Category Archives: Life, Universe, and Everything

Michael’s Mom

Friday April 1st 2016
This was a hard weekend. Not so much for myself but for my friend Michael Vega. Michael’s mother, Bishop Felicita Vega had been battling cancer for a little over two years, and this week she passed away. Tuesday March 29th at 8:11 am at NY Hospital of Queens formally Booth Memorial Hospital.

The Thursday before, March 24th Mike and I spent a good hour or so on the phone. We talked about my workouts and how surprisingly I had been sticking with it. We also discussed my work situation. This was the week after my boss told me he was leaving. It was a crazy situation which Im still unsure about how it will play out. It was a good conversation, especially since it had been many weeks since we last spoke.

That Saturday, March 26th was Easter weekend. Andrea and I got up early to head down to Paxton. Sometime after leaving Chicago city limits I was browsing Facebook when a new post popped up from Michael about his mother being hospitalized.

I informed Andrea as she was driving. I called Michael immediately. 11:24am He picked up the phone, emotions streaming. I asked him what was happening. In a few words he told me that his mother had been hospitalized on Thursday and that things were not looking very good. I think at this point they were still going back and forth with doctors as to how she could fall ill so quickly. It would not be until I arrived later in the week at the funeral that I would learn more of the situation. I told him I loved him and his family and hoped that things will be ok. I let him go. Shortly after I began to cry hard. My love and fear for Michael’s situation just triggered that deep emotional sadness that we experience sometimes. After my crying subsided I called my Mom and informed her of what Michael had told me.

Mike started a gofundme page for his mom that went live Easter Sunday.

In not wanting to inundated Mike with calls and worry i waited until the following day to call him back. This would be after we left Andrea’s parents house to head back to Chicago. He answered, somberly he informed me that they had reached the point where his mother had been intubated and that she was terminal. There had been discussion of surgery but that it would only prolong her life by days. They were also extremely risky and that she might not survive it. At this point it was down to their family to decide when they would take her off life support. It would either be Monday or Tuesday. At this point they had already began looking into funeral homes as he informed me that a nearby Funeral home had availability on Thursday and Friday. I told Mike to let me know when that was scheduled and Id plan accordingly to attend. He thanked me and we got off the phone.

I did not contact Mike beyond a few text messages that week. On Tuesday morning on my commute to work Mike posted on Facebook that his mother had passed away. I texted as i was on a crowded bus. The rest of the morning and afternoon I looked into flights to nyc wondering if i should go or not. I was also worried that my work responsibilities would prevent me from leaving since i was to receive robs instructions in his last week. Later in the mid afternoon i called my mom for advice. I told her that mike was trying to raise $20,000. And that i had already donated $200. In looking at flights i was looking at about a $400 to $500 flight on short notice. That maybe I should donate the money instead of flying out. She told me that the money didn’t matter, and that my presence matters more than anything. That the church would handle it. Being there was more important. She was right of course. Shortly after I booked a $300 Southwest flight to arrive Friday Morning April 1st. I then called back my mom and gave her the flight details. With my mom on the phone I told her how sad I was and began to cry hard again. Its that emotional sensitivity that I learned about just recently. That reaction we get when we see an injury on TV. That your brain reacts as if you are experiencing the injury. This was in my sadness for Mike as well as the fear of losing my own mother. It eventually subsided and she told me to go wash my face.

On Friday I arrived into LGA at around 9am. By now, funeral services had already been set for Tuesday and Friday starting at 2pm with 7pm services. Saturday would be a morning service at 9am with burial at 11am.

Though i probably should have done some work while waiting for 2pm i mostly slept on Mom’s sofa chair. I was just so tired. I did manage to send out some emails. I arrived at the church shortly after 2pm. I walked up to the 2nd floor crossed that little hallway and opened the door to the church. There was Michael’s mother in her casket just in front of the stage. There were three seating areas. I remember being impressed by the changes they had made since the last time I had been there. There weren’t many people there. Maybe 10 to 20. I didnt recognize anyone i knew. I just sort of stood in the back wondering where i should wait. Then I noticed Mike and Teresa were sitting in the front row directly in-front of Felicita. I walked to them and hugged them both. Mike then recounted the week for me. He did so in his official Michael tone. Very matter of fact, removed of any emotion. A practice ability given his experience in Healthcare and social work. I recall feeling odd about it and then later thinking that it may have been a strength of his that i could not have had, had i been in his shoes. I teared up a few times during his story. Just the week before Felicita had been experiencing stomach issues. Loss of appetite and pains. On Thursday, shortly after we had talked he had found out that his father had taken her to Booth Memorial Hospital. He and Teresa went there. He said that the staff was being very unresponsive. Not helpful at all. Each update just informing them of more delays. It was not until he put on his Hospital Associate Director badge that they began to bend over backwards to supply them with updates. After 5 hours of waiting they informed that she was then terminally ill. A shock of course after 5 hours of zero real information and no urgency in the communication. From that point on Im sure they fell into an emotional Rollercoaster of fear, anger, and sadness. The following day, Friday, Felicita’s pain would become so great that they decided to sedate her completely. Mike said that later people told him that even though she was sick in the ICU prior to being sedated she had been texting many people checking up on them. Making sure they were alright. For me, this would solidify in my mind who Felicita was. Over the next two days I would come to learn more about Felicita than i had known.

Growing up, Michael’s mom was just Michael’s mom. I knew a long time ago she was a nurse or something as my mom had known her in some way from working at Parkway Hospital. Later i knew she became a pastor. And her and Michael’s dad Michael Jose would run the church together. Beyond this, i really had no more information on who she was. Again, she was just Michael’s mom. It wasn’t even until the Gofundme site that I learned that she obtained the title of Bishop. In-fact, the first female Bishop within the network of Christian churches that they were apart of. Michael’s mother led an amazing life in working for Jesus Christ. She, unlike anyone else i have known, truly put others before herself. I learned of many stories in which Felicita entered into someones life to help them at a difficult time. And then to continue with them on life’s journey to always check in on them, always remember them, and to continue to help them when they needed help. One pastor recounted a story in which he was presented with an immense responsibility in taking over a church or position. Not sure which. Felicita didn’t know the man, but she had known the woman that had been his predecessor. He said he picked up the phone and she said “Hello my name is Felicita Vega, we have never met but I recently learned of your situation and I wanted to offer you some help and advice if you care for it”. He said that it was this day that he experience and learned without a shadow of a doubt, that when you truly need it God will send you someone to help you. This is something I too believe. It is up to the individual whether or not to accept it or turn it away. For many people, this is who Felicita was. In a time of need she was there. You did not have to ask for it. Though you would never be turned away. As soon as she learned of your struggle she would be there. She would reach out. She would make contact. She would help you in that difficult time. And not always in that loving light tone you might expect. Another pastor recounted a time in which he was meant to attend an important event but because of his irrational fear of lighting he couldn’t. She had called him and demanded to stand up, be a man, and get his butt over there. She was to present to him a plaque that resides in his office as a memory to face your fears and be a man when you need to.

The stories i learned of Felicita were sometimes fun and sometimes serious. And with each, Michael’s mom, stopped being Michael’s mom and began to become Bishop Felicita Vega, this amazing woman who was a wellspring of love, support, and comfort. For a moment I felt a pang of jealousy followed by a longing for a missed opportunity. All this time in the 26+ years i had known the Vega family, there was this amazing woman that i could have been closer with had i taken the time to get to know her. To bond with her in way beyond being the mother of my best and first real friend. But at the same moment in feeling this, I looked over to Michael and realized that I had bonded with her. She never reached out to me and I too her because i was already being taken care of by her son. That through my buddy Michael Vega, I too would receive the care and support from him as what was taught to him by his mother and father. I then contemplated upon the physical and emotional distance that has separated me and Mike over the last 10 or so years. As well as the distance formed between myself and all of my closest friends. One of Felicita’s most loved traits was her ability to remember and to always be checking in on the health and well being of those around her. I used to do that quite a bit. But not much in recent years. From now on I’m going to make a effort to stay in touch with those I care about. Want to make sure that they are well and be that support for them if they need it. Its such an easy thing and yet I’ve gotten so caught up in my little professional world that I’ve neglected my personal world. I suppose the fact that Felicita’s Professional world was her Personal world made her exceptional at caring for both at the same time.

One day I was thinking about life….

My Friend:
read this, its brilliant

Error42: eh but i dont think i equate money to happiness

My Friend: its a blog fool, read the whole article, its about more than that

Error42: yeah yeah im nearing the end

Error42: errr lol wait thats not the end lol

My Friend: lol yeah, i was like uhhh yeah….the article is liek 5 pages

Error42: does this guy have a video cause i cant read all this and work at the same time

My Friend: save it, save the entire thing

Error42: thats why i watch/listen to video

My Friend: im gonna buy the book

Error42: kk linked… thing is… i have a different view about life than most i think

My Friend: no you dont
My Friend: noob
My Friend: 😀

Error42: wow… i really thought.. that my sentance just then was going to spark a very deep conversation about life and my reason for living…. however… your response… kinda killed that with impunity

My Friend: 😀
My Friend: heheheheheheheheh
My Friend: go ahead mr. gopez
My Friend: testify!

Error42: no! i dont wanna anymore.

My Friend: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

Error42: lol

My Friend: 🙁

Error42: eh. its an odd thing really. dont know if i can explain myself very well. … it kinda came about while i was thinking about… a book i was writing

My Friend: figure it out whilst i call swapnil

Error42: figuring out this religion for this book
you know the whole… question about “why are we here” and all that
what is our reason for being
like scientists and all the religion haters.. would call bull shit and all that
evolution and all that right
no god etc etc
there is a philospher who said that the reason for being is doing what an animal does by instinct
like… a bird in the wild… is doing what it was created to do
it lives.. it breads.. and it does what it does… and when you look at the circle of life… you can show exactly how what a bird does on a daily basis.. actually.. is an important part of ecology
same thing with worms right… they do what they do .. and because of it… grass and plants can thrive… birds can eat… etc etc
circle of life and all that right
well i was thinking… well what are the nuts and bolts of man
like what is it that man does
and like if you were to sum it up.. one could say… we create.. and we evolve
more than any animal…. mankind .. has been able to create and change our surroundings… writen language, technology… etc… the whole achievements of civilization… (video game ref)
like thats what man does right
so anyways… i was thinking.. well thats what we do.. but why would we do that?
so i … started thinking about.. God right
and this is sorta where my book comes in
like there is a line right.. that God created man in his own image right
so like why would he do that?
so i was thinking.. what if… there is a god right… but.. he’s just a god right
but its not like… he can do everything right.. but he cant do everything
like what if he just wanted to create… another god so that he had someone to talk to
cause god is by himself right
if there is only 1
anyways … the idea is… that god could not create another god… .for some reason.. that was not allowed
so he instead created man
and gave man .. the ability.. to become gods… but could not just give them.. the power outright… he just came up with this idea that as long as we did it on our own… it was legit
so .. .. the reason… mankind… has this … ability to become more and create.. and change ourselves.. is because thats what we are meant to do
we are meant to evolve… to create technology… and one day.. we will become gods
and then God would be like…. “Dang that took longer than I thought,… so… you wanna play chess?”
and then Man will respond “Meh…. nah…….. checkmate”
ok that last part wasnt really part of my thinking.. but i felt the need to throw it in there.

My Friend: when is your book coming out?

Error42: idk… so anyways… one of the problems with the human race is that… we are divided
but… we recently… created a piece of technology… that should.. bring us to the next stage of evolution

My Friend:
My Friend: 😀

Error42: the idea is that…. its not just one person that is suppose to become god… its that… we all.. are… that .. all of mankind.. is suppose to work together… but we cant work together
i mean.. you hear it all the time… we are connected you know
like my life will effect yours.. and yours will effect others…so and so forth. And if you sat down and wrote down.. everything you’ve ever done.. you’d be able to see… how your actions… changed the life.. of some dude in California… who changed some girl in Japan… who changed some girl in Russia
etc etc right
The Internet… has the ability to.. connect all of us
for the first time in all of our history… we now have the ability to connect to everyone around the world
its the first step… in becoming…. one race.. the human race
sooooo … my reason for being…. is to … somehow… change… humanity… for the better
everything we do….should be… to help evolve mankind… take mankind to the next step

My Friend: mabye you should sharpen your focus
and improve the lives of people close to you

Error42: however…. the problem is.. mankind is broken… we are too occupied.. with our own lives…. i think the WORST idea ever to come into mankinds mind.. is that Life is about Living and having a good time before you die
because…. if we all just cared… about ourselves… and nothing else…. what would be the point of having so many of us to be alive
if that was our reason for being.. than… there would only be one person.. he’d be immortal and he’d be sitting alone masturbating until the end of time
no i dont think we are suppose to live for ourselves…. we are suppose to live for each other
its weird… one thing that is important.. is that.. this way of thinking…is not suppose to replace religions…. there is a common ground that all religions can coexist
the United Nations.. was actually… in my opinion.. a huge step in the right direction… the problem is… the majority of people in POWER… only care about keeping that power… and getting more power…. wealth… and money… greed.. and all that…. so even though the United Nations is an awesome idea… it is hindered.. by other human motivations
religion.. in itself.. is a great idea…. however.. it is controlled by human motivations… so it becomes tainted
like in politics…. politicians.. using religion.. to gain power… this is the opposite of what religion is suppose to do
if you are to say that there is one god… and that one god created all of us humans… than that means he also created all the other religions…. but why would he do that? he wouldn’t do that so that we would kill each other until one religion survived… he did it because he himself is made up of everything… the religions of the world are suppose to come together
i know it sounds like an impossible thing… but then again.. if you believe in god… than you’re suppose to believe in impossible things existing

My Friend: pax

Error42: pax indeed

My Friend: what are you going to do with all of these thoughts and information?

Error42: dont know… currently the only idea that ive had so far… is to write it down
maybe when i get enough money… i’ll figure a way to get on TED and be like…. “yo peep this bitches….”

So…marriage and video games.

so we are getting married in less than a week.  i have a lot on my mind.  one of those things being the game dead island.  i was looking forward to this game!! i was thinking this could be fun like resident evil 5!  then i learned it’s only 1 player…of course…you can only play people online! so yeah i can play my friends….but what if i want to play my friends sitting next to me in the same room!!  why are they not making games like this anymore!  the last racing game i bought was like this also….seriously how can you not make a racing game so you can play your friend sitting right next to you…not my friend sitting at their house on their computer all alone playing me.  everything is becoming so anti-social!  it is so freaken lame!   there are barely any games anymore at least ps3 that are 2 player, not online.  i remember growing up playing video games with friends…getting food and pop and spending hours in front of the tv playing racing games, road rash, and sonic….now it’s just one player games killing things with your online friends.  stupid!!!  now not all we did was play games…and even now playing video games is a rare occasion, but when i want to there’s nothing to play anymore.  just lame games.  i swear if the next resident evil gets rid of it’s 2 player mode….that’s it no more ps3 for me.  because me and don had so much fun playing that game!but i guess that’s just how things are anyway….kids don’t want to play with other kids they just want their phones and computers.  people don’t need friends anymore.  just electronics and games where you can only play other people you can’t even physically see.

so needless to say we have not purchased dead island yet.  i don’t think we will be getting it for the ps3…maybe for the pc. from what i’ve seen the game doesn’t look that great.  i still want to try playing it.

So I learned a few things…chicago vs. nyc

When I was living in NYC I mostly took the train, hardly ever the bus. In fact I only took the bus once by myself. Every other time I was with someone. I always thought the buses were more confusing. But here in Chicago I’ve been trying out the buses. The bus stop is closer to our apartment than the train, although the train is not far. Well let’s just get to it, today I took the bus by myself.

I knew where I was going, so I wasn’t scared of getting lost, so I’m just trying to relax and listen to some music. On the way downtown some crazy lady got on the bus and I noticed she was pretty much having a conversation with an invisible person. So then of course I take off the headphones and try to listen in to what she could possibly be talking about to this invisible person so intensely. She’s just crazy man. I can barely hear what she’s saying but it’s all nonsense. It’s like having a conversation with your friend at work and you’re talking about someone at work you don’t like. She’s gossiping to an invisible person. I know she probably has like schizophrenia so whatever…that was my bus ride to downtown.

On my way back home it was even CRAZIER! I walked into a crazy lady having a debate with someone else about racism. And how one person can’t make a difference. It doesn’t matter what she does in life she’s not making a difference. Pretty much she has like 4 strangers listening to her and one woman is getting kinda mad about it. Normally if someone is crazy you should probably just ignore them, but this woman was like asking the crazy lady questions. And not to mess with her, to just argue or prove a point against her. There’s 2 things you should do to crazy people: ignore them or mess with them. Never go along with them hahaha! So the normal lady asked the crazy lady “so what’s your take on God?” So we’ve went from racism to making a difference and then a couple of Obama health care reform comments to now religion. So what’s her take on God?…”Listen we all have earthquakes, hemispheres….atmospheres….” SERIOUSLY…what does that even mean? I suggest using it though. Good quote.

From religion we went to terrorism. How we got to that I don’t know. Crazy lady said something like “A terrorist isn’t someone out in the desert! A terrorist is someone taking money out of my paycheck!” There were many common things that we struggle with every day, that according to this woman were terrorists. Things I never really thought terrorized me, but had me second guessing. Especially when she brought up this one: “A terrorist is when you order an egg-roll and it tastes like fish.”