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Happy Birthday

Okay, so I’m going to try to write this while I’m still drunk. Last night I had the best sleep I’ve had in a while. I woke to my alarm at 4:45am , as usual. I got up, did my S.S.S. and got to the computer room to print out my work for the day and update my Website. As I was going through Facebook, I got a message that most people on the site has gotten repeatedly: Today is so and so’s birthday. Today was a bit different however. Not only was it the birthday of my former co-worker, it was also the Birthday of my late father…

Day 2:

Writing drunk did not happen. I ended up falling asleep early. The day is now Saturday. As per usual, and even on the days I do not have to work, my eyes popped open at 5 a.m. I scrolled through my news feeds for a while and posted a couple of stories on my FB page and got out of bed to see what I had written down yesterday.

As I was saying; I started off my Friday as I usually do. I was watching this weather front that we were expecting to hit yesterday. Lots of wind and rain was supposed to be waiting to make my work day miserable, however after I checked the news, the weather was going to hold up and, aside from overcast all day, it was going to be a pleasant day. “Awesome!” I thought, then I continued to print my work load for the day and I signed onto Facebook to update my page. As I clicked on the notifications button I see the birthday announcements. Maybe it was because I have been busy with my website or anticipating this, lower than usual, paycheck (Coming off of a 14 day Vacation) that I totally forgot that it was my Father’s birthday. I stared at the announcement for a minute, then continued on viewing the other notifications, one of which showed that I was tagged on a post written by my oldest brother. It was a heartfelt memorial to my father. That’s right, I forgot to mention that my Father passed away almost a Year ago.

I often have trouble with the way my brain seems to work. I say it this way because I don’t like to say that I Hate things, but in reality, I really dislike the way my brain seems to work sometimes. I wonder if the reason why I forgot that it was my Father’s Birthday was because he is now gone and my mind finds it useless information to remember the Birthday of someone who is deceased. Anyway, I gathered my work, made sure my son was awake and getting ready for school and then carried on my day.

While on the way to my first job I started playing some music on my Pandora. Some old school Spanish music should do it this Friday. I get to my first job and rock that out quickly. I leave to my second job site and saw that it was another easy one. While I was drawing and measuring this property, I start thinking about what my brother had written and decided to see if my other siblings had posted anything in memorial to my late father as well. They had.

I first go to my Older brother’s profile to see what he had posted. His post made mention on the relationship he and my father had and though he had never really thought about it, how he had picked up many great things from him such as his love of dancing and fishing, but most importantly, at least to my understanding, he made mention that he is working in the same field as my father had worked the majority of his life. He mentioned how it was my father who taught him how to drive a forklift when he was 18 years old and how he has now been doing that for 20+ years and that’s how he has provided for his family. It was a real heartfelt and authentic post with no attempt at sugarcoating the type of man my father was. My brother final sentence “See you on the pier” Really pulled on the heartstrings.

I went onto my younger sister’s page and she had written about how this was the first time since the funeral that she has cried for him. Her words mentioned how it just suddenly became reality, even having been 11 months later. I hate hearing that my little sister has cried, for any reason.

Reading my sibling’s post came at a cost. I always try to keep these thoughts out of my mind. I’m taken back to the day my father died. It was a day or two before Valentines day. I was sitting at my desk at home and writing, as usual, when I get a call my older brother. It was around 10pm and my brothers rarely call me so I Immediately knew that something was wrong. My first thought was of my mother. I answer the phone to the sound of my brother’s voice telling me that my father was found in the bathroom , unresponsive, by his roommates. They had to call for an ambulance and he was taken to the hospital.

I got off the phone with him, quickly got dressed and took off to the hospital the ambulance had taken him to. My siblings all moved away from the city we had all been raised in. After the divorce, some 15 years ago, my sister and my mother moved back to Texas and my oldest brother eventually followed. My older brother had moved to Florida with his family about 3 years ago, after his plant closed down in Chicago and relocated him there. I was the only one of us 4 left here in the Midwest with my father, who I didn't often see.

My father and I had a difficult relationship. We had a couple of falling outs when I was younger and this is something that has been difficult for me to let go of. He was a very angry, stubborn and selfish man but after I started having children, I at least wanted my kids to know their grandfather, but again, he did not make it easy. I would see him here and there and he even showed up to some of the events I would invite him to, but it wasn’t until the news that he had cancer, that I started seeing him more repeatedly. Because my family was the only ones that were still in the same area, we would be the ones that were responsible to get him to all his appointments. My wife was the one who did most of the driving, bless her soul, because the people who he was living with could also not drive. I really disliked them and I would warn my father about them being shady people and that he should move into the rest home that was nearby me. That it would save him a lot of money, he would be happier and he didn’t have to be around those people anymore. How they were leeching off of him, but as usual, it fell upon deaf ears and since I was not going to force a grown ass man to do anything, I usually just dropped the issue.

When I got to the Hospital, I gave them my information and I sat and waited. I could not help but think the worst. He had been very depressed in finding out that after all his treatments he would have to live with a colostomy bag for the rest of his life. I thought about the strained relationship he and I have had for years. I was angry at my siblings for leaving, for leaving me here with him. I was not the one that should have been left with him during his time of need. I did not want to be the one that was left to tell the rest of my family that the worst has happened but as much as tried to reassure myself that this was not the end, it all came crashing down when I saw the doctor entered the room with a chaplain and an officer. I knew that his day had come. I spoke to the three for a couple of minutes then , after insisting that see the body, they escorted me into the examination room. There he laid, eyes open, pale. A breathing tube still in his opened mouth. His arms extended wide, off the table making his tattoos visible. “ Born to love” on his forearm. His feet were bare, cracked, white from being dry, as usual. He was wearing torn jeans and a shirt with a front pocket. I stood there for a couple minutes looking at him. Staring into is pale eyes. I'm not sure if the tear down his face was his eyes drying out or if it was the final realization that his life was over, that he was dead, and that he was alone……

The days after floated by like a weird dream. My family made their way back to the Midwest for the funeral. I hosted 8 additional people in my house for a week. We laid my father to rest and they all went home to continue on with their lives.

Now here I stood, finishing up my second job on this mild, cloudy day, eleven months later, on his birthday, and a huge burden of guilt fell upon me. Guilty for not having tried harder to get him away from people who were not good for him, guilty for not trying harder to make him a part of my family’s life, for not insisting that he move, that he come over, that he was a part of my children’s life, so that at his end, he did not have to fucking die alone, in a fucking bathroom, with people who did not have his fucking best interest in mind, in the rooms outside! People who did not even wait until his body was cold to empty his fucking bank account. I felt guilt. That I did not choke the life out of those people when I confronted them after finding out. That I did not pursue charges. That I was not a better son. That , even though he was a difficult person, that I let him die alone, That I let him die alone! and that he did not deserve that parting from this life. I felt guilt. I feel guilt.

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.” ― Voltaire

I finished up my third job and drove to my fourth. Decided to get some lunch (drinks) before I started that one so I pulled around the corner to a local pub. My partner, who is my nephew, and I sat at the bar and I ordered a shot and a drink for us both. “ Cheers, to my father on his birthday. I am a tough man, a strong man, a hard working man, because of you. I’m sorry I was not a better son, but I’ll try to be a better man. Rest easy, Jefe. I hope you have found the peace in death that you did not have in Life. I love you.”

The rest of the night became a blur.

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