Friday, October 03, 2008

Ten Years Gone

On this day ten years ago, my father died. It's a helluva mental trip to even go back in memory, thinking about that day and night. Today, ten years later, I felt the same pain in my chest. The same tightening in my shoulders as though I had some major stress gripping my body. That's how I felt on October 3, 1998 even before I learned of his death. I remember I was with a friend and for whatever reason, I couldn't sit still. I kept thinking about my mother for some reason. And when I did see her, the first thing I noticed was a picture of my father in her hand. She didn't have to say word. I knew before she confirmed the first thought that ran through my mind. He was gone and that was the beginning of a sad and very trying time in my life. Death and funerals can bring out the worst of times... sometimes... So-called friends of my father decided and acted as if they owned his life while he was among the living. Their orchestrated greed enabled them to take all his money and material possessions. My mother did her best on my behalf. All she wanted was to make sure there was money to be used in taking care of the mother, my father left behind aka my grandmother, Senora Rivers. My father's body was flown to east Texas via a lot of confusion from Richmond, California where he lived his last years. The orchestration was so intense that they even sought control over the wording of the funeral program, thereby seeking to make it appear as though I didn't exist. My mother and I had a crazy time making sure the funeral program was worded as it should be. During this time, I held tight and still do to that last time I saw my father. He told me he was proud and said "love you, son." We hugged. It was a strong and reassuring moment. Previous to that we'd had a not so positive moment with mutual misunderstanding involved but in that last time together, we'd reconciled everything in a way that I can positively hold onto forever. Those individuals that took everything went on about their way, despite having promised my grandmother to do things that would keep her comfortable. They enlisted a cousin of mine who fell for possible financial promises. She took advantage of the situation but never made out as big as she'd hoped for. In the end after my grandmother passed away three years later, this cousin asked me for five grand; payment for all the help she claimed to be doing because she "loved her auntie so much." Love... I said no and never heard from her again...

Ten years ago after my father was buried and I was met with the responsibility of taking care of my grandmother, I welcomed the honor of doing all that I could to keep her comfortable. I'm grateful that my mother lent a very strong supportive hand. I took a three week trip and spent two of those weeks with my grandmother. The other week I set out on a special journey, driving from east Texas to the Mississippi Delta region. I had my father's spirit by my side and whenever I think about it, I can recall every minute of that special trip. I can remember the music playing on the radio, the food I ate, the smell of the country, the cool temperatures during that third week as October was coming to an end. I remember everything.. And now, ten years later, ten years gone, what happened back then feels like a lifetime ago one moment and the next minute it feels like yesterday. I've had a lifetime of experiences in between those moments that still remain... Moments that have to do with missing his presence. As he watches my life continue from above, I've probably given him reason to cheer and jeer.. Reason to laugh and cry... reason to smile and say "got!" which usually preceded a silent, "damn.." I believe that no matter what, there's deep pride and I'm sure he still smiles when he says out loud, "There go that Rivers kid." In memory of my father.. this is for you dad... Love alwayz..

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