Category: My Blog

Being a role model father

This is a topic that can be debated far and wide, as each person (women included) can and will have their belief as to what a “Role Model” father is.  This is just like the rest of my writings is my perspective and why I feel the way I do.

When I first became a father 8 years ago it was the best feeling I ever had.  My first born was a son to follow in my foot steps, for me to mold into what I couldn’t be. I quickly learned that I was actually in over my head and didn’t (and still don’t) have a real clue as to what I’m doing even after having our 3rd child.  You see growing up I never had a “father” to teach me how a father is supposed to be.  Now granted I had my grandpa till he passed when I was 10, and my uncles, but my father was never a part of my life, at least I didn’t think so.  As a child growing up I was told that my father before my birth went off to war and never returned.  This story changed somewhat from time to time when I would bring it up, I actually asked all of my family grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and all pretty much had the same story, but slightly different.  Even as young as I was, I knew there was more to the story but I went along with it and made no fuss, as I was well cared for being raised by my mom, grandma, and grandpa.  It was many years later that A light bulb went off in my head, about my father and at that moment it all made sense.  I confronted mom about it, asking if this certain person was in fact my real father.  The look on her face was all I needed to tell me, but at first she denied it and later finally told me that I was correct.  This person was a very close family friend that mom and her brothers were friends with since kids.  He was married with kids of his own and was kind of a “name” where we lived.  So everyone went along with the story basically to protect him, not thinking the real person that was affected in this was actually me.  There is a pain there knowing that I grew up basically playing with my brother that I never even knew was my brother.  I think that not once did I ever hear good job son, I’m proud of you son, or even I love you son from my dad and he was right there.  After I knew the truth i wanted so bad to stop in and see him with my kids, just to see what his reaction would be.  My hometown is about 6 hours away and wasn’t easy to just “stop in”.   We were in town a few years ago and driving down the street I caught a glance of a guy backing in a truck.  I knew immediately that it was his son. I did a u turn in the road and stopped, as I climbed out of the vehicle I hear “BRAD” real loud.  We chatted for a couple minutes of small talk, and I asked. How is your dad?  He said that he had been sick and dont spend much time at the shop anymore.  I said I should stop some time and say hi.  He looked at me with a grin and said ” Brad I think he would definitely like that”  The way he said it and the look he had made me and still makes me believe that he knows I’m his brother.  After that I never got the courage to stop my and see him, and a couple years ago I was told that his health had taken a drastic turn and died a couple days later.  I regret not stopping when I had the chance, as now I am left with this eminence void.  Did he actually know? or did he not know?  I will now never know the truth.

As far as the perfect father, I personally don’t know what that consists of.  The only think I do know is I don’t want to be a father to my kids anymore.  I want to be a DAD!

The pic for this post is of my son, taken several years ago. He was helping dad make some signs.

First Responders. Why do you do it?

Why do you do it?

This is a question that I asked myself a hundred times over the years when I was a first responder.  Even though I could not really answer the question I knew it was something I loved doing.  The adrenaline rush of rolling up on a working structure fire is a drug to most firefighters.  Ask em they will tell you!!  Once the fire is knocked down the “reality” sets in of the damage that has been caused such as someone loosing everything in their house.

I just imagine the adrenaline “drug” rush the first arriving companies from the FDNY had when they were rolling up on the world trade center on 9/11/2001.  343 brother firefighters were lost on that day, they had no idea when they began their tour that that would be the last time they report for duty.  Aside from the 343 lost brothers that day, what about the other firefighters on scene?  Their lives are changed forever, many of them were there for days, weeks trying to recover their lost comrades.

Many years ago I somewhat stopped asking myself why I continued to be a first responder.  I responded to an incident involving a school bus crash.  The school bus was carrying an elementary class on a field trip.  I was shopping at the grocery store when the call was dispatched, and it didnt sound like anything real major so i finished up shopping.  I began hearing the medics on scene call for additional ambulances to the scene, and finally called dispatch and said to call the neighboring countys ambulance service and have them respond with all the ambulances they can spare, and to also call the hospital and have them issue a code white. (code white puts the hospital into disaster mode)  I stepped up my response and headed to the scene.  When I arrived it wasnt anything real major ( in my eyes) it was basically a school bus had rear ended a car that was stopped along the road.  The reason for the massive response was the fact there was approx 28 children on the bus.  None had major injuries but all were scared, shook up, and each needed to be attended to.  Once we got all separated and the onces that needed to be transported by ambulance were taken, we had about 17 kids that were put on another bus that was brought to the scene.  The IC (incident commander) gave me the responsibility of being the first responder that would be on the second bus as it was going to the hospital.  On the way I basically did what I could to keep the kids calm, I jumped from seat to seat making sure I talked to and made each child feel safe.  Upon arriving at the hospital the kids exited the bus and were evaluated individually.  I finally after a couple hours was able to get the groceries home, some of which was spoiled as it was a pretty warm day.  About a week later the fire station paged me to call them, when I called i was asked to swing by as there was something there with my name on it.   I stopped by later that day and there was a large manila envelope with firefighter brad wrote on the outside.  I opened up the package and my heart melted,  Inside was a hand made card from each of the kids on the bus thanking me for being there with them that day.  These cards said everything from your my hero, to i want to be just like you.  Also inside was a formal letter from the superintendent thanking me for what i had done and telling me the impact that I had on these kids because i cared for them.  My fire chief was there as I opened it and he smiled and said “good job brad” and why dont you get some of our goodies (pencils, color books, etc) and go out there and see the kids this week.  So thats what I did, a couple days later.  As soon as I walked in the school I saw one of the kids and they knew me right away.  As I check in with the office that same kids i first saw ran to the class and told the other students that I was there. When I walked in the class they were really excited, but i think honestly I was more excited to be there just to see their faces.

 

Life as a first responder isnt a glorious, glamorous job, it isn’t always easy.  I have seen and had to do things things that I wish no man see or do.  But looking at it there is these little times, these “nuggets” that we are given that in some way take way the bad even if it is for a short time, we still have that “nugget” that we hold on to and look back on to remember why we do what we do.

 

God Bless

Brad-DAD247x3

My life changing event

This is going to be a tough one to get out but it is something that I need to do.

 

The night of June 28th 2017 started out like any other normal night. I went into work, as at this time I was the overnight mgr for the same big box retail store I have been with for a few years.  My wife and I did as we normally do each night, texting back and forth as she got the kids ready for bed.  Then I would call or she call me and tell the kids good night and I loved them.  Besides our own 3 Kids, we also baby sat 3 kids pretty much the same age as each of ours.  We were (are) good friends with their mom and grandma as I work with both of them.  After she got the kids to bed she texted me and said she loved me and that she was going to bed about midnight or so.  At 1:32 am (29th now) as I was in the back room putting cardboard into the bailer my phone rang.  I saw it was my wife and I suddenly got sick at my stomach for some reason.  As I answered I heard my wife frantically screaming that cass isnt breathing. (cass is the youngest of the 3 kids we baby sat at the time)  I said what do you mean not breathing?  Where is she? have you shaken her to wake her.  My wife said Brad she is in her pack and play and I have shaken her.  I started running to the front of the store, I said call 911 and Im on my way.  as I got to the front of the store there was cass’s mom and grandma.  I said there is an emergency you need to get to my house now and continued out the door.  In the parking lot I ran by a police officer that was walking into the store, i rememeber us making eye contact as I ran by him.  As I got in my vehicle I saw him running out of the store to his vehicle as the call had been put out.  I flew by him as he climbed in his car, and driving home he could not catch up to me.  As I got close to home I knew i had to pull in back as the front would be full of emergency vehicles.  I pulled in the back yard and dont even remember putting in park or turning off car, but remember seeing a deputy just walking up to the door.  He stopped when he saw me and I ran by him.   When I got inside i recall plain as day seeing cass laying in the middle of the living room floor and a police officer doing cpr on her.  I ran over and said loudly MOVE I know cpr.  As I started cpr on her during compressions I was screaming her name “cass come back baby”  CASS COME ON LITTLE GIRL,  CASS”.  During this frantic period something happened that haunts me to this day. Cass opened her eyes and looked at me, it was literally a look and smile, then she closed her eyes and she was gone.

I was a firefighter for 22 years and EMT for about 10 years of that.  My experience i knew when I first saw her that she was already gone. But my humanly reaction was one that said no she isn’t.  Even though the look she gave me haunts me, I feel that it was Gods way of saying she is ok, and he is truely in control.  I believe this with all my heart and I know that it was completely out of my hands to bring this little angle back that morning, but I have this large feeling of failure.

 

Ya i know I have grammer errors everywhere in this.  It has taken me about an hour and half to write the little that I have, ya know its hard to type when you have so many tears.

God Bless

Brad-DAD247x3

A content creator?.. Really? Are you Stupid?

HAHAH..  ya I know I have said the same thing to myself many times.  While I am taking a little time off work this is what is helping me more than anything.  I feel that creating content for my site, streaming on twitch, or videos for you tube is where I can be me.   I have changed so much in the last few years I want to find me again.  I was once a very outgoing person that could approach any stranger and strike up a conversation.  Now days I cant do that I feel something is holding me back.  I know we all change as we get older it is a part of life we all have to deal with.

A few years ago my cousin and I did an internet radio show on Blog Talk Radio called Merch Radio.  We did 2-4 times each week until BTR changed up their format and decreased the “free” membership to small time slots to broadcast.  Since neither him or I could afford spending the money to upgrade we simply let Merch Radio die.  We have discussed numerous times since then how we would like to get things going again but neither of us have taken that initiative to really get things going.  His personality and mine made for great banter during the show.  We would talk about anything and everything under the sun as nothing was off limits for us to give our opinion about.  In us being “us” we grew a following that was loyal and loved our content.

I guess in a way by doing content creation it is my way of being a grumpy old man that bitches about everything. 🙂

 

God Bless

Brad-DAD247x3

PTSD is real

Some people believe that PTSD is a made up thing.  Which in their world it may be as everyones mind is different.  In my world PTSD is a reality.  No I am no doctor, i have no training on it, but I can tell you it exists.

Every person goes through issues that they think noone else is going through or they have it tougher than anyone else.  The reality is just the opposite, everyone has issues that they deal with on a day to day basis that they learn to deal with in their own way.

My story is the same as I learned to deal with issues in my own way which worked GREAT until I saw what I was doing.

2 years ago My wife and I had a life changing event occur, I wont talk directly about the event now as I will try to in a later post.  This event changed us both, my wife went through a bad phase when she couldn’t sleep, had nightmares, flash backs, panic attacks, and everything else you can think of with dealing with this event.  I too had the same issues, however me being the stubborn man I am I hid my feelings and focused on what I thought was taking care of my family.  I was dealing with the issues and grief in my own way and didn’t even see it.  I pretty much worked nonstop.  I was and currently am an Asst. Mgr for a big box retail store.  With the non stop work it was great for the company, I was (am) salary and with all the hours did not receive over time pay.  This work hard dedicated mentality that I had was noticed by higher mgmt above the store level.  I was sent to other stores to help out and “fix” them.  This continued on for quite a while and even put in for promotions a few times, and denied each time.   I’m a work hard but when it comes to the interview part I tank it.. LOL  So i continued to push hard and work, work, work barely spending much time at home with my family.  This continued until I took my first vacation nearly a year after the “event”.  This vacation was at the same time the best and the worst thing that could happen.  During my time off I was able to see how broken my wife was.  She would go a couple days with out showering, wouldn’t eat, and was just neglecting taking care of herself even though she was great at taking care of the kids.  When I saw this and  realized what was happening to her I put in for a leave of absence from work.  We got her into counseling and started working on getting her together.  In the mean time since I was away from my cure (work) I began to break down.  I saw how even tough I was trying to do the right thing by taking care of my family, in reality I was doing the opposite and letting my love fall apart right in front of me.  I dealt with it by hiding a lot (even still do) and went on fixing her.  After 2 months I went back to work hoping that I could jump right back in it and once again forget “reality” and work on fixing other things.  This time I couldn’t, I seemed to fail in most aspects of my work, something that I was good at and knew by heart.  I went on for several months until last month I was given a write up,  this triggered some of the “I’m a failure” feeling to come back and fell back into the depression I have been struggling with.  Don’t worry I’m not suicidal or anything along those lines as I have too much to be thankful for such as my with and 3 beautiful kids.  I just have something missing and need to find what that is.  My goal for sharing my story isn’t for sympathy it is more for me to find out what I’m missing by reliving it in my own words.

God Bless

Brad-DAD247x3