My Papi

March 25, 1996

17 years ago, just 20 days before the birth of my precious girl (my gift in disguise), just 9 days after my baby shower, I was awoken by the call – my brother’s words “you gotta come to the hospital, papi passed”…….

Just minutes before I was semi-asleep in my parents bed (after spending the day next to his hospital bed), resting my head on my father’s pillow and sleeping on his side of the bed – when I felt “it”, I felt “him” – I know he was saying goodbye, just minutes before my brothers call!

I have never written about my father’s untimely death and the devastation we all felt, the hole that still exists in my heart, the pain that comes every now and then, abruptly – because I get a wind of his scent, I hear a similar laugh, the look of a man’s eyes that resembles his, or a song we danced too – all gentle reminders of my father and while it brings a smile to my face, it is also a gentle reminder that he is not here. He’s not here to see my kids – oh how he would’ve loved all his grandchildren.

The joy that he was able to meet my son and my neice was a blessing! The thought that as he laid dead in a hospital bed, the blanket that covered him read “Angelica” – his way of telling me that he loved my girl even though she wasn’t born yet & he will not be meeting her!

You never quite get over the loss of a parent – I don’t care what anyone says! There’s so much I want to tell him and share with him; to be able to dance one more salsita with him, to hear his voice or his corny laugh, to hear him play his congas – if only I can get that one chance! There’s so much I want to tell you about my papi, but the words just aren’t flowing….

Did I mention this is not easy – not even 17 years later; wow how time flies by!

He was just 44 years old when he died, he had pneumonia and had a heart attack! Let’s just say this was the last thing on my mind when I left him at the hospital a couple of hours before, riddled with a high fever, his olive skin flushed by the high temp, his green eyes pale – I told him “te quiero, te veo mañana”, he mustered “tabien” through his oxygen mask. I never did see him alive after!

Funny how I remember every second of that day as if it were yesterday!

Amazing that I still recognize his smell, his laugh – but if I can only hear him again!

My papi, so much to tell him, so much for him to see, he would be 61 this year – damn, why did he have to leave us so soon!

I was once so mad at the world – how can everyone carry on with their lives, laugh and celebrate? Did they know my father just passed away and we were all so devastated, so broken!

I gave his eulogy, I kissed him goodbye forever on March 30th – we buried him; but I know that he lives in my heart, my soul, my memory and my spirit and none of it will ever be taken from me.

I talk to him a lot, for I know he visits me; I see him in my dreams a lot, that is how he talks to me; I stare at his pictures often, wondering what he would be like now, how different life would be with him in it!

Damn, I miss my papi so much for so many reasons – I can’t even put it into words!

Love your parents despite their faults because we are not perfect – far from it. In my eyes, my father was my king despite his faults – he’ll always be my king! Nothing else matters!!

My mother taught me strength and resilience, my father – he taught me to have self-respect, taught me that a man and a women are equals, that a man should love, respect and honor a women and the importance of family…

I’ll write about him one day, share with you all stories about how he made us laugh, our trips to the park, our family Sunday’s; I guess today was not the day.

Papi, te ago mucha falta y te quiero para siempre! Nunca te olvidare, nunca!

Raul Perez – my dad ❤

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