fight against something only for the President to be able to override the House/Senate not passing something just because he wants to play who’s dick is bigger. That is not a democracy – that is a dictatorship.

People fight for the right to bear arms, but don’t fight for a stronger educational system, better pay for our teachers, or mental health counselor placements in schools. The government thinks that they have the right to tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her body (i.e. taking birth control, getting an abortion), but they don’t think they should have a say in the control of guns.

We need to fight for the future. We need to provide better support for our children. They are the future. Please fight for the future, they need us.