So I'm Thinkin' About Forgiveness

Even though Jorge was the baby boy of the family, I always had a sense that there was something off between Dad and Jorge.

I remember when I was about four or five the police was called at two in the morning because in a drunken rage, Dad had taken the mattress Jorge was sleeping on and had flipped it with Jorge still on it.


The Safety Dance

The summer my mom botched her pacemaker battery replacement surgery I stayed in El Paso for six weeks. That's the longest I have ever stayed there since moving away for college in 2002. 

Paying It Forward

There isn't anything specific Jorge did like serving at a soup kitchen every Thanksgiving or donating X amount of money each year, but he was a generous guy. If he ever saw someone in need and he could help, he did. I remember him stopping to pick older people up from the side of the road because he was concerned about them walking for long distances in the desert heat. 


Messing with Mota #1

If you know me, then you know that I love to laugh. If I'm not finding a reason to laugh, then there is something truly wrong with me. The love of laughing, as you might guess, is a result of Jorge's influence on me. 



Going on a car ride when I was a little kid was always the most exciting thing. Often times, we rode the bus or walked anywhere we went because my mom didn't drive. Because my dad's job was driving a taxi, often times he wasn't home and if he was, he was either sleeping or drunk. When we did family things, it was often just my mom and us kids. 


Musical Links

Growing up, my mom always said that when someone died, you were supposed to be in luto, grief. You were supposed to wear black, not partake in any types of festivities, and not play any music. But how can I not listen to music when it was such a big part of my relationship with my brother.


Career Moves

The fall of 2016, the same semester I stopped teaching 7th graders, I started teaching an evening class at one of the local community colleges. It was one of those sort of things that is put out there and then it just happens. It was one of those sort of things that I will later think back on and feel like it was fate intervening. 

Since fall of 2016, every Monday and Wednesday, I rush off my day job campus like a bat out of hell to get to my college class. Some days, the days feel so long. I get so drowsy on my drive. I often stop to get tea in some variety to caffeinate me enough to deliver my evening performance. When class starts, I dig deep and pull out all the energy I can muster to teach. I always try to give my students my all. 

Lately, my evening gig has been my saving grace. Even though I know I'll be exhausted by the end of the night, I look forward to teaching. I look forward to seeing my students and talking to them about reading strategies or sharing interesting articles with them. 

All this is causing me to truly question whether or not I want to begin the graduate program I was accepted to. My graduate degree will be in educational management which will take me further away from students. I could be an assistant principal or work in an administration level job writing curriculum. And, I just don't know if this is the right move for me. So many people tell me I'd be so good at any of those jobs. But then, there's that feeling I get when I teach my students and build those relationships with them. I miss that so much. 

I want to get to a point in life where I don't have to work two jobs. But will moving up in the public school system be right? 



I've had a lot of time to reflect recently, and I can't stop coming back to this idea of human resilience.  

Over the last week, I've had time to go through my journals and have seen how I've processed my grief the last several months. I've seen how I've sometimes been stopped cold by my good friend and others soared past it. These days, it feels like I'm in a better place. Guilt and hurt make fewer cameos while perspective and empathy play the staring roles.  

I used to often wonder why. Why did he have to die? There are so many people that are in worse condition, and he was the chosen one. But the truth is, I don't know how bad it was because I tried to stay out of his life. Although I still cared about him after our break up, I know that he still loved me, and I felt like being an active participant in his life could keep him from moving on. I wanted more than anything for him to find someone that loved him how he loved me. Someone who could give him the children he so longed for. 

Instead, I was given complete freedom from him. I was taught to truly put my well-being before anyone else. And I was given opportunities to change the course of my life from the black abyss I often saw as my only future. 

I found a passion for running which led to some weight loss and being physically active in a way I hadn't been in years. When I was heavier, I remember getting motion sickness in the swimming pool. On the Fourth of July, I swam back and forth several times in my sister's pool and chased around four giggly girls who claimed I was a shark for at least twenty minutes and didn't feel a rumbling of motion sickness. I've seen my mile/minutes time decrease as the year of running has progressed. I like how when I look in the mirror before my shower; my belly is where it was when I used to suck in my gut. And when I smile real big, you hardly see my double chin. When friends suggest doing something physically challenging, there's no longer that fear that maybe I'm too fat to do it. My last doctor's visit was very positive. She was so happy with my weight loss, and all my labs came back normal. I find myself standing taller and looking brighter with a healthy glow from all all the sun I get. If it hadn't been for Daniel, I don't know that I would be so committed to my running. 

In early May, my oldest sister's husband passed away. Like Daniel, he'd had an illness that he chose not to taper with consistent doctor visits and lifestyle changes. The time we spent in El Paso with her was a blur. My other sister and I were there for everything from the moment we arrived--the meeting with the funeral home, the meeting with the people from the cemetery, the visits from family and friends asking "what happened?" I hated having to see her retell the story every time. Part of me wanted to record her telling it, so she didn't have to do it every time someone new came by. I didn't want to see her break every time. It shattered my heart when my niece came home from work crying because so many people had gone into the store where she worked to tell her they knew her dad and were sorry for her loss. What I remember most clearly from that time was the overwhelming feeling of helplessness I felt at the funeral because there wasn't anything I could say or do to make the process easier for them. They are going to be broken for a long time because grief hangs around as long as it feels like. It annoys me to see people comment their sadness on my sister's status when she posts something about Joe. I always want to tell them that they just need to love and support her. She doesn't need to know how much they are hurting because it really can't compare to what she and her girls feel. Had I not had a recent experience with it, then I don't think I would know this. 

So, I keep moving through this with my shoulders squared back and my head a little higher because that's the only way. I see these life challenges as an opportunity to learn and lead a happier life. And right now, I think that true happiness is most certainly going to be a constant in my life because my spirit is resilient.