When I first agreed to write a guest post, I was excited to check in with all The Daily Feelers and to talk about one of my signature topics during my time here – my birthday! This year is a milestone birthday, so you know that I have gone overboard. Gift registry? Check. Link to donate to a “honey fund” as a way to help fund my down payment on a house? Double Check. A silent auction for charity? Triple Check. Ridiculously over-the-top invite? Check, check, check. I also have the caterer, DJ, open bar, and photo booth hired, paid for, and under strict guidelines of what can be served and played. I am ready to make 40 my bitch. Sure, a lot of people struggle with turning 40, but I was effortlessly gliding towards it and can’t wait to rub it in everyone’s face.

However, as I was getting ready to write the post life threw me a curveball. My father called to let me know that my mother had a heart attack the previous night. I instantly booked a flight leaving the next day to visit and help my dad out. Alas, the damage was too great and my mother passed away that evening.

What followed was a blur. 

My mother and I had a complicated relationship. We didn’t speak much outside of family functions; being 2,000 miles away also gave us plenty of breathing room. Honestly, I began to be more upset with myself that I didn’t feel more bereaved and upset about losing my mother. Shouldn’t I be crying and practicing throwing myself on a casket? 

I told myself that I had to keep it together for my dad, to make sure that anything he needed was taken care of. Together we went to the funeral homes. I took him to see “Top Gun: Maverick” as a way to distract him. He ended up sleeping through most of it and would have slept through all of it if I didn’t keep waking him up because he was breathing too loudly. I was afraid the guy next to him might be less gentle in waking him. When my other siblings arrived, we helped sort through all of her clothes and ceramics. If nothing else, that woman knew how to hold on to things. There were over 500 pieces of unpainted ceramics waiting for her. We donated 20 bags of clothing and shoes.

I arrived on Sunday, and we were all scheduled to fly out on Wednesday. Before leaving we stocked my dad up on groceries, some snacks he likes, and a few other treats. My original direct flight for Wednesday afternoon got cancelled, but I was able to get rebooked on another with a layover in Denver.

Before we even touched down in Denver there were murmurs on the plane that the connection had been cancelled. Sure enough, when we arrived at 11:00 p.m. the flight had been cancelled – then rescheduled for 9:00 a.m. the next morning. The airlines offered a hotel voucher and rebooked me for the next morning’s flight. I finally got to the hotel around 1:00 a.m., after a $93 Uber ride (thanks surge pricing!), and got woken up at 4:00 a.m. to find out the flight was cancelled again. 

After an hour on the phone, I was able to get booked on a flight that, yup, also got cancelled. Finally, I got put on a flight that would take me back to Phoenix and then to Philadelphia. When the flight was delayed by three hours, I pretty much just figured I now lived in Denver. During all of this I had also started to feel ill. I was coughing and was nauseous.

Obviously my first thought was that I was pregnant. Alas, what I thought was truly just a cold turned out to be my turn on the COVID carousel. After two-and-a-half-years of consciously avoiding it like a toxic ex, it was finally my turn. Legit, COVID sucks ass. I got the full blown, no smell, fatigue, light sensitivity, sweats illness. Throughout this ordeal I did learn a valuable lesson that not all ginger ale brands are created equally. Also, considering recent events my go-to jokes about feeling like death or that I was dying seemed to be in poor taste. So, I suffered in silence. But I am seriously the stereotypical guy when I am sick. Pull out the pampers because I quickly become the world’s biggest baby.

It took almost two weeks before I was able function as a human being again. A friend had tickets to the Independence Day concert and fireworks in Philly, so I decided to make that my first outing. We hung out in the VIP area with catering and white claws as far as the eye can see while catching performances by Jason Derulo, Tori Kelly, and Ava Max. Not going to lie, as far as first outings go, it was going pretty great…

Until some douche dick pulled out a gun and shot two cops right as the fireworks started. Chaos erupted at the event with people running in every direction for safety. Despite being right next to where the shooting happened, I didn’t hear anything because of the fireworks. It wasn’t until people started running towards us and yelling for us to run that we knew something was happening. There was a helicopter flying in front of the fireworks, which seemed odd; but what isn’t odd anymore?

Because we didn’t know what exactly was happening, I never felt that my life was in clear and present danger. However, I knew it wasn’t a safe environment and started to get out of there. It wasn’t until two blocks later that I asked a cop and found out it was indeed a shooting.  I might have been shaken from what was happening, but it was when I was walking home and came upon a mother two young daughters that I lost it. They were elementary school age and the younger one was crying hysterically. She was scared and didn’t know what was going on, but because we didn’t know whether or not we had crossed into a safety zone the mother couldn’t stop to console her daughter. Just as an onlooker I wanted to scoop her up and hold her tight and tell her everything would be okay. 

Thankfully, the cops who were shot are fine. There were no life-threatening injuries, and no one was injured in the melee as people ran. The only scars are internal. That said, we were lucky. We didn’t have an incident like in Illinois earlier that day. 

 This has all happened over the course of two weeks. While suffering on my COVID-induced hallucinations, I often thought this was my mother giving me one last jab. Getting the last laugh. But after the incident on July 4th I know that it’s not her. This just the world we live in anymore. Watching the news doesn’t help. If anything, it will make you more worried about the state of affairs. However, looking at it from the other hand, they always say it’s darkest before the sunrise. So, maybe this is our dark period. The summer of our discontent before a glorious rebirth.

However, if we are going to hell in a handbasket, I have a really great party planned for us before we go. Maybe I’ll get to tell you about it sometime.

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