Monday, July 2, 2018

The Big Dude (You Know Who You Are)

Every waking moment is a gift when viewed from the proper perspective and I know you know how grateful I am.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Constant / Clarity

Who I am does not equate to who I once was, which is to say that who I am is so much better than who I used to be.

What that statement used to mean to me and what it means to me now are two totally different things, and I couldn't be happier.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Leveling With You (Drawing Fire)

If I alone were Kit's full-time caregiver there is no doubt in my mind that she would be dead. It is not fair that so much of your existence revolves around monitoring and augmenting everyday aspects of her survival, like how much water she drinks and food she eats - I do not understand why the desire to feed and hydrate has left her body, and I fear we may never find ourselves privy to the answers.

I have never had the patience to do this all on my own, whereas you have more-or-less maintained the patience of a saint - I do not know where the internal willpower comes from, or how it was forged and under what circumstances, but for the last two-and-a-half years your steadfastness has been an inspiration, as the majority of the caregiving responsibilities have fallen onto you in my absence. When I relocated for employment purposes you stepped up and became the rock of this family, and while I can provide logistical and financial support from afar, the day-to-day operations fall squarely on you, and for that I am sorry.

With all of this said, I am sure that Kit is aware of the burden her life places on this family and hates herself for it, and yet, as frustrated as we may become at times being full-time caregivers...family do not let family die alone.

So the next time you feel the doubt, the anger, the hopelessness begin to creep its way into your thoughts - bring that pain to me and I will draw fire.

The concept of drawing fire: that is when a member of a platoon - for tactical reasons - steps into the open to draw enemy fire. Maybe it is to give another part of the team a chance to move; maybe it is to distract the enemy; maybe it is to help the platoon locate the enemy and neutralize the threat. But that is what I say: draw fire.

Bring that pain to me. In times of weakness I will absorb the impact - and the negativity. I can handle it when others cannot. When bad things are happening I will be the one good thing that can be relied upon. I will bolster those around me and the positive attitude will spread . . . and we will fight. And in fighting, we will win. If not the battle and if not the war - we will win. Because in perseverance there is victory.

And that is the ultimate victory: to hold your head high, and - even in the face of inescapable defeat - stand and fight.

Family do not let family die alone. The three of us are in this for the long haul, cradle to grave, until they put us into the ground.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

I Am No One / The Current Will Carry Us

I don't know your name - I don't think I ever did - but you have become a daily reminder of where I am in this life, where I once was and where never to return to, and for that I am truly grateful.

Wherever you are in life, I love you very much. I hope you are okay.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Dress Blues (Permanence)

Officer Rueda and I received the call over the radio: two African-American males in their late twenties had been detained for questioning by Officer Davis after being pulled over fleeing from the scene of a homicide. Davis was outnumbered two-to-one and was requesting backup from any available officers in the area. Despite having clocked out for the day after finishing our own respective 12-hour graveyard shifts we responded to her call for assistance; Rueda hit the siren while I punched the gas. The sun was just beginning to clear the San Bernardino mountain range, awakening the city from its slumber when we arrived on-scene.

Officer Davis was still clutching the radio in her hand when we met her on-scene. I sized up the individuals in question while she filled us in: two African-American males, twin brothers in their late-twenties, both with beards, backwards-facing baseball caps, pullover sweatshirts, blue jeans and tan boots. Both individuals were meticulously dressed, the urban-hipster vibe notwithstanding. Both were short - 5'6" maybe - but neither were unathletic. Despite being six feet tall and 150 pounds of lean muscle, it was obvious that Davis was outmatched with no easy way to detain one without losing the other in a foot chase through the sleepy city streets.

By some miracle she had managed to engage both individuals at the scene without spooking them. "These two need to be patted down and cleared for weapons," she whispered as Officer Rueda and I stepped up. "I would have done it myself but..."

I understood her apprehension. With all of the anti-police sentiment permeating the mainstream media she thought it better to standby for backup at the expense of her own safety then risk some grainy and misconstrued cellphone video making its way onto the six-o-clock news for the talking heads, political pundits and opportunistic activists to tear apart.

Officer Rueda began advising the first individual of his rights and of the pat-down procedure while I drew a bead on the second individual at the scene. He never took his eyes off of me.

After finishing the pat-down Officer Rueda stepped aside and while reaching for his radio the individual he had just cleared began backing away slowly, as if preparing to make a run for it.

"Now that that's over," he proclaimed loudly while staring at his brother as if searching for a cue, "I'm just going to..."

"No," I said, polite but firm, the way I was trained. "You are going to hang tight until this situation is resolved. Do you understand me?"

"Nope," he muttered, the thin veneer of civility slipping away.

He broke eye contact with me, the false smile slipping from his lips. The expression that replaced it can best be described as murderous and in that moment it became quite clear that these two brothers were indeed the two associated with the homicide in question that had brought us here to begin with.

Attempting to regain control of the situation I moved around and grabbed him by his forearms, bringing them behind his back and moving to cuff his wrists. A moment later his brother stepped up
to me and leveled me with a look that stopped me cold.

This man has killed before, I remember thinking in the moments before everything went to shit. So have I, but I'll bet this guy enjoyed it.

"Hey Officer, how you feeling?"

"Likewise," I began to say, the adrenaline slipping into my veins and narrowing my vision, "you are going to hang tight until this situation..."

In one horribly efficient movement his fist came flying up like a boxers, the syringe held in place between the middle and ring fingers of his right hand. The syringe sank itself into my neck all
the way to the hilt, penetrating in a spray of arterial blood just beneath my lower jaw while tearing through my windpipe into my esophagus. With an equally efficient follow-up movement he depressed the plunger of the syringe with the fleshy part of his palm and stepped away, letting the emptied syringe fall to the ground.

I managed to yell out before everything went black.

The coroner's report listed the cause of death as an intravenous injection of an as-of-yet unidentified and highly toxic substance(s).

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Douglas (This Time Next Year)

It is never too late to change who I am or who I want to be.
Thank you for dropping in and reminding me of that fact, sir.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Alyssa

I listen to the songs we wrote together all of those years ago and now all I hear is wasted potential amid the dueling vocal harmonies, luscious piano chords and soaring acoustic instrumentation.