Sunday, December 30, 2012


I have shared the middle image above, in this earlier post.  Ever since Marcus passed I knew I wanted a tattoo in remembrance of him.  

I had a design in mind.  We even had Jenny (she is the Jenny in the note that Alex wrote above) redesign an angel with Marcus' face.  The angel tattoo will will be for the future, but I knew once I was ready for a tattoo, Alex's chalk on paper sketch was it.  

When I posted this same pic on FaceBook - the original picture-taker had this to say. "I took that at my parent's house... Summer of 2005.  We had a spontaneous dance party and I snapped a picture of him.  Really happy memories."  Thank you so much Ms. Chloe!

So from an innocent enough picture.  To an inspired sketch by our youngest.  To my arm.  Forever.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Whole Bean Coffee

Another Holiday Season is upon us.  For my family another season of torment, melancholy and mind numbing sadness.  I walk around like a soulless zombie during these days.  My family and I try to be part of festivities but we mostly fail.  My extended family is great.  So welcoming and very understanding.  Well most are.  My friends are the same.  

It is cliche' and we have all heard it a million times.  The Holidays are the worst season for the blues.  The weather is wet and cold.  It just adds to the prevailing mood.  Seeing families celebrating  it what seems like endless laughter is a joy to watch.  I just wish we can have the same.  When I greet people and wish them a Merry Christmas and next week a Happy New Year, I mean it from the bottom of my heart.  I do hope they all remain merry and happy.

The picture above is the last Christmas gift Marcus gave me.  This is such a typical Marcus gift.  Over thought and a little off, but very sincere.  He knew I like coffee.  He knows I frequent Starbucks.  He wanted  to give me something unique so the special limited blend.  So far so good.  Here is where it goes "off" a little.  The coffee is whole bean and when he gave me this I did not have a coffee grinder.  When I told him this, he looked at me, as if to say, "So what's the difference?"  I had to explain to him that in order for me to brew this coffee I will have to grind it.  Oh!  Light bulb goes on - stares at package - and it clicks!  Whole Bean Coffee!  He assumed it meant WHOLE FLAVOR.  Don't ask.  I didn't.

Less than two months later Marcus was gone.  And yet here is my whole bean coffee still unopened - almost two months from the four year anniversary of Marcus' death.  

Fucking time flies even if you're not having fun.

By the way, we did buy a coffee grinder last year.  So now we have a package of unopened coffee and an unused coffee grinder still in the original box.

I just cannot rip open this golden foil packaging preserving the coffee.  Because if I do, the coffee will be gone - just like my son.

Merry Christmas everyone.  Cherish your family.  Hug your kids extra tight - tell them you love them a little sweeter next time you speak to them.  Treasure your time with your loved ones.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Tabor Memorial

After the accident, Marcus' friends and Tabor College put together a Memorial for him.  

I have only watched this once until this year.  I made the mistake of watching it by myself a couple of weeks ago.  

It was at the same time heart warming and heart breaking.  

I had to share this as a thank you to the loving friends of Marcus who loving put this together as tribute to his life and as a way to grieve.

I am also sharing this as a reminder to all of us to not wait until we lose somebody to let them know how we truly feel about them.

Tabor Memorial Part One

Tabor Memorial Part Two

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day Patricia!

Happy Mother's Day!

At John and Sheryl's Wedding

Alex and Mommy time.

 Marcus and three-day old Alex.

 At Dallas Academy Homecoming Game with Mydia

Goofy time after a game freshman year.

Finally a "Good" shot

I recall you saying "One more shot!"  Which turned into a dozen more or so.  So glad you insisted.  This shot is a treasure.

Alex with two of the best Mom's in the World 

Freezing in Hillsboro 

Senior Game 
Mother's Day 2002, with Marjorie a soon to be great mother then.

Your boys and I love you Patricia. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Another Post on Facebook

This is another post on Facebook by one of Marcus' friends on Facebook.

From Heaven Above

by Alicia Hendricks
on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 9:46pm

I wrote these words in what seems like not so long ago....
My hand shakes as my pen writes these words.
The tears stream down my cheeks to splash the page.
To grasp that you've gone makes my heart hurt.
I see your smile and your dancing eyes.
The laughter and humor in your voice rings in my ears.
I remember how you made me laugh till I cried.
Cracking jokes to lighten the mood or to ease my pain.
You lend an ear and give words of advice when I'm in need.
You were someone we all admired.
Always treasured and remembered in all the hearts that your character and personality touched.
We ALL will forever miss the fun loving YOU!!!
Marcus Manny

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Facebook post by one of Marcus' Tabor Friends

Marcus, 3 years ago you reminded us of how we can unexpectedly go "home" and leave many people behind feeling "homesick".

I'm glad that you encountered Jesus Christ on this earth, but now, you are face to face with Him.

May we sing these... words out these next few days, that "In Christ, there are no goodbyes. In Christ, there is no end. So I'll hold on to Jesus with all that I have, to see you again . . . to see you again."

Praying lots for you Roland, Patricia, and Alex. On this day, I am reminded of a laugh and a life that has pointed me to live everyday intentionally for Jesus. Love you all SO much!

The young woman that posted the above on each of our Facebook pages is Joanna Chapa.  A source of positivity and strength for our family since the accident.  The first time I recall meeting Joanna was when she helped us pack up Marcus' dorm room.  That day we met young persons like Joanna.  Grounded in God and Faith.  The funny thing is that we may not have known who she is if not for the accident.  Strange how things work out and I am absolutely clueless how and why things happen.  What I do know is that my family loves Joanna and we are fortunate to have her in our life now.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This is Marcus - from Modern Mom in Heels

Most of my posts usually talk about my grief, my wife's grief or our youngest's grief.

I sometimes fail in including other members of our family.

Other persons greatly affected by the passing of Marcus are my younger sister Marjorie and my younger brother Christopher.

Christopher lost his boyhood pal.  Marjorie lost a nephew and her Godson.

I am taking this moment to acknowledge my sister's grief on this post. 

I love my sister very much.  I still cannot believe that she is a Mom herself now and a great one at that.

She has been very supportive all through this ordeal.  The kind of support that is not intrusive or comes with strings.  She will just listen.  Sometimes thats all we need.

Here is a blog post she shared last week about Marcus. 

Please click on the link below.

Marjorie and Marcus might be Christmas 1993.

Me, my Lil' Bro Christopher and my sister at her engagement party

Christopher, Alex and Marcus in front of the house of my Mother-in-law circa 1994.

Marcus with my nephew Tristan, my sister's oldest kid on the day he was born.

At Tristan's Baptism.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Day that Changed Us

February 22, 2009

Before that day this February 22nd has always been Patricia's birthday.  President's day.  George Washington's birthday.

At around 6:15 PM of that day, this all changed.  Sure it is still all of those.  But it seized to be anything but the day this happened.

From that minute on, a heavy weight was set on my heart that will never leave.  At the same time a void so huge was created that created an emptiness that will never be filled.  Everything that I was ended, anything that I will be was sealed.  No matter what lows or highs I attain, there will always be a longing.  

That day guaranteed this never happens again...


or this...

and most off all this.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dodge ball in McPherson KS

I think this was during Marcus' freshman or sophomore year at Tabor.  Marcus and some of his friends entered a dodge ball contest.  It was fun watching this for the first time.  I try to film all of the activities our boys do.  Most of the time we never watch them again until much later.  Seeing these moments on video almost feel like seeing something new about Marcus. 

I think one of the most saddest thing about losing a loved one is the fact that you will never see anything new about them again. 

I believe that is why supposed mediums or channellers are so popular.  People like me get so desperate for a connection or a "conversation" to their loved one, that they can be easily victimized by con-men or charlatans.  

The Tabor boys won over the crowd.  They did so by not crushing their obviously out-matched opponents.  There was a squad of girls that were maybe high school or maybe even junior high aged, called The Pink Ladies.  The Tabor boys beat them by catching the balls thrown at them instead of trying to hit the girls.  They would even roll the balls back at the girls.  It was hilarious.  Of course the Tabor boys would feint throwing the balls and the girls will shriek in fright.  That match had the gym laughing out loud.  These were the same girls cheering the loudest as Tabor played Sterling college for the championship of the event.  Even though Tabor lost, everyone still had a blast.  *Quick side note - Tabor beat Sterling on the football field that year.*

Another thing to not is that the Tabor boys wore their "Band of Brothers" shirts.  That was a theme these boys really adhere to even now.

Here are those moments in four parts. 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part four - take note at around 10:25ish minutes when Marcus is the last man standing against Sterling College and the gymnasium started cheering him on screaming "Marcus, Marcus, Marcus!"

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I hate the month of February!

I do not care if it is Black History Month!

It is unfortunate that my wife was born in February.

I do not care for Valentine's Day!

I do not care for President's Day!

I hate the month of February.

I used to love the month.

Shortest month, leap-year month, tax refund month, blah, blah, blah.

I use to celebrate all of these days.

But no more.

February of 2009 is the shittiest month of all time.

February of 2010 was shitty.

February of 2011 was shitty.

February of 2012 is no fucking better.

Unless I am in coma in any future Februaries, I am certain they will not get better.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How do you answer a simple question?

If you were me, how would you answer this question?
How many kids do you have?

I always answer two.  Two boys. 

Usually the small talk dies off or changes subject.  But this instance while at the bank, the other person actually cared about my answers.  Instead of the other person just moving on, she pressed on.  How old are they?  "Twenty-six and eighteen," I reply.  She notices my Plano Wildcats shirt on and says, "I graduated from Plano.  Did they graduate from Plano?"  No I say, our youngest is a current Senior and our oldest went to Dallas Academy a private school.  She continues, "Is your oldest in school?"  "No, he graduated in 2009,"  I said. 

This went on until we got interrupted by the teller.

I just kept on talking as if both boys are still alive.  Detail after detail.  Where Marcus went to school.  What his major was.  If he played sports.  What made things worse was that the woman knows about Tabor College.  She has lived in Salina, KS and was very familiar with Tabor.  It was like a surreal bull ride that has gone way past eight seconds.  What if she ask if he is back in town?  What if she asks what he does now.  Luckily we never got to that. 

I do not handle this question right. 

Perhaps, people do not handle the answer correctly. 

If I say our oldest has passed, as I have sometimes, people start stammering and seemed to be put on the spot.  As if they have to show how sincerely caring they are for my loss.  Some just literally just want to hug or embrace you for the lack of words.  Some will try to empathize by saying, "Oh,  I have a friend that lost their kid, too."  Or some just totally ignore the statement as if not hearing my answer.

I know how Trish answers this question.  Her answer makes me smile.  Her answer makes me sad.  If it stays in the small talk, she answers as if both boys are still alive.  ALWAYS.  No blink - No hesitation - No look-aways.  But that is her.  It may be discussion for another post, but she will speak of Marcus in the present tense a lot.  A couple of our friends have approached me concerned that she may be in denial.  No she is not.  I think it takes a lot of fortitude to do what she does.  Like I said that is for another post. 

So how would you answer this question?

Our two boys at twenty-two and fourteen, for some reason wearing matching shirts, while I look-on in the background.  I think the shirts were Christmas gifts that year.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Videos from February 11, 2009

Three years and a day ago...

Marcus and his roommate Mario and the rest of their townhouse mates goofing around with a camera and an airsoft gun.
This was our son - so full of life, so full of joy.

We love you and we miss you Marcus.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Great Sorrow

"There is no greater sorrow than to recall happiness in times of misery." -
Dante Alighieri

While watching television with my wife the quote above was shared by one of the main characters.  It really resonated with me. 

Readers of this blog may think that we are living in a state of misery.  Yes we do.  But we still try day in day out to make something of our days. 

We may be broken in spirit, but our family is not broken.  We still have a great life.  My wife and I have each other to love.  We have Alex to embody our hopes and unfortunately for him the object of our affections. 

We have our extended family so willing to extend a hand to assist and shoulder to lean on.  We have friends that are just waiting to swoop in and be there for us. 

For this I am a rich man.

Yet I will not deny that there is a pall over us.  Hearing this Dante quote tonight made me think.  When do I feel the loss of Marcus the most?  Is it when I am miserable, having a tough day at work or juts an altogether lousy day. 

The answer is the opposite. 

I miss him more when I am having a great day.  I miss him the most when my family is cheery and together.  When my good days happen is when I think of him most.  Because he should be here to share those times.  It never fails, with Alex too.  Whenever he brings his brother up is during a laugh session of some sort.  I am certain he misses sharing laughs with him. 

So I guess the reason why the quote resonated to me is because of the exact opposite.  My greatest sorrow is that in my happiest of days, I am reminded of my most sorrowful hour.

After a win at KWU in Salina KS

At WalMart in McPherson KS waaay after midnight

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holidays 2011

Everyday is tough.  But if there is a time when my family misses Marcus the most it is during school breaks.  There is a certain panic that comes over me when I see the calendar counting down towards Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The sentimentality of these holidays feel like an elephant is resting on my chest.  The past couple of years we have done a great job distracting ourselves.  This year we failed miserably.  We did absolutely nothing.  We planned on joining my in-laws for Thanksgiving Day but cancelled the day before.  To their credit my in-laws were really gracious and very understanding.

Christmas was the same way.  No energy.  No celebratory spirit for the season.  New Years was exactly the same way.  I felt numbed.  Just going through the motions.  I hate being around our extended families, because I just feel like a wet blanket.  I feel like we are hindering all from a true celebration.  After counting down the New Year, I did all i can to stay festive and cheery.  But I felt like I just hit my limit.  Apparently I laid down and took a nap.

This year also marked the first year our youngest was not with Trish and I for New Year's Eve.  He chose to celebrate it with his girlfriend and a bunch of their friends.  I recall when Marcus first asked if he can celebrate New Year's Eve with friends I was angry.  But I finally warmed up to the idea that our boys will grow up and make their choices.  This year I was glad that Alex felt like celebrating.  I was Saddened that he was not there but at the same time proud that he is becoming independent.

My Lola being in the hospital since before Thanksgiving did not help much.  Although sending time with her and seeing her as feisty as ever towards the nurses, gave us plenty of reason to smile.  Lola means grandmother in Filipino. 

This year we at least tried to stay positive at each other.  No sniping. No taking out our frustrations on each another.  

Why do I share this?    Fuck if I know. 

Perhaps if you read this and you still arrogantly Text and Drive maybe you will stop. 

Pull over.  Wait. 

No text, post, tweet or picture is important enough.  None!

2003 was waaaay different from 2011.