Tag Archives: death

RIP Nicky

Nicky Martinez loved to make people laugh.
Back when I first started dating DH, we’d spend time at the Martinez house talking to Nicky’s amazing parents. Nicky loved to share thier stories. He was proud of them, and they were proud of him.
When the phone would ring at 7 a.m. or earlier on a Saturday morning, we’d groan and answer it anyway and Nicky would say “Jalapeno Pancakes.”
I don’t know what Jalapeno Pancakes are, but Nicky sure was proud of them. 
It was easy to think of Nicky as a goofball, but  if you saw him around people who were hurting or people in need you saw he was much, much more. He genuinely cared about people and he helped others often.
If you were the brunt of a Nicky joke it was easy to get your feelings hurt if you forgot to laugh with him. But those jokes were equal opportunity. He shared the wealth.
When Nicky married Margie, he threw himself into family life. He loved fully. Margie and her kids mellowed Nicky some, in a good way. When Margie died, it devastated all of us, but Nicky didn’t stop living. The things that mattered most to him  continued to matter. Family, helping others, friends, Boy Scouts. Nicky stayed Nicky; that surprised me. 
Nicky loved to brag on family. From the time I met him and he learned I was going to be a teacher, he told me the story of his mother, the first hispanic member of the WFHS NHS. The woman who failed first grade because she couldn’t speak English but then set out to make sure no family member or friend ever failed for that reason again. The woman who went on to serve as a longtime principal for WFISD.
He loved to share stories about his father and the music. He loved to play music and if you ever got an invite to see him with a band, you wanted to make sure you got to check out the event. When his father got sick, watching Nicky gently take care of the man, watching him continue to talk to him without getting frustated, was heart breaking and heroic all at the same time. 
He was proud of his new wife for finishing school.
I’ve grown into middle age hearing the Nicky stories, knowing he’s right around the corner any time, seeing him…but not as often lately.
Last week Nicky died, and I was stunned. Today they’ll bury him. 
They won’t bury the memories though. Nicky Matinez was a big man with a big heart. He won’t be forgotten.
RIP Nicky. You will be missed.

Addiction, Amy Winehouse and Me

Amy Winehouse died yesterday. I know, old news.
The thing is I liked her voice, I liked her music, I cringed when I read the accounts of her train wreck of a life on multiple celebrity websites and news shows.

Winehouse’s death wasn’t a surprise. She was an addict. I thank GOD my addiction is food. When things get too bad for me, I can reconnect with Weight Watchers and get back to a place that isn’t deadly.

I can’t imagine a life of drug addiction. A life where one minute you feel like you’re in control and you have everything together and the next you can’t walk or talk or live normally.

I know what it’s like to feel like I’m control of food and then two months pass and I realize I haven’t counted a point or lost a pound and ice cream isn’t safe in my freezer.

I’m not belittling drug or alcohol addiction. I’ve known plenty of addicts in my life and loved most of them. It’s a painful love. One minute they’re the person you know and you absolutely believe they’ve got the addiction conquered because it’s been two or three or six months, and then, suddenly, they’re calling you and your heart drops when you hear the slurred voice or worse, it’s a collect call from the jail, but you hang up before the automated voice can even ask if you’ll accept.

You can’t say yes. You can’t because you’ve done that before and the yes was followed by promises you know won’t be kept. You can’t say hello or even pretend it’s all okay. You just hang up and you sit in your chair and breathe deep so the tears go away instead of falling because if they fall, they won’t stop. And then the anger hits and you want to call the drug pusher doctor and tell him there’s a special place in hell for people like him, only then, it all comes back to the same stuff all over facebook and twitter about Winehouse. Addiction is a personal decision and she chose to use drugs and she chose to drink and she chose to die. And you wonder is it the doctor’s fault, is it Just Say No’s fault, is it your fault because there was a time the addictions were hidden? They were there, though, you remember that in bits and pieces. They were there, but they weren’t In Your Face.

So yeah, I know addiction in its ugliness and I hate it. I hate that a talented musician died because the drugs were more powerful than the love of family and friends, than fame, than knowledge that life was good when the addiction was under control.

I hope the ones I love don’t follow in her footsteps. If they do, and it could happen, their deaths won’t lead twitter and facebook posts about tragedy vs. sad, but they’ll still be dead because of drugs and alcohol, and it won’t matter that their deaths were ultimately personal choices.

RIP Amy Winehouse. I hope we learn something from your death because right now it feels like such a waste.