Saturday, September 26, 2020

On Your 93rd, Birthday, Daddy

 Today would have been my father's 93rd birthday.  He died in 1999.  Two decades has passed since his death.  I talk of him often, my human hero.  I miss him acutely.

I am not one to dwell in grief.  My father wanted so desperately for me to live.  He told me when he died to feel free to wear red and be happy.  Sweet man!  He knew he was going to a better place.  I dressed him in a navy blue suit with a red tie.  I couldn't wear red even if you paid me.  It's true I was his only child but his lessons continue.  I talk to others about his sayings and perspectives on life.  I am thankful to him because of it.

I think about the many times he messed it up.  Man, he could make mistakes.  I think about his failings.  Like all of us, he had them.  He had strange ideas about status and appearances.  It wasn't that he was shallow.  It's that he didn't discount that appearances make impressions in this world.  Here I am fighting to be true and here he is trying to teach me how to play the game.  I wanted to live life like there was no game to play.  He agreed.  He taught me that serving God allowed freedom but the game existed whether I wanted to play or not.  Maybe I'm making things too simple in explaining.  Maybe I'm making him seem more materialistic than he was, but my intention is not to offend.  I just want to acknowledge that I don't have hero worship of my father.  I loved him and if ever there is someone to choose to admire in this world, I admire him.

I check myself.  How am I feeling?  This was my first week back in person.  Next week, there will be students to teach in my classroom.  I haven't really asked how I felt about anything.  I didn't want to think about it.  If I dont ask, then I won't have to deal with the answers.  This has been how I am surviving.  I am only dealing with what is in front of me.  I am respecting my boundaries.  But now that I am thinking of my father; I can honestly say that I miss him.  His loss is like a dull ache in my heart like the way a broken bone may hurt when it rains.  

I wonder what he would say if he were to see me now.  I would like to think that he would be forgiving and somewhat proud.  My father would lack words but his face was so expressive.  His usual response was, "Oh my God!"  He had a hundred different "Oh my God's"  He used them to convey every single emotion.  I could hear him now.  My mother would ask a hundred questions.  My father would only ask about my happiness.  Isn't that how father's are?  

I think of him and his parenting.  He continues to parent through me to my children.  He whispers to me, "Vive una vida buena."  Live a good life.  In thinking of him, I have opened something up and my missing him grows.  In a bit, I will read some Neruda to commemorate.  He loved poetry.  I'm thinking Poem 17.  It is fitting.  Happy Birthday, Papi.  You are missed.

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