My Brother is Down But Not Out, We All Remain Determined

14 Jan

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2015 began with a bang, a crack actually.  Proving that 2015 can be just as dramatic as the year before, my brother Armando, rang in the new year with a broken hip.  My family and I spent the first week of the new year in the hospital.  Armando, was introduced to new levels of pain as his friends and family huddled around him. Flowers, get well cards, books, magazines with several bags of Cheetos and Pepsi surrounded Armando’s hospital bed. There was no shortage of love in room 609.  It hurt all of us to see him in that state.  Armando is not a person I’ve ever seen this weak.

Carepackage for Armando Garibay.

Carepackage for Armando Garibay.

The moments before surgery are the ones that really put everything into perspective.  Blackout, work, money, everything… It all means nothing when someone closest to you lies helpless in front of you, uncertain of the future that awaits them following their anesthesia induction.  It also made me realize that eventually I will have to endure more of these moments in the future.  There will be a day when I loose my father.  There will be a day when I will loose others close to me and I will no choice but to keep it together, just like my dad did for us.  Part of me just assumed since I lost my mother and friend together at such a young age that I would not have to ever deal with something like that again.  Young Marcos thought that plan was great because he believed (and kind of still does) that his mind would not survive another loss.  This  accident made me face the fact that I cannot escape moments that will be far more painful that seeing my broken brother.

Lalo Garibay, Armando's 24/7 caretaker.

Lalo Garibay, Armando’s 24/7 caretaker.

I think there are a few reasons why this has happened.  The obvious is another form of the theme/message that always finds new ways to present itself to my family: DO NOT TAKE A SINGLE DAY FOR GRANTED. Before Armando even reached Pueblo (where he is recovering) he began making plans to make the most of his 3 month timeout from life as he knew it.  In addition to his music production equipment he asked for painting tools, an art set and an easel.  He took to painting like someone with years of experience.  There was no learning period, he just dove into it and began creating.  He has been filling his time between pain killer induced naps, with music and art.  He is bettering himself and he is making the most of each day despite his injury and his sadness.  Inspiring is an understatement.

Painting by Armando Garibay.

Painting by Armando Garibay.

Cool painting by Armando Garibay.

Cool painting by Armando Garibay.

2015 is different for all of us.  Armando finds himself relating much more than he ever wanted to the young, broken and defeated Professor Xavier that we are introduced to in X-Men: Days of Future Past (always X-Men analogies).  My aunt, the new homeowner is now playing the role of caretaker alongside my father, who is waist deep in the next phase of his business that seems to be expanding faster with each new day.  And me?  I’m not really sure where I am but I know that it is some sort of transitional state.  I’m motivated by my brother and father, I’m sad because at least 6 hours out of my day are being used ineficiantly and I am frustrated because there are days where I don’t know if I’m capable of digging deep enough to improve myself so that I can be who I want to and do the things that would really make a difference.

Armando is now working out of the room that used to be the original Blackout Beat recording studio, out of his fathers house.

Armando is now working out of the room that used to be the original Blackout Beat recording studio, out of his fathers house.

But somehow I am still digging.  Exhausted, I find myself pulling a little bit more out of myself than the day before.  Even though I should feel defeated at times, I don’t.  There is something different in the air this time.  I think it’s because of one of those other reasons why my brother’s accident happened:evolution.

He is evolving into something more and I feel like I am in the perfect space to do the same.  I’m reminded of that scene in the first Ninja Turtles movie (the best one) where the brothers spend some time to regroup on April’s farm.  They heal, catch their breath, get centered mentally and spiritually and sharpen their skills. They get to know each other and themselves better.  Not only that, but they spend time on lesser developed skills like drawing.  This sequence, which is one of my favorites, ends with the brothers becoming focused, stronger and working together as a team.  Maybe that could be one of the end results of this new status quo for the Garibay’s?

I think of my life as a series of story arcs that will one day equal to an epic adventure.  Right now it really does feel like the Ninja Turtles sequence I described above.  Having life in that frame helps to keep my attention where it should be.  So just as my brother picked up the paint brush, I’ve followed suit and begun taking up guitar in an effort to help my sound evolve. I’ve also been paying some attention to some of those underdeveloped skills too.  I’ve started taking the little sketches that I make students all day a bit more serious.  I’m working on technique and style, putting a little bit more into each portrait, My Little Pony, Spider-Man or Corvette sketch.  Something about is therapeutic to me and it takes me out of the insanity that is that school for a few moments.  When I see how much they mean to these kids it makes me want to do the next one better so they are worthy of the value these kids place on them.

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Cyclops and Groot sketch I made for a Kindergartner.

Deadpool sketch I made for a student.

Deadpool sketch I made for a student.

I used today as an opportunity to take care of my physical and mental health, regain my peace, perspective and focus.  It was a day well spent and now with clear lungs and a clear head I can continue to make strides towards becoming a Marcos that will be equally as impressive as the new Armando, when we are back together as a new unstoppable team.

-m

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