A Note From a Sleepless Dad

I have no idea where I will end up in the later years of my life. The one thing I learned is life changes and life can change quickly and unexpectedly. I change. You change. People change and so do the landscapes of the places we used to know when we were younger. Life fades and so can memories, unless we nurture them.

I am not sure why people that supposedly love each other, split, break up or head off into totally separate directions. Perhaps this is life. Maybe this is just the way things go.
Who knows?

My life is my life and your life is yours. I know this and so do you. One day, I will tell you all about the life I’ve lived, which is why I keep these notes. I want to tell you about the good things and the bad things. I want you to know about the good, the bad and the ugly. I want you to know about everything because somehow, even in the worst of times and in the most desperate conditions, there was always something beautiful to see. It was just hard for me to see it. Or maybe I had to look deeper than flesh level. Either way, I knew there was something beautiful for me. I think this is what people call “Hope.”

One day, I will tell you all about the last day in August back when I was just a kid. I remember this well. I remember the fear and yet; I remember the relief I felt to know that as bad as things were, I knew something was about to change for me. Although I might not have liked the circumstances or the conditions, at least there was an answer. At least, I had that.  I certainly did not like my choices but in all honesty, I didn’t like my options before.
Sometimes life’s tragedies act like a catalyst to help create change . . .

In short, I self-destructed back then. I did this a few times throughout my life but this time is important to recognize because this was my first experience with consequences and circumstances, which were far beyond my control.
My behavior became a voice to speak for feelings that I lacked the vocabulary to explain. I was in a bad place for doing bad things. The smell was awful. The room was small. I was caged behind barred doors and sitting on a painfully hard bench next to an angry man. He was drunk. He had no shoes or socks on his feet. He was beaten and bloodied, reeking from body odor and alcohol. He was as big a man as I had ever seen before. He smelled awful. He looked awful. And God almighty, he was awful. One day I will tell you all about this.

I will tell you all about the window that was just about ceiling height in the long corridor.  I want you to know because I want you to understand what happens to a dream differed. I want you to know what happens when doubt and insecurity gets the better of you. I want you to understand what it is like to find yourself here, at the bottom, and somehow, find a way to get back on track and defy all of the lies we believe about ourselves.
As I recall, the windows I am trying to describe were horizontal and tilted outward and slightly opened, just a crack.
Outside, I saw a sliver of a new morning sky. I saw a glimpse of freedom. The sunrise was taking over the sky.
I was with bad men that did bad things; however, somehow, I knew there was freedom somewhere.

I have been to different places throughout my life. Not all of them were good but not all of them were bad either.
Perhaps, I have not been to as many places as you or anyone else. I have never been to Europe. I have never seen the Eiffel Tower, up close, and personal. I have never watched a sunset in Napoli or felt the water on my feet at the shoreline on the Amalfi Coast. But nevertheless, I can say I’ve seen things.

I watched a child come into the world. I was there to hear the last words of my Old Man. I was there to comfort my Mother when she passed. I have seen the sun go down at a place called Paradise, Arizona. And I can say that I have seen the most beautiful skyline, which is my skyline, or maybe it would be better to call this “Our” skyline. Either way, I was there in the Towers. I was there in the base just three days before the crash.

I was in front of the television when I heard the news. My friend Ronnie called me from work. He warned me, “Benny.”
The he told me, “They got Father Mike.” It was then that I turned to the television screen and there he was, my friend, Father Mike, being carried away from the rubble by a group of firemen.

Have you ever been smiled at by Father Mike or have him speak to you? Have you ever felt so down and then there he was, Father Mike, instinctively knowing that you needed a friend to make you smile?

One day, I will tell you all about the conversation Father Mike had with me. He was a kind man. No, he was a great man and now he is a Saint.

My God, I can’t say I’ve seen much.
But I can say that I’ve seen him

See, the thing is—
I want to tell you everything. I want you to know everything. Maybe this way you might understand why I behave the way I do. Maybe if you know, I won’t feel like such a secret; and perhaps then, I can let the past be my past. I can let my regrets rest for a while.

Rest for a while—

I love the sound of those words. I want to rest too but life has too much in store. Plus, I’m afraid sometimes that if I rest too long, the grass will grow underneath my feet and I might miss the chance to see something new.

It’s been a long, long time since I’ve seen too many of my loved ones. One day, I hope that I will see them again.
And I will go to tell them all about me—and they’ll tell me, “We know. We’ve been up here, cheering for you the whole time.”

I’m sorry . . .

Today comes with a heavy heart because I remember loved ones that are no longer near me or alive today. I am thinking about you, my daughter, and the life you are about to embark upon. I wish there were so many things I could have changed. But I cannot change time or anything as irreversible as the past.

One day, I will tell you all about my victories. I will tell you all about my faults and my flaws. I will tell you all about the journeys I took and the journeys I wished I never began in the first place.
One day, you will tell me all about you.
And I’ll want to hear every single word.

Sweetheart, life is the most fragile, most precious thing in the world. I suppose we take this for granted. I suppose we forget that time waits for no one (it passes you by) and the words we say have meaning—even if we don’t really mean them.

For every action there is a reaction. There are consequences for everything—but consequences only mean that something happens as a result. For example, there are consequences for cutting out of school. There are also consequences for studying hard and doing well. A consequence is just a result—that’s all. As a Dad, I just want you to have the best results possible.

I know a time will come when you are older, and although your level of understanding will mature, you will always lookback at these times with an opinion.

One day, I’d love to tell you all about me.

I want you to know everything that helps you understand who I am and where you come from.

Your Mom used to always say, “You came from my body,” which is true, but Punky, please don’t ever forget that I am the one that put you there.

I have kept these notes for a while now. Maybe one day you and I will read them together. Maybe I will change to an alternate level of existence and you will read this yourself. Either way, one day, I will tell you all about my life because I want you to know everything. I want you to know it all. I want you to know where my heart is and where my heart always was.
(With you)

One day I will tell you about the time I had to make a decision. I had to give myself permission to move and improve. I wanted to live better and be better.
One day I will tell you about the times that meant the most to me. I will tell you about the love I feel and the hurt I endured.

One day . . .

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