© 2019 by Frank Rojas | Email: behindlosojos@gmail.com

Robert

“They were at a party and my mom was, of course, there, and she was talking to one of her homegirls about this dude who she stopped talking to because he didn’t have a job. My dad overheard and said, ‘Well I got a job, and it’s a good one.’ And she kind of ignored his comment.

 

He went back to my grandma a few days later and explained to her the situation. My grandma laughed and told him that’s the one to bring to the house. Eventually, he continued to talk to her and from there it was a wrap. 

He was born in Toledo, Ohio, and moved to Pomona, California, when he was young. He could do any calculation in his head and never needed a calculator.

 

Always cracking jokes, dancing, and spreading love. He got caught up in the gang life and for a while, he was good at it. But all of that changed once my siblings and I came into the picture. 

I remember the last day we spent together. I was in the sixth grade and had just gotten home from school. My sister was there with my niece, and she was washing the car. My dad came out and was teaching my niece how to water the grass.

 

He passed away from a massive heart attack a few moments later… I felt hurt because he said he would live to see me get married and to see my children. I blamed him for not taking his health more seriously. I really wanted to be my dad so much. But he always told me that he wanted me to be better. 

Now I understand what he meant. Because in his life, he made so many mistakes. He did a lot of things in the past. He would always say: ‘I’ve done enough bad in my life to where nobody else in my family should have to do bad again, I did it for you.’ At the end of the day our job isn’t to live forever. It’s to pass down the knowledge that we have in the time that we have.

 

In the short 12 years that I had him, he passed down so much knowledge about what it means to be a man. What it means to be a black man. To come from nothing. To have something and appreciate the things you have. He served his purpose. I’m his restart button, as my kids will be mine.” 

I'm his restart button, as my kids will be mine.