Dear Grandpa

July 7th, 2018.  Today is the one year  anniversary of your passing. I sit here on my computer, listening to Santana’s Suenos, just as I did when Kelly called me over to your bed side to check up on you.  I remember checking your wrist for a pulse, then your ankles, then your chest for signs of breathing.  No pulse, no breath. Just you, peacefully laying there. The trips to dialysis, the aches, the pains…all gone. The first word to come out of my mouth, “fuck”.  Why that?  Well, you decided to leave this earth right after dad left to go home and shower.  Perhaps you did it to spare him the pain of seeing his father pass in front of him.  Maybe you knew it would be hardest on him? I don’t know.  I told Kelly to get Aunt Christina and it seemed everyone came running in.  I made a few phone calls to my cousins and sisters and then went back to my computer to finish working on your funeral video…Suenos still playing in my headphones on loop.  Life for all of us changed that day.  We got together to watch the season opener of the Blackhawks game, your red chair sitting empty with only your jersey hanging over it.  The Hawks won that game 10-1 over the Penguins.  With each goal, I could hear you yell with excitement. In reality though, with each goal, my heart ached. I sat there looking at my dad, thinking how the hell is he handling this?  The man he shared so many hockey memories with, is no longer here. He can’t high five you.  He can’t call you to talk about the game. He can’t drive you home afterwards.  Too many times throughout this year I told my dad that we should call you to come over, just as my dad has done the same.  We stop right after we say it and kind of give an uneasy chuckle.  The first time I took grandma to Minhs without you, I sat there and stared at your chair. Grandma looked at me and said “Baby I know, I know”  I sat there, in a restaurant full of people, deaf to my surroundings.  I looked up at grandma and starting crying.  No more yelling at you for having too much liquids.  No more yelling at you for trying to get some soup when you know I could get it for you.  No more yelling at you for not using your cane.  No more getting you your ice cream cone and then putting you on snapchat, while you saying “put that thing away”. After your passing, we all put on our big boy/big girl pants and lived our lives like you would have wanted. I remember as you laid there, I whispered in your ear “we’ll take care of grandma for you”.  Well, that’s what we’ve done in our own ways. I wont speak for the rest of the family, I mean you can see from up there all the stuff they do for her.  I pick her up and take her to lunch, then get suckered into dropping her off at the casinos.  Each time I put on your cologne to see if she notices it. Nope. Of course my smell is different than yours so that’s probably why. Speaking of your cologne, one year later and it still smells new.  When Im upset or depressed I go into the bedroom, open and smell it. It brings a smile to my face. I met a girl named Sonia about 6 months ago and you would have loved her.  She’s a smartass and great with comebacks just like you were.  I wish you could have met her, but most of all I wish you could be here to welcome the child she is carrying.  Now this is where you would say “it’s not yours, you can’t do nothing with that little peepee”. Well I proved you wrong.

I miss you, I love you and not a day goes by that I don’t think about you.

Love,

“fat bitch”

My dad, grandpa and our Chicago Blackhawks.

On June 1st, 1992 I remember going into my dads bedroom where he was layin down watching tv. I sat on the edge of the bed, wondering what he was watching.  Turns out it was game 4 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals, which was the Chicago Blackhawks vs Pittsburgh Penguins. I remember asking question after question and he was happy to answer, even though the Hawks were about to get swept in the Finals.  What I didn’t know at the time was just how much my dad enjoyed the Hawks.

It wasn’t until a few years later in 1994 when I was in 8th grade that I actually learned how much the Hawks meant. My dad surprised me with tickets to my first Hawks game.  He said he wanted me to experience the sights and smells of the old Chicago Stadium. Now if you have ever been to Chicago Stadium, you know that it was old, small, smelly, and loud.

Looking back now, the best part wasn’t going to the game, but hearing the stories that my dad had of being a kid and running up the stairs to get a good seat for my grandpa and cousin Kenny.  My dad would talk about my grandpa taking him to Mama Schiavone bar and how some of the players would go in after the games and would chat with my dad and grandpa while that drank.  The 60’s obviously were a different time, since a young kid in a bar wouldn’t fly today.  Now after hearing these stories about Mama Schiavone’s, I figured it was just a simple high five and that was it. Then, in 2013 at the Blackhawks convention, I had the opportunity to talk to Bobby Hull as he signed my tattoo.  Of course my dad took advantage of the situation and asked Bobby if he remembered that bar.  And wouldn’t you know it, Bobby remembered. Not only did he remember, but he remembered chatting with my dad and grandpa. Of course you could chalk it up to him just agreeing for the sake of agreement.  But he started talking about the same stuff my dad told me about.  So just as my dad had the memory of meeting Hull with my grandpa, I have the memory of meeting Hull with my dad.

As I’ve stated before in a prior post, there are certain things you do with your parents, grandparents, or any family member for that matter that will lead to traditions, and those that will be etched in your mind. So tonight, almost 4 months to the day that my grandpa passed, we sit here getting ready for game 1 of the 2017/2018 NHL season. My grandma, aunts, dad and mom are all here…and even though I look to my right and see an empty red chair, I know my grandpa is sitting there.

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Chicago Blackhawks 2017

Tonight is the first preseason game for the Blackhawks. Normally, I’d be excited about this and call my dad and grandpa to see if they’re going to watch it, but not tonight. My dad and I decided not to go to the home opener, but rather watch it at his house, with my uncles, with my grandpa’s jersey on the chair he sat in. For the first time my dad will have to watch a game knowing he can’t call his dad to celebrate a win or pick him up to watch the game. Some of you may think that this is being over dramatic, but the Blackhawks were a bonding experience that was passed on through generations. Some may have memories of baking cookies with their grandma, or perhaps fishing with their grandpa, mine was celebrating a goal. As the Blackhawks take the puck past the blue line and slip the puck past the goalie, this celebration will be different, this celebration will be with tears. 318309_10150344824679326_13401254_n

Let’s talk about this thing called life.

When i was younger my dad was in a car accident while working that was pretty bad. His car flipped over a few times, flipped over some railroad tracks and landed wheels up.  Luckily he was just a little banged up and all I can really remember was seeing him with a neck brace on.  Being as young as I was, I didn’t understand the severity of what could have came from that accident.

In 2013 I saw first hand what alcohol can do to someone when my uncle passed away from cirrhosis. It sucked seeing someone who was such a strong person slowly deteriorate.

Around last year, one of my mom’s had a slight heart attack.  That was one of the first times in my life that I was truly scared about losing someone close to me.  Thankfully nothing serious came from it and now she is back to being her old grouchy self again lol.

Now lets fast forward to a few weeks ago.  My sister called me saying that my biological mom was in the hospital due to excessive bleeding. Side note, my mom has not been to a doctor/hospital in about 33 years.  Yes, 33 years is not a misprint.  Anyways, so my sister and some other family members convinced my mom to get a biopsy even though she is scared shitless of doctors.

Last week again my sister called me, and informed me that it was stage 2 uterine cancer.  Now a part of me was saying “fuck, it’s cancer”.  Then another part of me was saying “well it is uterine so an operation and chemo should kill it”.   But here is the thing.  My mom and stepdad do not really believe in pharmaceutical drugs and crap like that, they lean more towards the natural b.s..

So I just sat there thinking to myself. Is she going to take the advice from the doctors or is she going to just try some natural bs that probably wont work?  But as I sat there, now with tears in my eyes, I said, well who am I to judge.  She can do what she wants because it’s her life. I understand that some may find that disheartening, but if I was sick, I wouldn’t want people telling me what to do.

This I believe is where my sister and I are going to butt heads.  I have told my mother that i will support her in any decision that she makes. Mind you, ANY DECISION THAT SHE MAKES, not what my sister wants or what my stepdad wants.  My sister on the other hand wants my mother to do all she can to get healthy and I agree with her.  But you can’t force someone to go through chemo, or radiation, or take pills the rest of their life if they don’t want to. I feel it would be selfish of me to tell you what to do.

I did go to Missouri a few days ago to see my mom and sister.  I went not only because it had been a few years since i’ve seen my mom but also because i wanted to tell her to her face that I support whatever she does and that I love her.  I also went up there to try to convince her that my sister needs to be her power of attorney and not my stepdad.  Now this is NOT meant as a slap in the face to my stepdad.  He is a truck driver and it could take him up to 48 hours to get back home.   If something were to happen to my mom, I wouldn’t want them to try to get a hold of him and him not answer his phone or can’t come back right away.  Leaving my sister there helpless. I also wanted to try to get my mom to let us know what she wants done funeral wise. Unfortunately my mom thinks that we are trying to put her in her grave already and of course that is not the case. I just want everything in writing so my sister and my stepdad don’t end up fighting over her wishes if she tells him one thing and tells us another.

Because my sister lives in Missouri, just 40 minutes away from my mom, I give her total respect and love for taking on this responsibility of caring for our mom.  I could move up there and help her but i think that would do more harm than good. My sister has lived with my mom since she was born and knows how to deal with my mom, unlike myself who hasn’t lived with her since i was 7.  My mother is set in her ways and my sister is used to it, whereas I am not.

My mom has agreed to have the operation, but the chemo/radiation will be the big obstacle.  Now we just have to wait and see…

Chicago Cubs

The last time I wrote on here was back in Sept. Where the hell did the time go?  Actually i haven’t posted anything on here for one simple reason, my job.  Being that I now work for the government, I have to be smart with what i write.  For those that have followed my post for awhile, you know that I tend to write about things that a few people may find politically incorrect. Unfortunately we live in a world where people get butt-hurt over the littlest of things. Later today i will be doing a video blog about tattoos, specifically mine. I will also speak about the Bradley Lopez name and why I used it instead of my real name. I’ve included some shirts that i made for each round of the playoffs and a few pics of my family.  

So in the tradition of Things On My Mind, here is number 1….a little late of course.

1.  For life long Cubs fan Nov. 2nd will go down as the day the world stood still. People young and old cried as soon as Rizzo caught the ball from Bryant. The thing about the Cubs is that the term Lovable Losers was common place year after year. You knew the Cubs weren’t going to win it all but that didn’t stop millions of fans from visiting Wrigley for a game or watching in front of the television with their dad or grandfather.

2015 was different though. Although they were swept by the Mets in the NLCS, as Cubs fan, you knew we had a special team.  What if the saying “Next Year” really meant next year?  It’s weird as a Cubs fan to read the preseason World Series predictions and see the Cubs in the top spot. A couple of new additions to the team and now World Series contenders.  Besides a few hiccups throughout the 2016 season , the Cubs were the championship caliber team that we expected them to be.

Back in 2003 during the 8th inning of game 6 of the Cubs NLDS game vs the Marlins, I stood in line waiting for just 5 outs knowing I’d be the first in line to buy a NLDS championship shirt.  What happened instead was one of the worst innings any Cubs fan has had to live through. I, along with hundreds of thousands of Cubs fans stood there screaming at the top of our lungs at a guy with headphones instead of directing that anger towards a Cubs team that gave it all away.

Fast forward to game 7, 8th inning of the 2016 World Series. Cubs up by three..then by two…then tied. Jesus Christ not again. My brother in law yelled at me because i went to use the restroom and sat in a different spot then I had the entire game and that’s what caused them to lose the lead.  Don’t mind the fact that Chapman was overused, but hey superstitions are OK too!  So we sat there for the rest of the 8th and 9th innings praying to the baseball gods that Cleveland wouldn’t score another run, and thank god they didn’t.

For the Blackhawks, the number 17 was a lucky number,as in 2 goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup.  Well, as luck would have it, number 17 showed it’s face again. This time however, 17 minutes not seconds,the time it took for a rain delay. As a Cubs fan, I saw this delay as a way to re-energize the team. The Cubs took the field and with a man on first and second, Zorbrist hit a double.  The Cubs would later score another run, giving them a 2 run lead.  This is it! This is our time! Finally! Of course Cleveland wasn’t going to go out without a fight and managed to score another run.  With 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, in game 7 of the World Series, millions of Cubs fans held their breath…

 

I forgot to include this in my original post, but I went to Dicks Sports to buy some WS gear and wouldn’t you know it, my price came out to 108.00.   Thought this was awesome being that it was 108 years since they won.  The people around me were like dude you need to save that receipt. lol 

We are gathered here today, to get though this thing called life…

2016 is turning into the year of celebrity deaths.  Hearing about Prince’s death today was a surprise that was right up there with Kurt Cobain, Micheal Jackson and David Bowie.  Of course some will mention Lennon and Elvis, but I am only speaking of artist in my time.

Prince had 48 records, although about 10 of those were greatest hits.  I wasn’t a huge Prince fan but i did own three of his CD’s,  Purple Rain, Batman Soundtrack, and Diamonds and Pearl’s.  Of course he had other hits that i liked, but again I wasn’t a big enough fan to keep buying more CD’s.

The movie Purple Rain is right up there with Shawshank Redemption, if you are flipping through the channels and see that it’s on, it stays on.  The great thing about that movie is that it had one of the best soundtracks of all time.  I can only imagine how people felt seeing it in the movie theaters, you got to see a movie and basically a free concert.

The cool thing about him was how many damn songs he wrote for other artist, all while not including his name as the writer.  Nothing compares 2 U by Sinead O’Connor, Manic Monday by Bangles, Stand back by Stevie Nicks, How Come You Don’t Call Me Anymore by Alicia Keys just to name a few.  Lyrically the guy was a genius.

I heard about Prince’s death from my wife.  After she told me, the first thing I (along with probably hundreds of thousands of fans) was go to YouTube to jam out to his music.  The problem is though, Prince didn’t allow his music on YouTube. He was the Lars Ulrich before Lars.  Prince felt that since isn’t getting paid loyalties from YouTube, his music shouldn’t be on it.  So now I sit here typing this, listening to an older version of Purple Rain that someone just uploaded on YouTube.  People must think that just because he is now dead, that his estate wont continue to remove music lol   

The Goblin King is now joined by a Prince