Jack of All Eco-Trades

This day-to-day has been quite difficult since June 6th for us … our only mode of transportation broke down and we have been without. Our truck is the last material thing that Torey was in when he passed. I don’t know why, but I feel like I need to keep it for that sentiment … along with the fact that I don’t want two car notes in one year. I can’t afford it.

Das wants a car and Torey promised him one … so I’m determined to make it happen. It’s just been struggle after struggle the past few weeks and I’m overwhelmed.

On a brighter note: Das and I have managed to keep it real with one another. He has grown up a lot these past few months and has been an anchor for me. I’m so proud of him – and he’s surrounded by so many uplifting friends, parents, coaches and teachers. I’m truly grateful.

I have spent a lot of time looking through photo albums (online and through photo albums) – playing videos of Torey these past few weeks leading up to his birthday and father’s day. I’ve been working on getting his journal entries on to a digital format so his train of thought has been fresh on my mind.

He truly wanted to help the poor, the helpless, the oppressed and wanted to see social reform. His material speaks volumes now more than ever before because of the current social climate. I need to spend some time going to our storage unit and gather more material that may be in there. My current transportation situation is hindering me from accomplishing this, so it’s going to be a few more weeks.

In the interim … I will share a sketch I worked on last night. It’s pretty rough and I’ll probably work on more. I wasn’t exactly sober so … there’s that.

Also, just so you know how much of a “Jack of all eco-trades” he was, I included all of the business cards he used within the past 10 to 11 years. I know I’m missing a few. I still haven’t gone through all of the cards he collected – and man! There are SO MANY!

He was proud of all of the business cards he had, but 2 stand out: Green Dream and Green Sox. He truly believed in everything he did – he knew people who didn’t understand his passion, but that didn’t hinder him. Torey never let anyone’s negativity rub off on him – this is something Das and I have learned from him.

We’re proud of you, T-Mitch. Love you … and miss you.

  • Sketch of T-Mitch
  • Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog | The Green Dream Company
  • Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog | Green Sox Baseball
  • Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog | Balcones Resources
  • Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog | Recycle Revolution

His Birthday is Coming

Torey’s birthday is coming up on the 18th … I’m not sure how I feel about it. I think of my mother-in-law, Vivi, often and the pain she’s going through as well.

A beautiful soul was born that day back in 1976 only to be taken too soon…

Born in Wadley Regional Medical Center…

I feel like I was there based on the many times I’ve heard his Grandmother Charlotte and Vivi describe that day…

It rained and rained…

The hospital flooded…

He was a healthy young baby and as a young boy loved spending time with family…

Torey loved to reminisce about spending time at his Grandparents’ house on Des Moines street…

Loved climbing trees…

Enjoyed his Grandmother’s cooking and her bountiful garden…

Enjoyed watching his Grandfather fix the front porch – how he could hammer the nail into the wood with just one powerful stroke…

How the flowers bloomed – tulips, hydrangeas stood out to him the most…

He loved picking berries and fishing with a pan in the nearby creek…

His love of sports, especially baseball…

Spending time and playing with his best friend, Gib, and later his younger brothers…

Then there were the darker times during his childhood, things he didn’t disclose to just anyone…

His childhood alone was enough of an experience that shaped him into the man he became…

The teenage years helped him discover a fun, crazy and an eye-opening social life…

His love for baseball grew but he decided to set it aside…

The first birthday I celebrated with Torey was his 20th in 1996…

So young and SO deep in love!

We grew into adulthood together and what an amazing journey…

Living in Houston during our 20s was an absolute blast – we were free to the world, making mistakes which we later learned from, but we never lost sight of one another…

Our 30s marks the time we started our family when Das entered our lives…

The bond between the three of us was and always is our super glue…

Fatherhood allowed Torey to fully become the caring man he always wanted to be for Das…

Baseball re-entered his life again and he couldn’t have been happier…

Everything he did was to make sure Das was prepared for high-school level of competition – yes, everything…

Sure, he gave a damn about the environment and took initiative…

He marched to the beat of his own drum – a trait I’ve always admired and fully supported…

Torey would come up with so many incredible ideas and I was there to back him up and help him…

There isn’t anything he couldn’t do, or I wouldn’t do for him…

He just needed a little more time to get to where he wanted to get to…

2020 was going to be the year for him and he always talked about this, always reassured me that our lives will improve, and Das will be set for college level baseball…

This was supposed to be his year…

This was supposed to be the year we were going to celebrate our 25th year of being together…

Maybe we were supposed to celebrate another 25 years together or maybe we weren’t… but if we weren’t supposed to then why did he have to leave this world so soon? Why?

It’s not fair and yes, acceptance has set in, but not 100%…

I still feel:

Grief. Cheated. Trauma. Anger. Emotional pain. Physical pain. Anxiety. Loneliness. Despair. Frustration. Depression. Nostalgic. Numb. Confusion. Yearning. Panic. Fear. Regret.

The closer his birthday approaches, one feeling I cannot shake: Sadness.

It’s going to be so hard to face June 18th

Yes, I will be celebrating Torey Mekhale Mitchell as best as I can – Das will, too…

But dammit … it’s not supposed to be this way. Period. 

Thoughts & Creativity

I’m going through some of the only journals Torey kept from the time period before Das was born: mainly 2002.

I’m working on placing all of his work on a digital platform to share with the world… still undecided on which platform so feel free to share your suggestions with me.

He was so creative … and so passionate about social justice. He would have had some intense conversations with many of you by now. Genius is probably an understatement.

It’s his thoughts, poems, lyrics, essays and art work he created. I hope this brings inspiration to people.

Up-Cycled Love

At the beginning of last month, I found myself in my closet, holding on to Torey’s clothes he had on when he passed away. I shed so many tears, felt the urge to hold on to his torn-up shirt and jeans. His Grandfather had gifted Torey the shirt – Granddaddy used to wear it often and during one of our visits to Texarkana, he was clearing out some stuff in his closet. He handed the shirt to Torey and told him to use it. T-Mitch was like, “For real!? Because this shirt is so DOPE!” The memory always makes me smile because they exchanged quite a few chuckles that day in the house off Sanderson Lane.

After composing myself and drying my tears, I laid the material on my bed and decided to up-cycle the material into something useful. Torey’s jeans were his only pair that didn’t have holes in ‘em so he used them frequently for work. When he wasn’t working, he’d be in his “holy” jeans. I knew T-Mitch would be all for up-cycling the material.

I YouTubed how-to videos and decided a purse would do. Initially I wanted to take on this challenge even though my sewing skills are less than average … okay, non-existent! I figured I’d check on purchasing a sewing machine, but after Googling and Amazoning, I decided the investment wouldn’t be worth it because I honestly don’t have a passion for being a Suzy-homemaker or whatever. Instead, I took to Facebook to see if anyone would let me borrow their machine. I was blown away by the number of people who offered their machine to me – thank you SO much!

After thinking about it some more, I decided it would be better to leave this task in the hands of a more skilled seamstress (I can’t imagine how bad I would have messed up and possibly even ruin the limited amount of material!). One of Torey’s favorite bartenders/waitresses, Brianne, from Twin Peaks saw my message and she messaged me. Brianne said her Nana Myra, is an amazing seamstress who used to make Halloween costumes for her and her brother – she showed me a picture and I was comforted by the offer.

Brianne also went on to tell me that Torey appeared in her dream the night before… he was in a car and the window was up and he was all smiles. Brianne was with Shada, a dear friend who used to wait on Torey, too. Both were in tears at being able to see Torey and she said all he did was smile at them. Brianne woke up and felt actual tears on her face and after she saw my Facebook message she was floored. I was equally in awe and knew in my spirit that this was the right call. I’m pretty sure Brianna and Nana Myra would agree, too.

I rushed to the post office and sent Brianne the material since she lives in Waco – I couldn’t wait to see what was going to become of the material!

A few weeks went by and Brianne sent these images to me to show Nana’s progress:

Amazing, right? Well Brianne drove all the way from Waco last Friday to bring the finished product. We met at Twin Peaks in Lewisville (my first time out in a public environment since the COVID-19 quarantine!) and Shada joined us, too, with her handsome son, Quinn! Simply amazing. Lo and behold, here is the finished product:

  • Nana Mayra | Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog
  • Nana Mayra | Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog
  • Nana Mayra | Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog
  • Nana Mayra | Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog
  • Nana Mayra | Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog
  • Nana Mayra | Torey Mitchell | Belligerent Gus Blog

I can’t tell you how happy this makes me, or how much comfort it brings to me. As soon as Das saw it, he said, “New baseball purse, Ma!” and yes, I will be carrying this around every ballpark from here on out. Speaking of ballparks, Das’ summer baseball season starts on Torey’s birthday this month – and to be honest we’re a little torn-up about this because the tourney is in Tomball and I won’t be able to make it down there. Das will be going to the tournament with our dear friends, The Martin Family, and I’m so thankful for them! I know one thing is for sure – Torey won’t be missing these games!

Thank you, Brianne and Nana Myra! Many blessings to you and your sweet gesture – this is a priceless gift and I will treasure it forever.