Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday November 29, 2008

For Ethan

My Father's Passing

I'm sorry that you will never get to truly know my dad. You would have loved him as much as he loved you.

I feel like I’ve been preparing for his imminent death for a decade if not longer. He just wasn’t supposed to live as long as he did and after a certain point I think I got comfortable in his seeming immortality. Now I understand that you can never prepare for the loss of someone you love, even if imminent. There’s nothing that can prepare you for the void that happens when it’s over.

Papi died at the ripe old age of 82. As far as I'm concerned, he died way too soon. He was relatively healthy up until the last couple of years when the medicines starting taking their toll on him. You see, the fact that my father lived until he was 82, was nothing short of a miracle. A true blue miracle. When you hear the phrase love conquers all, well, it certainly did in this case. My father’s life expectancy according to his doctors and by all accounts and purposes should have ended years before it did. His memories and stories about his family and their exploits, his childhood, his adolescence, his struggle for work as a young adult and his ache to be a good son, brother, husband and father, were prolific and entertaining. The glimpses of history in his life were far better than any PBS documentary. I believe that he continued to live, because of his continued love of family.

He was a courageous man in the true sense of the word. I've seen him stand up to street thugs, abusive policemen and union strongmen. He was right in every one of those instances, and he won every one of those battles, via his wits, brawn or sheer force of will.

My father always spoke well of his mother. He thought the world of his father. Loved each of siblings, never had a cross word to say about any of them.

Never saw a man so happy to have a family. He adored us, both my brother and I, and he adored his wife even more. My father always said he was nothing without my mother.

He was generous to a fault, kind and always had a good word to say to make someone feel better. Always kidding around with people trying to make them laugh. Always had a joke, even if they were stolen from Alvares Guedes much of time. He hurt when he heard things on the news about children, animals or the elderly or even those in other countries at war.

He loved classic Cuban music. He especially loved a song called “Sabor a Mi” which he played over and over again, year after year. I grew up to all the best Cuban music and crooners. It’s why I love many of those songs till this day.

I’m just happy I realized these things before he passed away and I’m glad in the last years I was able to tell him so much of what I’ve written here.

Tell me that story again Papi, I miss you already.

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