December 15, 2017


December 15th is the day our dad always bought our Christmas tree. It was an annual ritual that I will always cherish. On this day in 2017, the patriarch of the family passed away. Lung cancer ravaged his body and his final week on earth was heartbreaking to witness. My blog today is about DAD and what death does to a family.

We knew he would succumb to the disease. We all watched him actively die and it’s one of the toughest things to do. When he was initially admitted to the rehab center this final time, he was talkative and his normal self but a week later, things changed significantly. This wasn’t his first time in the hospital or a rehab facility as he has battled heart issues and a number of slip and falls for the past 4-5 years. But, the cancer ultimately took his life. He constantly asked for his oldest two sons so I knew this had to be important to him. I called my brothers in California and told them that dad wanted to see them they both jumped on a flight the next day to visit for the weekend. They were able to see him alive and we knew that dad was happy. His spirits lifted a bit even though he was weak and tired. My brothers didn’t know he was that bad off and both expressed that they were happy to see him before he passed away. It was a Monday when they had to go back home so we visited him before we would head to the airport. He was very weak and could only manage a very low whisper which was even harder to hear over the oxygen condenser machine. He asked my brothers and I to come closer which we did. In a very low and raspy whisper, he managed to say that he wanted all of the shit between us to stop and named all of his children. He said that he didn’t want any fighting or nonsense at his funeral and he wants us to all get along. This had to be incredibly important to him and heavy on his heart to muster up the energy to make the statements. I was taken aback but so very proud of him for finally putting his foot down. It was now or never for him to speak his mind.

My dad and I weren’t really on speaking terms because of the circumstances with my son. I would pop up to his house every now and then to say hello or bring him some food. I missed him and I missed our conversations. He had said some pretty mean things to me and at one time, he even told me to never come to his house again. I was crushed but I also knew that he was siding with other family members and I also had to recognize that he was hurting. He was absolutely crushed about his grandson being in jail and I totally understood his pain and anger. I wanted him to step up and be the peacemaker. I wanted him to be the leader and insist that we all sit down and talk about it. I wanted him to be the hero and fix everything. None of that happened but he did make his demands on his deathbed. Thank you dad for that. Whether or not we act upon on it is on us. I am open to honoring his words. I’ve always been open to work things out with my family. Dad’s final words just emphasizes it for me.

After my dad saw his two oldest sons, his condition went downhill rapidly. Four days later after they left, we would lose him. We would all gather in his room everyday. We knew that he could hear us laughing and talking. We spent the time reminiscing and thinking back on memorable childhood events. Did you notice that I said “we gathered in his room?” Yes, my dad brought us all together. I hadn’t been in the same room with all of my siblings and parents in a few years. It was a bit awkward because of the elephant in the room but apparently, we all overlooked that and spent the last few days celebrating him. Under the unfortunate circumstance, he managed to make it happen. He managed to get us all together. He was the leader and peacemaker that I was searching for. We are all grieving now. We have stuck together for our mother and for our children who are also grieving. It’s not about us. It’s not about hatred or harsh feelings. It’s about honoring dad.

It’s been two weeks since my dad passed and my heart is heavy. I still can’t believe he’s gone. Christmas was tough because he’s no longer here. There was no gift to buy him. There wasn’t the customary gift card that he gives to his adult children. He did, however, manage to buy a few gifts for the children before he went into the hospital. He was always thinking of his grandchildren. He mentioned in the hospital that he wanted those gifts wrapped in time for Christmas which they were. Christmas will be tough every year going forward.
My son called the day after the funeral. He was able to speak with his papa while he was still alert which was about eight days earlier. When I broke the news to him, he broke down crying. My heart ached for him and I couldn’t comfort him. All I could say was that I was sorry over and over. I wanted to hug him and tell him it would be okay. I felt helpless.

In his final days, my dad laid down the law and time will only tell if what he said will be honored. It’s too soon to say but a blessing behind his passing is that I’m now on speaking terms with one of my sister’s and that I was able to spend the annual Christmas ritual at my parents house. My oldest brother really wants us to all sit down and talk because from speaking with all of us separately, we all have different views, opinions and feelings about the situation with my oldest son. He has volunteered to facilitate such meeting and we’ll see how it goes or if it ever takes place. In the meantime, I will grieve the death of my father, support my son and continue to help raise his daughter.

Even if just temporary, dad was able to bring us all together. Thank you dad for the blessing. Thank you for your sacrifice in the name of your children.

The Accusations

Have you ever been accused of something so horrible that it’s hard to fathom? I hope not because let me tell you that it’s an awful thing. Especially when the accusation is that you hurt your own child. What I’m accused of doing to my oldest son would imply that I hate him or don’t care about it. It also implies that I’m a very selfish and evil person. I’m many things but I’m far from being evil and selfish. I love my son. I love him so much that I felt inclined to speak the truth about him even though it hurt like hell. No mother should ever have to face it. No mother should ever have to make that decision.

My son and granddaughter’s mother asked me to take care of her while things were up in the air. She wasn’t emotionally stable given the circumstance and he was in county jail so they gave me temporary custody of the baby. This was after her mother unexpectedly asked me a couple of months earlier to take care of her while she figures things out. I was caught off guard but didn’t think twice about it. They needed my help and she’s my granddaughter and I needed to do my part to help them out. Plus, I knew that I could provide stability for her during the unsettling times. I had to put my empty nester plans on hold while I helped raise a baby. Diapers, daycare and other baby essentials became the norm for me. I was doing it all over again but it came naturally. It was tough but I made it work. I made financial sacrifices. I could not be selfish because they all needed me. Working an 8-9 hour a day job and then going home to take care of a baby was not how I envisioned my life as my youngest was graduating from high school and headed to college. I look and think back on it now and chuckle because I really did that for nine months. My mom would help me with the baby which was a godsend but our relationship was fragile given the situation with my son. Every now and then she would tell me how she felt and we wouldn’t speak for a few days but we would always eventually put our issues aside for the sake of the baby.

Hate is a harsh thing. To hate someone is to have a passionate dislike for them. Why would people accuse me of making up the allegations against my son so I could have my granddaughter? Is it hate? Am I hated that much that people would say such an awful thing about me? Perhaps it’s evilness. Evilness is one who is morally wrong and wicked. Do they think I’m evil? I wish I knew but I’m not going harp on it or stress myself out over it. I’m not in their heads and I don’t know their thought process. The accusations are absolutely ludicrous and disturbing. I can understand people being upset with me for not keeping my mouth shut about what my son did because there are many mothers and families who don’t say anything about sexual abuse, child molestation, lewd acts with a child, etc. But to accuse me of something so vile is pretty damn extreme. Never would I falsely accuse my adult child of the worse thing he could ever do to a person. Never.

I’m beyond hurt over the accusations. I’m still a little angry about it but life is too short to be angry about something you cannot control. People can believe it if they wan’t but I don’t lose sleep over what others think of me. I know what I have and have not done. I will own something when I’m wrong. I apologize when I mess up. I admit my faults and wrongdoings. God knows my heart. You cannot lie to God. He knows all.

What I saw


My granddaughter was born on August 30, 2014.  My son had told me they were expecting a few months prior to her birth. I was excited but a little worried because I wasn’t sure he could financially support a baby.  He kept me updated on the pregnancy and I became closer to the his two step-daughers. I treated them as if they were my own grand-daughters since he was in their lives and they called him dad.  He wasn’t working but she held down a full-time job and was the breadwinner. He was pretty much a stay at home dad which worked for their household. I still wished that he would work and be the head of the household but that wasn’t my call.  The day she was born is still etched in my memory. It really didn’t hit me that I was a grandmother until then. He was overjoyed and I was so happy for him. I thought, perhaps the birth of his own daughter would light the fire in him to get a job and be the main provider for the family. I was optimistic that there was hope and his attitude and position in life would change.

I went to visit them twice. Once, a few weeks after she was born and again when she was 5 months old.  I was also able to see her at Christmas when I flew them all out to come to my home to spend time with us and the family here. It was so exciting to have a baby in the family. The youngest child in the extended family was eight years old at the time so a baby was happily welcomed. We all doted on her and I was elated to have a little girl around since I was a boy mom before she came along.  Everyone accepted the two stepdaughters with open arms. Some said it and others thought about it in their heads, that this will make him grow up and be a responsible man.

When they were all at my house during the Christmas break, I witnessed something that made me shutter but I turned the other way and put it in the back of my head. I was walking down the hall and passed the bedroom where they slept and had their belongings. He and the oldest girl who was 9 at the time, were laying down, on their sides in a spooning position. He was laying behind her and when I saw this, I thought to myself that it was inappropriate. I didn’t say anything.

I couldn’t wait to go see my granddaughter again, so I took advantage of the President’s Day three day weekend and flew there to visit. They appeared to be a happy, functioning family. He still didn’t work but she held down a solid job and provided for everyone. He took care of the girls and the baby while she worked. My granddaughter was 5 months old and so adorable. I doted over her. The older girls were so sweet and it was funny that they called me Mimi. I loved the idea of being a grandma because we can dote over them and spend time with them but give them back when we are ready to do so. Everything seemed good.

We shopped at the outlet mall while I was there. We walked around sightseeing and just spent quality time together.  He loves my cooking so I cooked him some of his favorite dishes the first night I was there. She worked evenings so he would pick the girls up from school, help them with homework, feed them and get them ready for bed. And when the baby came along, he really had his hands full. He was Mr. Mom and it worked for their little family unit.

On the second evening I was there, she had to work so we just hung out at the house. Before it got dark, he offered to pick up some dinner at El Pollo Loco. He took the oldest girl with him. When they got back, he prepared a frozen pizza for her and I noticed that she had some candy that he bought for her while they were out. No big deal then but I now know what that was all about.

As it got later in the evening, the girls bathed and settled down. I was taking care of the baby and was going back and forth between the master bedroom and the living room. The other daughter was in her bedroom playing with her toys and the oldest daughter was on her bed, in her own bedroom, playing on an iPhone. I was in the living room for an extended period of time with the baby and decided to get up and walk around.  You had to pass both secondary bedrooms before getting to the master. As I walked down the short hallway, I literally gasped at what I saw in the oldest girl’s room. I was shocked and speechless. They were both laying down on their sides in a spooning position with him behind her. I just stood there as she rolled over onto her back and pulled her panties up. He just laid there and acted like he was playing the the handheld device. No words would come out of my mouth. All I could do was walk away. I ran, like a coward.