"Accidents are unexpected, undesired, unpredicted, anomalies that happen in our systems. They happen without warning," Todd Conklin talks in his podcast episode, Accidents Will Happen. "And what's amazing to me is that we built an entire mythology, and entire focal. I mean a big industry out of this under the belief that every accident is preventable."
Good and bad accidents occur. I never know when they will occur. Because I can't read the future.
When I was a kid, I was taught to always be careful and aware of my surroundings.
What did it mean?
Because I realized I can't escape death.
One of my Bumble dates lost her father from a car accident in 1995. She was only 6 years old at the time.
My tennis and basketball coach dropped dead on his living room carpet on November 2018. His dog barked at him. And was terrified.
I lost my sister from a tragedy on May 17, 2003.
I have never witnessed an accidental death in front of my eyes yet. But I have experienced accidents from personal injuries throughout my life.
Uncle Romel took my sister's life on Saturday, May 17, 2003.
He was 31 years old while my sister was 18 years old.
(I am 32 years old writing this to you.)
A year and a half later, he wrote a letter to my 17-year-old self and my parents. We each had a letter from him. (That was 3 letters total.)
And we were surprised.
At the time, I was in denial. I was grieving and mourning. I was not able to function. I had no sense of purpose in life anymore. I could not accept my sister's death.
I hated my Uncle. I wanted him dead. I wished somebody would torture and kill him. I expected him to feel the same pain and agony as how he stabbed my sister multiple times using a kitchen knife.
"What do you want now?" I asked myself to his letter while my parents heard me. "What else do you want from us?"
I didn't open his letter right away. Because anger took over my mind. I was swearing and cussing at his letter.
Finally, it took me about 15 minutes to open his letter.
I was curious. Because I wondered what exactly was his message to me and my parents.
It was an apology letter.
(Picture of his envelope and letter shown below. Dated on December 27, 2004.)
I continue to slowly declutter. And I would find something to remember, like old newspaper articles about my sister's death. She was stabbed multiple times from my uncle on Saturday, May 17, 2003. (I will save these articles.)
I never talked about her death at the time. I was embarrassed. I was scared. I was an insecure kid. I was focused on others more than myself. I believed people will hate me. I assumed people will think I am crazy. I always wanted to be alone. I chose to keep it a secret.
I remember the last day I saw my sister. She looked sad. My sister had a crush on her friend for a long time. But he never expressed his feelings to her. She was hoping he would let her know. My sister did have thoughts about letting him know. But she left it on pause. She had no idea if he liked her. She was clueless by their mixed signals.
I used to live life with regrets. (It haunted me.)
Negative thoughts appeared on my mind every day. (List shown below.)
On November 4, my tennis and basketball coach was reported dead at his house.
Many people reached out to me. They felt guilty for not saying "goodbye" to him.
"I did not say 'goodbye' to him as well. I was able to come at peace with him from a 3-year grudge," I told them.
Also, I lost my sister unexpectedly, tragically.
"You build relationships every time you encounter people. Life is constantly changing. People come, and go. When you travel, you say goodbye. If you can embrace goodbye, you can become more grateful for the next time you say hello," my good friend told me.
Funny video taken on 9/15/13
We first met at a tennis court in 2006. I was finished hitting with my friends. As they were heading out, you friendly approached me. You talked to me about how you are a private tennis coach, and how you made your two children become great tennis players.
You went on talking as usual. In your wallet, you showed me your precious family photos of you, your wife, daughter, and son. You were always a wonderful storyteller.
You were my tennis coach.
Recently, I lost a loved one, my coach. He died unexpectedly.
(The last time I lost somebody so close to me was my sister in 2003. She died unexpectedly as well.)
I have known him, since 2006. Everything is a rush for me.
He made me become a better basketball, and tennis player.
Now, he's not here anymore. That's new for me. It takes a while to accept that he is gone. I am better now than my previous days.
It is not always easy to say, "Live in the moment,' when your loved one dies. I am human. I have feelings.
Earlier tonight, I was strong enough to open up about my strong relationship with Coach in his vigil service. I feel much better now.
What I said during his vigil service:
I hated funerals. I always avoided talking about death.
You're born, you live, and you die.
When I die, I would like to be cremated. No need to visit, and maintain my gravestone. Most importantly, I wanna save land for the future generation.
My younger-self believed that only the closed "ones" should attend his or her funeral.
For instance, during my sister's funeral, many people were in attendance. I was in shock. I was selfish.
I asked myself, "Were they even close to her? Did they ever talk to her?"
Now, I see funerals differently.
For those of you, who do not know already, my sister was gone in 2003. I already have written many blog entries about my sister. (Find my search box, and type "sister" on it.)
15 years has already passed.
Pictures taken from Virginia back in 1992. My family did not take much pictures. This is all I can find of you in the photo albums. Sorry, Uncle.
1st picture is Grandpa Sator (My dad's uncle from his mom's side), me, my sister, and Uncle Romelo.
2nd picture is Grandpa Sator, my dad, me, and Uncle Romelo.
For readers, Uncle Romelo is my dad's youngest brother.
Dear Uncle Romelo,