Monday, April 16, 2012

368 Days - What Would You Do With a Second Life?

What Would You Do With a Second Life?
10:10 pm, Friday night, April 13th… ((Bzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzzz. Bzzzzzzzzzzzz))
The phone reads “Mom cell”… the only word to describe “mom cell” is, well… F*ck.
"This is it. This is the call." I think to myself. The Call. You know "The Call." "The Call" with a Capital "C"… the one that tells you that your father/mother/son/daughter/brother/sister/husband/wife is dead because of a heart attack/tragic car accident/robbery gone bad/drug overdose/drunk driver/aneurysm/enraged lover/liver failure/suicide that happened only moments before. The Call. The God forsaken, f*cking Call that you get at 10:10pm or 3:07am or 6:58 when you know your alarm isn’t supposed to go off until 7:05. The Call that you curse. The Call that you loathe. Or, The Call that you wish for, depending on the life you’ve led and the person you are. No judgments here, mind you.  I’ve had my fair share of wishing The Call on for reasons of my own.
"Barbara… it’s mommy" (Of course, because I’m who I am and she’s who she is I immediately give her the mental version of ‘duh’ in my mind. Shame on me.  Pathetic, really.) "Yeah, Ma. What’s up? What’s the matter? What is it?" I can hear her sobs on the other end and I think that it’s my father. My father; whom I haven’t spoken to in years because I finally reached the point of no return in our relationship. And emotion came over me and I braced myself for whatever the next sentence was while I sat in his lap attaching plastic Easter eggs to his mustache, and while I ran after the half-ball that he hit with the sawed off broomstick down at JFK stadium before they knocked it down. The Call was waiting for me, and I was ready for it whether I liked it or not.
"Barbara. Uncle Jay asked me if you could do something. He (sob) said that (sob) you are connected to everybody on Facebook? (she closed the statement out as if the word “Facebook” had been the word “Flogerhoplestengardenstein”… like she had never heard of it. May I present… my mother, ladies and gentlemen) And (sob) he wanted you to (sob) tell everyone (sob) that Jason is dead."
Jason is dead.
Hey. Everyone. Jason is dead. Details to follow.

What Would You Do With A Second Life?
Todd and I sat around the California dining room table while Uncle Jay went through the huge shoebox of pictures he had collected of all of us over the years. Timmy at his graduation from high school. Roseanne, Chris and Amy with their mom. My brother Steven when he finished Air Force basic training. Johnny and Kathy at Christmas. Me, at my first wedding. And pictures of our children were in the same box. Madison, and Ryan, and Roman, and Santo and Amanda. And he took each one out of the box with such care and passed them around. He knew each by name without looking at the back. And I looked at this man – my mother’s youngest sibling and the one that I always favored most – and I thought to myself "I would have loved to have had a father like him."
And then, he opened up to us. About his childhood. About losing his father at the age of three and his mother to breast cancer at the age of nine. About the relationship that he’s had with his own son, Jason, and the mistakes he made as a parent and how he wished he could do it over again. "I raised him with a heavy hand” he said “only because I didn’t know any other way. I had no parents and was raised by my brothers and sisters and that’s how they raised me" and I could see the pain in his face, and the hurt in his heart for both the parents he had lost and the parent he had become, and at that very moment it made me love him even more and hold him dearer to me than most people in my life.
I thought of him first when The Call came in. Of how life comes full circle. He had lost his father at three, and now his son was lost to his own daughter, who was not much older than one. And I cried a hard cry. You know the type… the ones that blind you from all light in the house. The ones that make you breathe heavier than your last 5K. The ones that make you sick, or vomit, or fall to the ground like you were shot in the knees by a sniper. I cried a genuine cry for the loss of a family member; of a blood that I never took the time to know. And I cried for the loss of a family member as I knew him; for my uncle, who would be a different man to me and those who know him from this day forward. The man I always knew was now dead; replaced only by a shell of himself that was born on April 13th, 2012, at not much more before 10:10pm.

What Would You Do With a Second Life?
Would you put the doughnut down?
Would you have had the abortion?
Would you say "I love you" more?
Would you not have that last drink?
Would you give your husband a second chance?
Would you not abandon your child?
Would you go back to school?
Would you go to school at all?
Would you have that affair?
Would you read them the book when they ask?
Would you not raise your hands?
Would you make love in public?
Would you spend more and make less?
Would you make more and spend less?
Would you tell your father to f*ck off?
Would you tell your mother you aspire to be her?
Would you go to Paris?
Would you go to jail?
Would you go where no other man has gone?
Or would you simply… just go?

I ask you now…
What Would You Do With a Second Life?


  1. There's much to say about second chances but, to ponder on "what if" drives me crazy. (yeah, yeah not a long trip, I know.) I often find myself wondering what life would be like had I made a left instead of a right on that inevitable fork in the road. Of course there would be things that I would change in life but, what's done is done. We cannot go back but, we can make the best of what is ahead and that is the only thing that is in our control. As I stated earlier on FB, life is short, we must make the most of it.

    P.S. NEVER put the doughnut down!

  2. WOW~ Your a very good writer. The questions that you asked at the end make you really think. Everyone favors uncle Jay I would think he's very caring, sweet, funny, just an all round nice guy. It's ashame that Jason is gone. Makes me really wanna change my life around completely, just for the better.

    Kate :)