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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Strength Doesnt Come From what You Can Do.... It Comes From Overcoming The Things You Thought You Couldnt!



They call it the silent killer, a disease that lays dormant in your body and flares up without rhyme or reason. But to those families directly affected by this monstrosity, Cancer is not silent, and the carnage it leaves as it destroys everything and everyone in its path will never be rebuilt.

I have watched my aunt, only 7 years my elder, go toe to toe with this illness. One of the strongest human beings I will ever have the pleasure of knowing. I don’t see her as often as I’d like, I don’t hang out with her as much as I use to, when we were both younger, and carefree.

Enjoying life as it came to us.

My aunt is a fighter. She has vowed to knock cancer out, and when I look into her eyes, I believe her.

I believe that she can, and will stand tall when the dust settles. She will live a happy, healthy life, with her family, and think back to these rough days and proudly smile that she overcame, what so many can not.

The enormous affect this illness has left, and will leave on her body, and mind, and soul are things that cannot be expressed nor explained.

Something about her eyes, something about her stare, the small tiny laugh after every tear she sheds, the whimper in every joke she tells.

These are rough times. These are tough times. They are called Rough and Tough because they are amplified. Every second feels like a lifetime, every day plays through our minds like a movie on repeat. We want to reach out, and pick her up, and fight this cancer for her. We want to rip this pain, and suffering away from her, even for just one lifetime like second.

But this is a fight she must face alone. This is a battle she will win, without the helping fists of a family that loves her more than they could ever express.

This illness has affected her, and it has changed her, and as she continues battling, all that will be left is her unyielding faith that God will train her, and coach her through this awful experience.

As a family, we must stand tall with her. But we mustn’t give in to the pressures this illness brings to our doorsteps.

She is not an invalid.
She is not someone who needs to be carried through life.

She is not someone who has given up. Not now! Not ever!

She is a strong woman, an independent woman that could rise above sky scrapers, lift elephants, and punch through walls of steel to get to where she needs to be.

She needs us to trust in her. She needs us to let her figure out how to do some things for herself.

She needs our support, not for us to save her.

Only God, and her intestinal fortitude, and her brave inspirational fight can save her.

My aunt does not need our pity. She does not need sympathy, or for us to look at her with eyes that are swollen from shedding tears. She doesn't need our sadness, or our stress. She doesn't need us to carry her, she doesn't need us to fight or speak out for her.

My aunt needs our support. Our unconditional love, our smiles, our kisses, our hugs.

She needs to hear our voices, she needs to feel normal, in a time where normal is so far gone, we laugh to keep the tears at bay.

She needs our prayers, she needs us to be real with her.

She needs our surprise visits, our text messages, and most of all my aunt needs us to understand.

She needs us to understand that this is her reality. That nothing we say, or do will push her off the path she’s on.

For better or worse. She needs to know that we are proud of her for standing up to this illness, and for 4 and half years beating the shit out of it, every chance she gets.

We must understand that like any fight, there are some rounds that we lose, and we have to be okay with that. We have to understand that sometimes things must get worse before they can get better.

Rosey! As your nephew, I am inspired by your courage. I am in awe of your strength, and I love you more than I’ll ever be able to show you.

I am blessed to have been raised along side you, to have watched you on your wedding day, and to have witnessed you become an amazing mother to your two beautiful girls.

You serve as an unbelievably unequivocally extravagant role model to me, to my cousins, to your daughters, and to the rest of our family.
I look forward to the day you beat this cancer. To the day your life returns to the way it ought to be.

Remember, you must face this beast head on, and when you look to your left and to your right you may not see us there with you. It’s not because we don't want to be, its not because we don't want a chance to beat that cancer out of your brain, and out of our lives. You don't see us to your left or right, because we must stand behind you. We must continue to encourage, and support you, and allow you the opportunity to win this fight on your own.

And anytime, cancer knocks you to your knees, we will come running to help you right back up.

We love you auntie! We trust in the fight you have in your heart. We believe that you are stronger than this illness. We know that you will win!

God Bless You, your husband and your girls. Now and always!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Birthday Primo. I love you!


There are two times a year when I start rethinking the way I’m living, and reevaluating if I am truly appreciating the life I've been given. April 7th, and July 17th both these dates correlate to a man that touched, and impacted my life tremendously. 

Kevin James Brasil Caetano was one of the most amazing, caring, loving, and loyal people to roam this Earth. His life was cut short, but like I’ve said in previous blogs, he managed to accomplish so much in those 22 years of life. He managed to inspire so many people, and his death truly left an empty void in so many lives here on Earth. I know I’m not the only one that asks themselves what would Kevin say, or what would Kevin do in this situation. I know that I am not the only one that looks up to the sky for guidance, or advice. I know that I am not the only that speaks to him each night. Kevin was a huge part of my life, growing up as young kids we saw one another from time to time, and every time we did we always got along well. It wasn’t until we joined the Portuguese Band of San Jose that we truly began this lifelong relationship. Kevin went from a cousin I rarely saw, to a close cousin I saw at Band Practice, to brother I travelled with each weekend to and from Rapaziada gigs. A brother I would call up and hang out with until the wee hours of the morning just talking about life. Kevin became the brother I never had. When God took him away from us, he took a piece of me with him. Adjusting to life without Kevin in it has been the most challenging thing I have been faced with in my 30 years of life. For years after his passing, I would sometimes take my phone out and look for his name through my contacts list before remembering there is no phone up in heaven. When I saw Silverado on the road I always sped up to see if maybe this was all some sick joke and he was actually still here with us. Sadly, as the years rolled by I was faced with the harsh truth that he was no longer here, that he was truly gone. Coming to terms with this reality, even today, leaves me short of breath and filled with tragic tears. Kevin’s passing is something I will never fully get over. Something I will never fully accept. Through this mentality, I know that his legacy will live on, because when I have children of my own someday they will hear about Uncle Kevin. They will know the type of man he was, and how he shaped the man I have become. A man of Kevin’s magnitude never truly dies. I know his memory will live on for as long as all the people he’s touched live.

As I sit here and write this, thousands of memories come rushing into my brain. Happy memories that will live inside of me forever. Kevin and I shared a lot the same experiences. We slept in a lot of the same hotel rooms, and we partied with a lot of the same people. I think one of the greatest things about Kevin is that he touched different people’s lives in different ways. This is merely one account of the great influence he had on my life. If you asked some of Kevin’s other friends who became brothers there may be other aspects of life that he inspired. The one thing I know for sure is, every account of Kevin’s legacy is positive, and all the people who have been influenced by him would agree that they would give absolutely anything to have him back even for just one more day, one more hour. Even to just hear his laugh, or his voice. Even just to see his contagious smile.

One in a million doesn’t begin to describe Kevin. One in ten million falls short too. Kevin was truly one in a lifetime. As much as it kills me inside to know he is no longer with us, I thank God every day for giving me the opportunity to not just know him, but through blood, and friendship be considered family. All the pain, and sadness that come with losing someone as memorable and inspirational as Kevin, is worth it, because of the ways he shaped our lives. Kevin will be forever missed, and always loved. He will never be forgotten, as long as I have oxygen in my lungs, I will continue to tout about the great Kevin James!

Enjoy your birthday up there, I know today more so than any other day, you will be remembered and talked about often. Many cheers and toasts will be given in your name with either a nice cold Budweiser, or a shot of Southern Comfort! Until we see one another again, please keep watching over us, I love you Primo!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Dont just exist.. Live!





“Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

I stumbled upon this quote, and man did it resonate with me. Simple message carries the weight of a thousand elephants. In this life we often find ourselves in search of who we are. We hear phrase after phrase all echoing that we must travel, or we must take death-defying risks in order to find ourselves. We must find ourselves in order to be happy. We spend much of our time preaching about being unique, and our own person. We categorize ourselves into groups of leaders and followers, and we emulate the characteristics we believe make us good people. In our search to find who we are, we often discover we are not who we thought we were. We realize that were different, that we don't quite fit in a box, not because were fat, but because we aren’t meant to fit comfortably, and perfectly into boxes. When we fail to find ourselves, we become sad and desperate because we are failing. “I’m 21, what the fuck am I doing with my life?” or “I’m 47, what have I done with my life?” or even “I just graduated from high school, and I don't know what I want to be, what’s wrong with me?” Life isn’t about existing; it isn’t about achieving goals, or accumulating money. Life isn’t meant to be perfectly planned out.

--LIFE IS ABOUT LIVING!—

This quote sums something up that I have thought about for a very long time. I don't want to find myself. I don't want to look under every rug, and around every corner trying to find who I am. I want to create the person I am. I want to be unique I want people to who know me, to truly see that I am a good person, and not for the typical reasons. When I die, I want to leave behind a memory of someone who lived their life their way. I want people to remember all the good I did during my time here, and to learn through my actions that there are no failures in life.

Let that sink in for a second…

Even if you have spent your life in prison, or you have spent your life homeless on the street, that does not mean you are a failure. You chose to create yourself in that light. You are who you want to be, and yeah there are consequences for every decision we make. Not just from our negative decisions but from our positive ones too. We have become so focused as a species on success and failure, right and wrong, that we have forgotten that we were meant to live in the gray area.

So as you begin to ponder New Year’s Resolutions, and how your life isn’t where “it should be.” Remember that you must create yourself, be the change you want to see in the world. Don't live your life to someone else’s standards, live it to your own. Like Jimi Hendrix said, “I'm the one that has to die when it's time for me to die, so let me live my life, the way I want to.”

The results of this will be a world truly unique with all different shades of gray, black and white. Through this uniqueness, great things will be experienced.

Love, Laughter, and most importantly, we will cease to merely exist, and truly, wonderfully live.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Rest In Paradise Primo!



For the past 8 years July is a very somber month for me. I walk around dragging my feet, and questioning why you’re not here with us. Questioning how different life is now, than it was when you were here. It’s hard to believe that 8 years have come and gone. The empty void in our hearts is still fresh, the hurt, the sadness still as strong as ever. Everyday I look up to the sky, and smile knowing you’re watching over us.

Last night before I went to sleep, I prayed and spoke to you, as I do every night. In that very one-sided conversation, I asked you to give me a sign that you’re happy up there, that everything is okay with you. I said, any little thing will do Kev, I want to know that you’re happy.

As I closed my eyes and drifted to sleep, I began to dream. With all the memories of you in my brain, I dreamt that you were back. In this dream, God had given you 24 hours to come back and do whatever you wanted. The goose bumps are running wild through my body as I write this because the dream felt so real. I opened my front door, and there you were. Tears immediately ran down my face and I hugged you tightly, and didn't want to let go. We spoke, I drove you home to see your parents and Kris and Nic. We drove to Makadoo’s house, and you congratulated them on their pregnancy. The dream was so uplifting, because you looked more than happy, you looked like everything in your afterlife was amazing. You told me that there are no tears, no frowns, no anger, no frustration, no negativity in heaven. You told me that every day, is complete bliss.

I woke this morning, and my pillow was soaked with the real tears that left my eyes as I dreamt. And as I stared up at the ceiling, smiling to myself for the unbelievable sign you sent me, I cried some more. These tears were different, they weren’t sad, they weren’t trying to fill the empty void. They were happy tears. These tears flowed like rivers down my face, because I saw you, I spoke to you, and you’re more than okay.

You said two things to me that stuck, and I will never forget.

“Primo, you need to be happy, you need to stop worrying. Life is short, and you only get one.”

And

“The beer in heaven is always cold, and your cup is always full. You take a sip and the cup never empty’s. I cant wait till all you guys are up here were gonna rage.”

The first quote was spoken in the beginning of the dream after I finally stopped hugging you and let you into my house.  Your blue eyes looking straight into mine you demanded I be happy, and take advantage of the life I have been given. I intend to take your advice primo.
The second quote was spoken in makadoo’s garage. The people present were, Mike, Jeca, Roger, Paul, Cesar, Eric, Little Kevin, Tiago, John Star, Jason, J.P, Brian Flores, Mike Sali, Steve Lourenco, Danny Furtado, and Mike Moules. We all sat there cherishing this time with you, and you looked at us all, that familiar goofy smile on your face, and you told us about the endless amount of beer that we could have in heaven. Looking around that group of people, it made me realize how many people we all have in our lives that truly care, and would truly be there for us in a second. I feel blessed to know that those people listed and many more are big parts of my life.

Just before you left the garage, you hugged us all, told us to live our lives. You hugged Jeca, and kissed her baby bump, and then looked at me and makadoo and told us to make sure little makadoo knows who uncle Kevin is. I promise to tell him or her all about you.

8 years without you, but seeing your face in that dream, and talking to you was amazing. I know it’s just a dream, and I know that it wasn't real. But to me, it was the sign I asked you for. It makes me so happy to know you’re doing well up there.

Rest in Paradise Kevin, and come visit me in my dreams more often. I love you!

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

So Sick of Bullying!


So I watched this video on youtube of a slam poet doing a TED TALK (if you dont know what that is you're missing out on amazing speakers) anyways, after watching the video I just began to spew words into a word document. Here is what came out. Here is the video watch it, I promise you wont regret it.



I see it everyday the dragging of the feet, head hung low. Amazing children so down on themselves that it hurts to smile. Breaks my heart and I just want to reach out and shake their sadness away. Shake away whatever seed of insecurity that has been embedded in their brains and hearts. But shaking isn’t the answer, it never is. Telling them how amazing they are doesn't work either. So I sit up nights worrying about these unique individuals, worrying that maybe the “SEE you tomorrow Mr. Brasil” will be their last. Everyday I drive to work praying they’ll be there. Hoping I get a chance to make them smile, even just a little bit, give them just one baby reason to continue pushing forward. Growing up I was always the fat kid. Never ran the mile faster than anyone, never wore the cool clothes, but luckily for me, I had a great support system both at home and school. They let me be me; they loved me unconditionally. I see some of these kids and I shutter to think what they have to go through every single day of their lives. Being bullied leaves scars; both visible and invisible both bully inflicted and self inflicted. I wonder why it happens. How can I stop it? Realization showers me from head to toe. We focus way too much on the victims. Don't get me wrong, the victims out number the bullies, but we forget that most of these bullies have triggers too. Why do they feel the need to tear these other kids down? Perhaps they know what it’s like to be powerless. Perhaps they want others to feel the same way they do. Perhaps they’re just shitty people (sadly this is a possibility) Whatever the reason, we as a society must address it. What really pisses me off is all these Goddamn anti-bullying campaigns, which begin and end with commercials of celebrities talking about no more bullying. Instead of spending so much money and time on the production of that stupid commercial, and covering up some top-ten hot celebrity’s imperfections (ironic if you ask me) lets take to our schools, and our streets. The power of communication is something we take for granted. These kids, you know the victims and the bullies they have one thing in common. They are both in pain, emotionally, and mentally. They both feel powerless, in a society determined to out power those around them. A society driven by pointless competition. We no longer live up to our own standards; instead we look to our neighbors, our friends, even our families. If they have one car, we want two. If they bought 3 different color lights for their Christmas decorations, we want a fucking Santa, Rudolph, and the three wise men too. We waste our lives competing in these insignificant power struggles, and our kids watch us strive above our means, and stress about never being good enough. BUT THEY ARE GOOD ENOUGH! WE ARE ALL GOOD ENOUGH! Tell you kids that you love them. Not because they are amazing students, or they cleaned their room, not because they ate all their vegetables or quietly read while you watched your favorite show. Tell them you love them because of who they are. We have to start raising our children to cherish their individuality. Bring them up, not shove them down. IF they misbehave, let’s not jump to conclusions, they aren’t bad kids (THOSE DON'T EXIST) they are misunderstood. If we as a society could target why our children behave or act the way they do, then we could understand why little Billy hates himself, and in turn wants the rest of his class to hate themselves too. We could comprehend why princess Jane, you know the one who always stands up for herself, and is clearly the leader of her group, doesn't respect herself. We owe it to our children. As adults we tell our kids to be nice, and to follow the rules, and to work hard. Then we turn around and fight with our loved ones, we break laws, and promises, we take the easy way out, instead of working hard for a better solution. We sit our children in front of the television, computer or ipad, because we don't have the patience to sit across from them and converse. It’s maddening. We are hypocrites. This isn’t going to change over night. To those children struggling with bullying I don't have any answers for you. I don't have an easy fix. The truth is, the experiences you accumulate now good and bad will be with you for the rest of your lives. But slowly, one day at a time, we could begin to change this ridiculous culture that America has built for itself. We could round out the corners, and genuinely be happy for others when they succeed. It starts with us. One person changes, then 2, and before you know it a shift is seen across schools everywhere. We don't need Hollywood to make commercials, or movies. We need parents, and adults to lead the way. Reading through this, it has definitely taken a path of it’s own, and to be honest it’s just ramblings, and rants. For those of you who have read this far, think about it, erase the bullshit (I wrote it, and I know a lot of it is bullshit) There are some points in this giant word vomit of a blog that can change our world. Maybe not America, or the Globe, but our local everyday life can be impacted tremendously by little adjustments. Love yourself! Because every person roaming this Earth has good in them. Every person wants to do the right thing. Leave the cynicism to the unhappy cynics, and give those who need it most, the benefit of the doubt. That tiny gesture can change the life of one bully, and the life of 10 victims.