Sunday, July 06, 2008

Happy birthday dad

To rephrase this song:

Pain, pain fatal pain

It plays hideous tricks on the brain

Today was my fathers’ birthday. Had things gone ideally he would’ve been 62 years old and starting to enjoy retirement. Instead, he’s been dead for nearly three years and his remains are in a cemetery in a small Colombian town.

I want to say so many things; chiefly I wish I could lash out for his passing away and to let go of all the sadness and misery I’ve bottle up regarding his death. Yet for the sake of my family’s unity and progress (especially my mom’s sanity) I continue to look out for them more than me and I try to help them trudge forward.

It is this sacrifice for others which embodied my late father and that followed him to his last moments. (When he died he had been sweeping the floor and doing some light cleaning despite needing the rest after a ridiculously hard week at work. He didn’t have to do it and he was physically beat, but he wanted to neaten things up for us).

A quick anecdote: many years ago I was conversing with my dad. I asked him if he had such such a wonderful job, increased income, and was constantly surrounded by family in Colombia then why did he leave it all behind to start from square one in the U.S. His reply was simple: “I did it for you and your brothers.” Naively I couldn’t comprehend what he was saying; it seemed irrational that he would leave behind the cusp of his youth and so many things that gave him joy and satisfaction. He wanted to provide his future wife and kin with the freedom that he knew they would enjoy. His life in the U.S. was filled with obstacles especially in the first few years but he derived joy from our comfort and well-being. It was a concept that at the time seemed alien to me.

Yet in the many months since his passing I’ve grown to truly appreciate his words and the impetus behind them. His unselfishness and care for others was his legacy and it is something my brothers and I try to carry on. His memory and spirit will continue and hopefully grow in the upcoming years. He deserves it as he rests in peace from the heavens above; pleased, happy, and looking down upon us.

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