The Last Transition

The last picture of Benny Rodriguez 3/21/1940 to 12/8/2023

I lost my dad this past Friday 12:57am December 8, 2023.

That’s when our hospice nurse declared his passing.

They didn’t use the word death and now I see why. It’s so negative and final.

It implies the person is extinguished like a flame.

Gone from history.

I don’t believe that people are ever gone from history, they live on through their loved ones.

My dad entered into hospice at 7pm on a Wednesday and passed at 12:57am that Friday but so much happened in between.

He had pancreatic cancer which couldn’t be treated due to his life threatening heart condition. A Fib. He was 83.

He went into the hospital on the cardiac ward about a month prior to his passing.

Before being admitted he turned to my mom, his wife of 52 years, she who moved households 3 times, shared many ups and downs including the loss of their son, and said “I don’t have long to live.”

In the hospital, he was in excruciating pain. They couldn’t give him pain killers because it would affect his heart function and lower his already dangerously low blood pressure.

It was eventually recognized that his cancer was so aggressive that it could not be treated without killing him so he was given the option of signing a DNR. “Do not resuscitate.”

After he signed that we had a family meeting with a palliative care specialist.

My dad stated that if he could take a pill to end his life he would.

Unfortunately that’s not legal in New York State so he had to endure the pain until he reached hospice.

It was a couple more days of excruciating pain until they found a bed at Regional Hospice in Danbury Connecticut. 45 minutes away from mom’s house but worth every mile and the $600.00 a day room and board.

Not so fun fact, most insurances do not cover full hospice care. It would appear that dying in the United States of America with out pain is a luxury.

He was given morphine that Wednesday morning and it put him to sleep. I believe this was the start of his transition.

He was mildly responsive according to the EMT’s who transported him.

When he got to hospice, he was still asleep but had his eyes open. They were unfocused and to me, looked pain ridden. I could also see permanent tears in the corner of each eye.

This broke my heart in to a million pieces. He could still move his arms and legs enough to push his hospital gown and sheets off.

He could still communicate enough to relay his distress.

His breathing was labored that first night in hospice. He would stop breathing at 3 or 4 second intervals. That’s called “apnea” and is a symptom of the first stages of transition to passing.

By early morning his apnea had increased to 5 or 6 seconds.

He would moan or breath out with a sigh that sounded like crying.

Our hospice nurse said it could be a coping mechanism and he’d seen it before.

My dad had a recurring nightmare since childhood where someone would break into his apartment and he couldn’t scream, only moan. This was the sound he was making.

A little background on him, he was the oldest child of 5 to his parents who came directly to the Bronx New York from a poor area of Puerto Rico. His dad was not always present as he was an alcoholic. He felt responsible for his family’s safety and well being from an early age. This nightmare he had was every fear he had in the world.

I would hold his hand in these moments and ask if he was afraid.

As if answering me he would grip my hand in short spurts like an irregular beating heart or a manual distress signal. His eyes wide as they could be in shear terror.

We’d call for the nurse and they’d give him more morphine.

By day break, he’d appear to be in more pain but when the nurse came, he’d say in a labored whisper, “I am not in any pain.”

His pain at this stage was emotional. Shear terror. I could feel it like it was mine.

He’d had a violent cough for a few years before this that no doctor could find the cause of. In his last years, he avoided going out because of this cough and it made it impossible to sing. Singing was his passion.

In hospice, his cough got worse producing phlegm that couldn’t be suctioned out. They tried but it was too deep in his lungs.

I got the feeling he felt he was drowning in it. He’d call.. Help!…Help!!! Throughout the day.

The nurse asked us if it was okay if they gave him more meds to make him unaware. The nurse said “he deserves to be comfortable.” We couldn’t agree more and we knew he would agree.

This began the last stage of transition.

It was at that point that he looked past me, as if to someone, eyes focused that he said, “No, I don’t want to be with you now..”

A few hours later, mom and I had gone to sleep. Well, mom did, I was half asleep listening to his now even longer apnea.

I know he was talking to his son. My twin, Bobby. I could feel him there. He didn’t have fear in his his eyes and he said this in the matter of fact way he spoke to Bobby when he was alive.

He was moaning. Mom and I got up and put our hands on him and he stopped. The tech came in and called for the nurse. I knew it was the end.

I could hear what they call the “death rattle”. It sounds like snoring but the mouth is closed.

When I put my hand in his, he didn’t grip it.

Mom and I went back to our beds.

Within the hour, I heard my dad talking to someone with conviction.


About 20 minutes later, the nurse came in and declared his passing.

I didn’t believe it at first.

I kept seeing his chest move but I think it was an optical illusion.

She declared the time.

I whispered that I would like to climb into bed with my mom and tell her.

I did.

I’m glad I could be the one to tell her.

It pains me to say she’s a widow.

And unfortunately has bills to pay.

The hospice was instrumental in calling the undertaker for the funeral home we’d unfortunately used before.

Mom and I went home together.

This is a sad holiday season but we’re glad he’s not in pain anymore.

That’s all we can ask.

I know we’re not the only ones to go through this.

My heart goes out to everyone who has.

Especially during this holiday season.

The Radio

Fandango’s Story Starter #103

When Ida discovered that she could hear the voices of the dead speaking to her when she tuned into a certain radio station, she decided to live.

She had been planning on killing herself for the better part of a month and felt a sense of relief for the first time in years.

She’d been taking care of her mother most of her adult life and now she was gone. She’d lost all purpose.

She was going to lock herself in her bedroom, down a bottle of her mother’s painkillers, lay in bed and drift away.

She’d hung Christmas lights on the ceiling. She thought they’d make a beautiful kaleidoscope as she lost consciousness.

It was a perfect plan until Rosalyn, a woman who died 103 years ago told her to reconsider.

Rosalyn, who was 25 when she passed, had jumped off a bridge in upstate New York. She was sure she’d contracted the Spanish flu. All three of her children had died from it, and her husband was, in her words, “a brute“.

She told Ida that she couldn’t remember landing in the Hudson river and that she couldn’t shake the feeling of falling and falling and falling…

Rosalyn couldn’t say how long she’d felt that way and she’d sometimes go off on unintelligible tangents until it sounded like she was moving further and further away. Eventually Ida would only hear static. She thought that might’ve been water.

She decided that Rosalyn was in some level of suspense. Purgatory perhaps. Or, and this is what really made her change her mind, Hell.

Ida wasn’t religious but she didn’t want to take any chances.

She told herself she’d die of natural causes when it was time.

Her mother would be waiting for her.

Until then, she’d look into investing her inheritance and throw herself into research.

Ida decided it would be her life’s purpose to help Rosalyn move on or at least find some kind of relief. If not Rosalyn, someone else. There were a few others she’d spoken to briefly.

She closed her eyes and listened to a bird singing its sweet little heart out.

“It’s going to be okay.” She told herself. She’d have to do that every day.

Ida reached for the radio dial excited to tell Rosalyn the good news.

52nd Anniversary

52 years! Happy anniversary to my parents. Molly and Benny. They’ve been through so much.

My dad chatted up my mom on a NYC subway.

He thought she had great legs.

She was carrying some bags so naturally he offered to help.

That’s what he says but I think it was more. I think relationships that last this long are destined. Her soul pinged his soul.

From that subway ride came a lifetime, and two people.

My twin brother and me.

They had some road blocks.

A cat that had to be convinced to welcome another human.

Family not convinced that this was a good thing. My mom’s parents thought a Puerto Rican man would “have you in food stamps”.

My dad’s parents considered my mom a “gringa”. Until they met her.

They had twins. They suffered the loss of one of those twins, in our 19th year.

Taking a moment to appreciate the magnitude of this loss. My parents lost a child.

No parent should outlive their child.

This day that we found out that he had died was so traumatic.

The police showed up with a photo of my twin brothers dead face.

They showed it to my mom and dad.

As per protocol.

I’ll stop there.

There was So much in between that I don’t know.

These are relationship goals! Cheers to this couple!

Especially this 52nd year, since just a few weeks ago, one was not confirmed to survive.

Here’s to you! Molly and Benny! AKA, my mom and dad. I love our relationship. And I love your relationship.

We’re together now, and we’ll be together no matter what. Love you both so much and I couldn’t be luckier to call you my parents!!

Today Many Years Ago…

Robert “Bobby” Dawson Rodriguez

A person was lost.

He was in turmoil, on trial, looking at a prison sentence.

He was also loved.

We had a barbecue the day before and I now know, he said goodbye.

To our little cousins, to me, to the world.

I went to bed, in a state of calmness because of this.

The next day, Memorial Day, everything changed.

He was gone.

Energy had shifted in real time.

It was the worst day I’ve ever known. The worst I hope to know.

On Memorial Day, so many years ago, the news was broken.

My parents were broken.

I was broken.

Officers came to my door, they showed a picture of my brothers dead face to my mom and dad.

They recognized him. My dad screamed. My mom felt unspeakable things.

But, that evening, there was a mocking bird. Singing a beautiful song. As we sat in our living room. Holding hands.

Nothing could’ve changed our devastation but that birds song helped.

It was as if he was there. In a different form. Comforting us.

It was mesmerizing. Uplifting.

I believe it was him.

Letting us know, “I’m okay now”. “Don’t worry”.

That night I had a dream.

He was in our house.

He came to me and said, “let mom know her chicken was the best. Be there for her.”

He turned to go back downstairs,where his room was.

He stopped and looked at me.

As a twin, he didn’t need to put anything into words.

I knew what he meant.

He’d be there for the next few weeks.

He’d be there to watch over us.

He’d be there when any of us crossed over.

Memorial Day is to remember those who’ve been in service of the greater good.

In our little family, we remember him. All the times he made us laugh. All the times we celebrated his accomplishments. All the times we spent with him.

I don’t fear death, only dying. But I believe in that moment he will be the one to take me to wherever we’re going.

And I will be so happy to see him again.

Girl World

Watching previously loved 90’s films like Clueless and currently Mean Girls.

Problematic to say the least but it wasn’t recognized at this time.

Terms like “retarded” we’re thrown around at will. Any gay character was comic relief nothing else. Asians were “nerds”, there may or may not of been black characters, if there were they were downtrodden, villains or just tokens. All of them not really there but there anyway because they were on the white periphery.

Watching these movies now is both nostalgic, and nauseating, because I was blind at the time.

But, Mean Girls…

This idea of “girl world”.

A manipulative, petty, frivolous and complicated disrespectful reflection of the female experience.

However, I did dip my toe into this world.

I took ballet from the time I was 5.

I loved it.

I quit after a run in with extreme prejudice in casting our yearly production of the nutcracker but that’s beside the point.

In fifth grade, I joined a toe class. It took a lot to get there. I was told I had flat feet and worked over time every day to strengthen the many bones in my feet to warrant toe shoes.

For those who don’t know, that’s when dancers lift themselves up on their toes and dance.

I question now if that wasn’t a race thing because the one other not white girl was placed in the same category. She was black and WAY better than me and most come to think about it.

I digress.

On my first day, an older girl came over to me and asked me what school I went to.

I told her.

She asked me who I was friends with.

I asked her why she needed to know.

Her response was shocking to me.

“I need to see if you’re cool. Are you cool?”

I said yes. She took my word for it. Maybe because I had boobs? Didn’t have braces? Wore eye makeup? Finally had bangs I could feather? All of the above?

She was cool with me for a few classes. Acted like we were besties.

Then, one day, she came to me angry.

“You don’t know this person or that person! You’re NOT COOL!”

I was filled with indignation. I responded.

“So!? What’s your problem? We were fine for the last few weeks!? I’m not cool because I don’t know the people you want me to know!?”

I feel like having boobs gave me confidence. After all, mine were bigger than hers.

I think I even pushed them out when I said this. Can’t believe I did this or even thought this was a source of power.

She walked away. And never talked to me again.

The next day at school, one of the girls this person mentioned came up to me in the hallway.

“Just so you know, I hate that bitch too.” She smiled at me and walked away. We’d never spoken before.

I immediately hated the whole situation. I felt so guilty.

I initially let the dance class girl think I was “on her side”. Whatever that means.

I wasn’t friends with the girl that came up to me in the hallway and called the dance class girl a “bitch”.

It was honestly the first time I had heard any woman called this in real life. And I hated it.

We weren’t even women. We were 12 year old girls.

I continued in dance class, kept my head down. Avoiding that girl like the plague.

I avoided that girl in the hallway too.

I had a few friends, didn’t need any more and I was never again singled out.

I was friends with pretty much everyone else, girls and boys with no problem.

I think about this often.

How in pop culture women are still seen as petty, manipulative, problematic while men don’t have any of these attributes. Or so we think.

It drives me crazy that even today, as much as I love reality TV like the real housewives still glom onto this rare phenomenon of women being divisive with each other, manipulative, petty, ridiculous and immature. Like 12 year olds in dance class. And even though it’s extremely rare, it seems to be what society wants to believe.

Definitely a way to keep women down and less powerful. That way, when a woman shows any emotion, it can be another case of why women can’t be trusted. In any way. It’s their nature right? It’s those crazy hormones that they can’t control!

I had control of my hormones at 12. Most women do at an early age.

I mean, what the fuck right?

Casey Anthony Doc

A strong woman!

Just watched this.


As a survivor of sexual abuse it hit home.

I remember this case. I along with everyone condemned her. She killed her kid so she could party like most people in their early 20’s. That was the narrative.

How could she smile when her child was missing?

Why was her child missing for a month and she didn’t report it?

It’s answered in this documentary. Somewhat, unfortunately for her.

I can’t imagine the horrible pain she went through. Losing her child, and everyone, including her family, blaming her.

No one wants to believe that such horrible things would happen to a child.

But they do.

Everyday and every night.

It’s easier to condemn than it is to work things out. Easier to believe a mother would murder her child, and call her “evil” than it is to try and understand systemic abuse.

Casey was as much a victim as was her daughter.

It’s not easy to reconcile that as humans. We are designed to survive.

I’m glad she gathered the strength to participate in this doc.

She had to.

I know, that experience of being silenced has to end in order to go on. It’s imperative to survive.

It doesn’t make anything go away though,the pain will always be there. You will never not blame yourself. The difference is crucial though.

The difference is, the narrative, it could be, You’re crazy and a liar,or, this happened and you’re telling the truth.

When you’re a child in the throes of abuse, you don’t know what’s happening. And you most likely blame yourself. It’s often done by someone you and everyone else loves. So,what case do you have? You compartmentalize it. it wasn’t this person.

If this is your experience,it changes you.

Completely and for good.

This doc affected me greatly. Mostly because of the certainty of the investigating officers. They had no idea that trauma was a thing. And they had every responsibility to.

After all, they were orchestrating a person’s potential death.

Hat’s off to Casey Anthony for this.

I wish I could hug her, even though hugging isn’t safe for people who’ve been sexually abused. Even though we do it all the time and turn ourselves off when it’s happening.

We reserve the right to rescind hugs. Without question.

One more thing to understand.

Cat Zoom Call, Christmas Issues

Belle calls Sammy


Harry picks up



Harry? What are you doing with Sammy’s phone? Is she there?


She is and she’s being annoying! She’s near me!

It’s Belle. She called me while I was sleeping on your phone and she woke me up.




Sammy it’s okay, take your time moving spots, I wanted to make a first impression anyway in my new house. Give me a sec.


Okay, I’m ready. I might look sleepy but it’s just because there’s been a lot of commotion around here. I told you there’s a tree right?


Ta Da!!! New house!!


Is that a tree? You have one too?


Yes, it’s up that way on a table. The thing you see is a toy. What do you think of my new house?


It’s good! Have you thought about peeing on it? See the thing behind me? Can’t be peed on.


Not that kind of box…You seem distracted. I get it. That thing behind you looks like it has things on it. You should try to chew them.



What the!!! You just made me run out of my house!!!


This is what I’ve been dealing with for like a month! See that ball?

It’s been asking for it all day!


I see it. I’m back in my house. I’ll let you go so you can teach that ball a lesson.


Will do! Just gonna chew on this star first. Talk soon!

Merry Christmas!!!

Molly Rodriguez

This is my mom. Very pregnant with twins.

She wasn’t prepared for twins, cried when she found out, but made it work.

With support of course from our amazing dad.

It’s her birthday today, 12-22.

As a kid it was difficult to find a gift for her this close to Christmas

Often it had to be combined. No one wants that on their birthday.

My mom has been a driving force in my success as an adult.

She worked nights for many years and still present at breakfast to send us kids off to school.

I never made the connection that she actually worked nights until adulthood.

When I wake up for work I think, “what if I were working all night”. I don’t know how she did it for so many years.

That’s how present she was in the mornings. I took for granted that she was always there to send us off.

I know my twin felt the same.

If he was here today, he’d be sending love to her today.

She’s my inspiration and my best friend.

Magical Norway from an American point of view

Bergen, Norway. The singer is Evior, the female voice and the one playing the drum, a Faroes singer. From the Faroe Islands. This was a tech rehearsal for a music festival.

I visited Scandinavia a couple years ago. Couldn’t tell you how many exactly, there were a couple years that disappeared in the pandemic.

I was shocked at their philosophy when it comes to government and what the government does for the people.

They have a philosophy. From the cradle to the grave.

It means, you will be taken care of your whole life by the government.

In America, that might read as, “you don’t have to work,or do anything,you can be a lazy piece of shit, and others will pay for you.”

In Scandinavia,because this is their mindset from the beginning, it’s completely different.

They pay a lot of taxes to be sure but they see where their money goes.

They have a mindset that they all take care of children, parents of children (we don’t make this connection in the States), and the elderly as well as themselves.

From the cradle to the grave.

There are other vital differences.

Norwegian people are said to be the happiest people and I can contest to that.

And Norway has months where the sun doesn’t really rise, so that’s saying a lot.

We’re a capitalist society, a blame the individual society, it’s not healthy and we often have to figure out how to be calm amongst chaos.

Traveling shows you alternate ways of thinking.

Cheers to you, Norway, and cheers to traveling to see different ways of life.

Eiver on her own.

The Good in Humankind

Reading the recent headlines it’s easy to loose faith in people.

Mass shooting in Colorado. Terrorist attack in Israel. A myriad of other more localized violence.

If you were an alien from another galaxy and you googled earth, you would think the worst. World wars, massacre’s, genocide.

All happened and happening as I write this.

However, having travelled the world, and I know I’m privileged to have been able to do this, I have a different take.

It’s controversial but I’ve seen that people are generally good. They’re just living life and getting by as they can.

I went to Norway a couple years ago and was taken aback when a Norwegian teenager who was working in a store asked to hug my mom.

He said that he’d lost his grandmother recently and my mom reminded him so much of her.

I could see his loss. And then saw his heart grow.

Having lost her teenage son, I’m going to say tragically but that’s a massive understatement, I saw her heart grow.

I can’t actually remember if they hugged due to a pandemic in between, but I remember that my mom’s heart went out to him, and he received it.

This was so beautiful and I hold onto that.

Two people of completely different generations across the world connected for a moment to create a memory for a lifetime.

Humankind, is at its core, positive and incredibly warm.

I leave myself with that today.