My father passed away 34 years ago. As I think about him today, I remember the wonderful things he taught me. I remember his example. Daddy was a mystery I’ll be uncovering my entire life, but I’m so thankful for him and his forever impact on me and my world.
I can’t really speak to you, and I don’t pretend I can, but today I’m going to imagine this is a letter you’ll get to read.
You know, I’ve been missing you for most of my life, and that’s not going to change. It is a rare day that passes and you don’t come to mind.
Mommy had longer to cheer me on, but you were always my biggest fan—until Doug. I wish you two had met.
As little as we got to share, though, we had our moments. I have my memories…falling asleep on the couch on purpose, so you would have to carry me to bed…waiting to hear you come home…listening to you tell stories I didn’t understand, but still loved to hear…untying your shoes laces…learning to make your coffee….the rattle of ice in your glass…Orangina bottles…the way your presence filled any room…you kneeling at your seat before you preached (“What’s Daddy doing?” “He’s asking the Holy Spirit to anoint him, before he preaches.”)…tip-toeing through the house when you were napping (“Shhh. You’re father’s preaching tonight. He needs his rest.”)….wing tips and chess boards…just a few things that come to mind.
Thank you, Daddy, for treating me like I was great at everything I did, and could do anything I wanted. Thank you for being a kind man. Thank you for be a safe father. Thank you for teaching me to love America. Thank you for being such a generous person. Thank you for always bringing home surprises.
Thank you for all the things I never had to witness…vulgarity, drunkenness, abuse, violence, drug use, faithlessness, hopelessness, greed, perversion.
Thank you for never saying a bad word about my mother.
Thank you for loving movies and music and art. Thank you for writing me letters, and sending birthday cards. Con amor, Papi.
And, thank you for not being perfect. Thank you for failing over and over, and always trying to get back up. There are things about your life that make me so sad, but that’s one of the things your life taught me: choices have consequences. Family matters.
So, on this sad day, even with the good memories, I am sad. I’m sorry you left us so early, and I’m sorry you missed so much in life. I wish we could have known each other more, but I’ll see you again one day. Maybe, during the Millennium you can show me the Cuba you loved.