Category Archives: Personal

September 11, 2001; 11 Years Later

I wasn’t sure I was going to have a post on this tragic event this year, but decided I wanted to add something special that I found back in June that I had on my other blog. See, that day was horrid, and we’ve seen so many things that happened on that day, and the planes hitting the towers (Flight 11 and Flight 175) in NYC and hearing about the plane that hit the Pentagon (Flight 77) and the one that crashed in Pennsylvania (Flight 93) was horrible. Seeing people jumping out of buildings to their death and seeing other people running once the towers started coming down and feeling inadequate and mad and empty and angry and hateful and scared…

Yes, even now some of those things still come up. Not as much anymore because there’s something in that spot now, something replacing what was there and something that’s honoring that day and those people who died and the heroes that sprouted up and did what they had to do, felt compelled to do, even if for some of them it wasn’t their job to do.

And then there’s the people in the video below, some unsung heroes that I just heard about this year. This was truly amazing, and if you have an ounce of decency you’ll watch the video, which was narrated by Tom Hanks, and you’ll feel something good deep inside. That is, if you have an ounce of decency; yeah, I’m calling people out. This video is that good, that special, and it deserves to be shared and seen by as many people as possible. The only reason I’m not putting it out separately on Facebook and Twitter is that I did so back in June. Now it’s your turn.

Never forget tragedy, but grow from it and try to make things better, be better, and never let terror win. With that, please watch this video:


 

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I’m Black…

I just thought I’d get this out of the way: I’m black. I know you probably didn’t notice that from the picture over there on the right but yup, I am. At this point you’re probably wondering why I wrote that; you know I’m going to tell you.

photo of Mitch Mitchell I'm Just Sharing
See, black: photo courtesy
of Custom-Photogenics

Just about two weeks ago a young man named Christian, definitely an up-and-comer, wrote a post titled I’m gay. The fact that he typed “gay” with the small “g” was interesting and probably poignant in its own way. Frankly, I’m not typing anything in my titles with small letters, especially “black”.

Anyway, it was a very personal post, and by its tone I’m thinking that somewhere along the line he must have taken some heat from someone who probably made a comment based on his look, since I can’t figure out any other way they could have made the determination. I knew he was gay (don’t ask how) but my thought was “who cares”. That’s always my thought; if a person isn’t racist or hateful I could care less what they are.

Anyway, he put some of his feelings out there, basically stating his case that he is what he is, other things that he is, and that’s that; you either liked him or you didn’t, but that was that. I thought it was an interesting and powerful post, and it got lots of comments that, unfortunately, he didn’t respond to. Probably too close to him in a way.

So, what’s my explanation for my statement? Because it’s the political season, a presidential political season, and President Obama is going for a second term as president of these United States. And, well, those folks who didn’t vote for him are of two minds. One, he doesn’t really count as black, and two, black people only voted for him because he’s black.

I’ve heard it over 4 years, and it’s starting up again. I could make the argument that all things being equal Obama just might be way more qualified than Romney for the job, but it wouldn’t make much difference. Frankly, I hate getting into those types of political discussions because neither side is going to convince the other, and it won’t be long until either I’m being accused of voting one way “because” or I’m having to say their voting against “because”.

And then a friend of mine wrote something on Facebook Friday night that made me feel good. So of course I’m sharing it here:

For those of you who are proud of having Obama as the first African American president don’t allow people to make you feel bad about it. You have every right to your feelings. Stop letting folks make you feel like you are wrong for doing so. Stop letting folks pigeon hole you and try to attack your intelligence because you like Obama. Don’t allow folks to try and make you feel that you are incapable of making informed decisions because you like Obama. Especially don’t let anybody insult your intelligence by saying the only reason you voted for him is because you are black. Your intelligence and ability to make decisions runs much deeper than that.

We still live in a time where black folks are still having firsts after what over 400 years in this country. The first black president, the first black mayor in a town, the first black governor in a state, the first black legislator in a state and the list goes on. We are still having firsts. Having a love of your own does not mean you hate someone else. Be proud of who you are. Peace

Yes, that’s how I’ve been feeling since 2008. I wasn’t going to vote for Obama because he was black; I was a Hillary Clinton fan. But when all was said and done I wasn’t voting for McCain – Palin and that was that. But the accusations… I don’t back down from those kinds of fights in person but online, it’s an argument that makes no sense to have.

So it’s been stated, I fully agree and feel vindicated, and that’s that. If I don’t have to deal with any stupid mess from this point until the election I won’t be talking politics here. If I do, as I had to do late in October 2008, I’ll do it, but man, please let’s hope I don’t have to go there again.

Yeah, I’m black. With some Cherokee & some other southern tribe as well; none of us are totally one thing, right? 🙂
 

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The First Year Of My Grandmother’s Passing

Last year on August 25th, at this very time, my grandmother, Hazel Beverly, passed away. She was 90 years old, and she had a pretty good life as an adult, even if there were some years before that which were pretty tough. Yet she wasn’t the type to ever complain about anything; she was the epitome of cool. If you’d like to see any of what I wrote last year about this, you can check here and here.

You know, I almost missed this anniversary, and I feel kind of ashamed of that. It’s not that I didn’t remember the date; it’s that I wasn’t sure what the date was now. One of those things that happens when you work for yourself is that sometimes you have no idea what the date is. Sometimes you don’t even know what day it is, but I knew what day it was because I always know when Friday comes. Even though things have changed, there’s something about Fridays that I absolutely love.

You know, sometimes we get engrossed in so many things that we forget things that should be important to us. In this case it doesn’t mean that the first year of my grandmother’s passing wasn’t important; it’s that for whatever reason it’s not relevant in my life and that’s depressing. I remember dates all the time. I remember my dad’s birthday and when he passed away. I remember my mom’s birthday, as well as my wife’s. Heck, I know the date my wife and I met, December 7th 1994.

But these days everything comes down to planning and what’s planned. I have all the dates I need to remember in my Palm or phone. I just hadn’t remembered to put this date in my calendar; so unlike me.

I bring all of this up because next week I have a post going live that talks about some things I’m going to be working on, in a way. There are plans, and there are time frames. All of these things will be important to me over the next year.

But what can’t be lost in any of this are the personal things. Family, health, motivation… things people often forget when they’re working on their professional life. We all have to consistent work on ourselves, and that includes our family, friends, and anyone else we feel is important to our lives.

Or our past. I hope your rest has been peaceful so far Miss Hazel; miss you.
 

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Lloyd E Mitchell, 10 Years Later

My dad passed away 10 years ago on June 16th, 2002, at 4:45PM; it was Father’s Day and he was 70 years old. It was also the last day of a family reunion his side of the family was having somewhere; I can’t even remember where it was. It was a pivotal moment in my life, so much so that just writing this little bit and seeing his picture almost makes me want to cry now. When this post goes live I won’t be here; I’ll be at the cemetery where he lays, and I’ll be thanking him once again for the years I got to spend with him and what he tried to impart on me.

For my dad’s funeral, I wrote a tribute, which I had read on that day and which still sits on my main business page to the bottom right. To this day, just under 10 years (since I didn’t add it to the site until a couple of weeks after the funeral), it’s still the most visited page on my site every month. To me, that’s a second tribute to him and to fathers in general; it seems to touch a lot of people in some way.

What I’ve never talked about is that final day and what led up to it. I don’t want to make this morbid and depressing, but there were some things that happened on that day that have stuck with me, and I figure that I want to talk about them now.

The first thing to mention is that Dad had cancer, lung cancer, that had spread to his brain and other areas of his body. He was in pain for the last 4 months of his life. He also had renal failure, and had been doing dialysis every day for over a year. Dad smoked for more than 30 years, but he was also exposed to Agent Orange while in Vietnam; terrible combination.

Dad had said very few things that were cognizant over the last 4 months of his life. He came out of it one night when I was having an argument with a cousin of mine to defend me, then went back into a netherworld state. He came out of it for about 5 minutes when a congressman he used to do some work for and a couple other people came to visit him; that was amazing.

And he came out of it when I forced his doctor to come to the house to visit him at least once, and it’s a good thing I wasn’t there that day. They started talking and, according to my mother, 5 minutes into the conversation the doctor asked my dad how he wanted to live out his remaining days; Dad never talked again after that.

Until the day he passed away, and once again I missed it. I was in the shower. My wife and I had come up to visit Dad for Father’s Day and I’d just awakened and went for a quick shower. My wife went downstairs and Dad greeted her, and supposedly was talking to both my wife and mother. Then suddenly he started having problems breathing. My wife yelled up to me as I was drying and I came downstairs, looked at him, and told Mom to call 911. They were there within 10 minutes, hooked him up, and took him to the hospital. I knew he was never coming back to the house and for the first time in almost 34 years I cried.

It was tough in the hospital emergency room that day. I wouldn’t cry in front of Dad so I kept going out into the lobby or out to the car to cry. Mom called for some help, people who worked at her church, and they did what they could for us. I talked to Mom and said Dad couldn’t come back home, and we started talking about a nursing home for him, as Mom had made herself sick by trying to take care of him. My wife knew, but I didn’t; Dad wasn’t leaving the hospital alive that day, but I still had my hopes up.

Throughout the day, I had heard other people crying and screaming as some of their loved ones didn’t make it. I had some fears, but never thought it would go that direction. They put something on Dad to help him breathe, and he kept trying to take it off. I kept asking him to keep it on, but I wasn’t totally sure he understood me. But he did look at me. I took multiple opportunities to tell him I loved him, and to thank him for everything he did for me and Mom in my life.

But it wasn’t meant to be, and the emergency room doctor taking care of Dad came into the lobby to tell us to hurry, that unfortunately it wouldn’t be much longer. Two minutes later, Dad stopped breathing, his eyes still open, and I marked the time and cried.

And cried, and cried, and cried. After about 30 minutes I went to the car and started calling a few people. I was able to reach a relative finally to give them the news. This was weird; they already knew. Seems that just as the reunion was ending a young cousin, no one ever told me which one, suddenly said that Uncle Lloyd had died. And they believed the child, but were just waiting for the phone confirmation. The other strange thing is that his twin brother didn’t know; they’d always had a strong bond but in this case it didn’t happen.

That was that. On that day I had to grow up some. I had to call to help make funeral arrangements. I had to contact everyone. I had to cry with Mom. I had to go home the next day to get more clothes so I could stay with Mom. I had to decide that Dad was going to be buried in his uniform, and I had to let the military know so he could have the military show up to do the color guard ceremony, which comes with a 21-gun salute.

And, if anyone needs to know why I keep going every day, why I keep trying to become successful, why I feel the need to try to be a positive example… this is why.

On this day before Father’s Day I hope you take the opportunity to thank your father for everything and to tell him you love him. This is something I didn’t start doing with my parents until the last couple of years of his life, because we weren’t a demonstrative family; I wish I could take that back all the time. Also, be sure to tell your mother you love her as well; we don’t have our parents for long once we’re adults; at least it never seems long enough.
 

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Mother’s Day; My Mother And Other Mothers

Today is Mother’s Day, and all around the world many people are celebrating it in some fashion either with their mothers, thinking about their mothers, or in memory of their mothers. I saw my mother Friday, since we knew Sunday would be a mess trying to go somewhere, and even then there were more people out than we’re used to. She also loved what I brought to her.

The truth is as I get older, I realize that there’s no way I can appreciate my mother as much as I should. She’s not quite the same woman I grew up with, and I don’t mean how our relationship has changed, although it has.

My mother didn’t have much of a sense of humor when I was growing up. Sure, she liked a few shows on TV, but she never said anything funny and didn’t laugh very much otherwise.

My not being the typical kid had to be interesting in its own way as well. I didn’t get into trouble, and I didn’t do bad things. I wasn’t perfect by any means, taking some chances with my life that have made me, as an adult, extra cautious. But parents always told my mother how nice I was; teachers always told her how smart I was, and I tried to live up to that as much as possible. The worst thing my mother ever found to say to me was “your room is a pig sty”; are there mothers still using this phrase?

What I’ve learned as I’ve gotten older is that my mother has always had a great sense of insecurity, which led to her always worrying about family, which definitely included me. I know I got my sense of taking care of my friends from Mom’s sense of taking care of me. My mother didn’t play the “every child gets punished because I don’t know which child did something bad” thing when it came to school. Every school got to do it once; Mom made sure it never happened again because she knew I never did anything wrong. Strange as it seems, my mother changed policy in two schools I went to because they couldn’t apply that policy to any classes I was in. 🙂

She was strong when she felt she had to be; otherwise, she’s a worrier. She worried back then and she worries now. She worried about my dad when it was needed, and she worried about my grandmother when it was needed. She worries about some of my cousin’s children because that’s just how she is. She worries about some of the mail that comes to the house. She worries about how much she eats and when she brushes her teeth and so many other things. At least I’m not that bad, thank goodness; I don’t sleep well as it is.

What she doesn’t worry about as much is her health; that’s my job. And as she gets older, being in her mid 70’s, I worry way more now than I ever have. Some people might remember that my mother had her own medical emergency back in 2009 when I wrote a post on my other blog about preparing for family emergencies and on this blog about lessons on health care. I still help her deal with her issues with blood pressure and slight memory issues, and now I deal with her arthritis.

In her life she gained so much weight that at one point she probably weighed what I weigh right now and she’s only 5’1″ tall, and now she weighs what she weighed when she graduated high school, way less than half of her highest weight. Neither the way she gained the weight or the way she lost the weight was healthy, but the way she’s maintaining it now is. At least I was able to help her there.

I have to deal with her doctors and some of the other things that go on in her life. It’s not easy because we don’t live in the same city, and she doesn’t always tell me everything until I think to ask her about it.

And yet she still worries about me as well. She worries about my financial status. She worries about my health issues. She worries about my happiness and whether I’m eating and exercising and sleeping. In essence, she lives her mother role, and now I’m living a mother role as well.

But it’s her mother’s day, and as I reflect on all the years, all the travels, all the adventures, all the stories, all the advice, all the help, all the worries, and everything in between, and I acknowledge that she’s aging and I’m aging and our time together grows shorter and shorter, I know that I love my mother in ways that I would never and could never love anyone else, and I could never tell her or show her enough.

I hope most of you can do the same with your mothers on this day; Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mother’s out there.
 

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