El Viejo

My Dad died on Saturday. On Sunday, he would have turned 72. It’s far too young to die, but he had been unwell for a long time. So, although we were prepared for it, it still came as a shock. Much more of a shock than I had anticipated.

My father was not a perfect man, perfect husband or perfect father. But he was a man, he was here, he lived here for 72 years, and if not for him I would not be me, and my kids would not be themselves. I owe him an immense gratitude for that, for my life and therefore being here to be a mom to my kids.

No one is perfect. Some are less imperfect than others, but no one is perfect. When we’re children, we think our parents are, I mean, for the most part. You grow up and you come to know your parents as imperfect, ordinary adults and for some that enlightenment is not always great. Our parents are fallible and thusly normal.

I didn’t have the opportunity, or really, the courage, to sort out my own issues with my dad before the end came for him. And that is a regret I’ll live with for the rest of my life. All I have now is the imaginary conversation we have in my head, filled with realization, empathy and forgiveness. And although that imaginary conversation is comforting, it didn’t actually happen. And now it never will.

If someone you love hurts you, tell them. If you love someone, tell them. If you have to have a knock-down, drag-out fight with someone you love, do it. Just do it. Or else regret it when it’s too late. People don’t live forever.

I hope that somehow, somewhere, if our energy transfers when we die, that “el Viejo” can see in my heart. That’s a comforting thought, too.

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Comments

  1. I completely relate to this post, my father and I didn’t speak for 10 years. But, fortunately we sorted things out before he passed. You have my deepest condolences.

  2. Veronica, I’m so sorry for your loss. I know how hard it is to lose a parent. Take good care.

  3. My goodness, I’m sorry to hear about your dad. My grandfather was 72 when he passed away in ’96 and though we all knew the end was coming fast, when my phone rang in the middle of the night, I tried my hardest to believe that it was anything but that dreaded news.

    Of course, it was my mom on the line from the hospital with news of his passing and it stung like nobody’s business.

    No matter how much we prepare, it’s never enough.

    We’re all here for you…

  4. I am so very sorry for your loss, Veronica. This is a special piece, a lovely tribute, honest and obviously difficult to write. First, thank you for sharing. Second, let me save you the trouble: have no regrets. Our issues with those we’ve lost, especially a parent, are unresolved with them. But it doesn’t mean they have to be unresolved within ourselves. I know very intimately the pain of regret but after a journey to my inner self, learned that it is wasted energy and could never be resolved unless I put it to rest.

    Right now, the pain of loss is so keen, because it’s so close (it doesn’t get better, it just gets to the point where the sharpness is dulled somewhat due to the passage of time). But when you begin to sort out your thoughts and your feelings, you’ll see that holding onto regrets will do you no good.

    You’re spot on with your observation on our parents being fallible. After I lost my mom, I saw her fallibility but even more, saw my dad’s. And continue to see it. But you are strong, and well grounded in your life, and that will get you through the tough times. It’s what helps me – being who I am either because, or in spite of my upbringing or adult relationship with my parents.

    Anyway, just wanted you to know you’re not alone; I think more people than we know have the same regrets or turmoil but don’t have the courage to admit it. THAT’S what you do have and to share it here is something you do with grace and dignity.

    Take care and hug your kids – they are your reflection and it is a beautiful one.

  5. Albert Banerjee says:

    Hey Veronica, a beautiful letter to el viejo. I’m moved and I send you a big hug. I was just thinking about my own relationship with my very imperfect dad. And I have come to accept it as it is. Imperfect. I feel a slowly growing sense of peace with that acceptance. He is alive, and I could work on ‘our relationship’. But I choose not to. It is as it should be. Imperfect. He knows I love him, though I do not recall uttering the words. I know he loves me, though I don’t recall hearing the words. And that is enough.
    To you with love and hugs during a very imperfect time.
    -Al

  6. Veronica

    Sad to hear you never had your peace with your father. I sincerely hope that your fathers passing has not upset the little ones to much, (hoping that he may have been a better grandfather than he was a father to you). 😦 Stay strong have no regrets and eat your salad last!

    Wishing you strength and courage for the days to come.
    XX

  7. Oakridge says:

    I’m sorry for your loss. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It makes me think about my own relationship with my parents. A lot of things go unsaid and probably shouldn’t. Something we can all work on.

  8. *Gasp* Sorry to heer dat. :”(

  9. This touched me a lot Veronica !

  10. Veronica, sorry to hear about your loss.

  11. Sincere condolances.

    Lost my dad at a similar age and could not agree more – it’s too young.

  12. Sincere condolances.
    Lost my dad at a similar age and you’re right – it’s too young.
    I have few regrets but one is not taking up his invitation for lunch one Sunday. He had dropped by unannounced – something he rarely, if ever did. He died later that week.

  13. RKArctic says:

    Sincere condolences, Veronica.

    Robert

  14. So very sorry. I enjoy your blog and was saddened to hear your news. I lost my dad four years ago unexpectedly and never got the chance to say goodbye or tell him how much he meant to me, something that really bothers me still. But I agree with you, I think there is something after this life, and the both my dad and yours know what we are thinking, and how we are feeling, so I hope you can find some comfort in that. Hugs to you.

    Erin

  15. Veronica, these things are never easy to handle. (And I’ve never been good at giving people my condolences, either, so hopefully these words are enough.)

    72 years isn’t enough time, but as you already know, you dad gave you so much in those 72 years. And he did a really good job! All of your readers and Twitter friends are here for you, because we always feel like you’re here for us. So just know that you have our support, no matter what you need, and that we care about you and we’re thinking of you. And praying.

  16. Sorry about your loss.
    I think we all endeavor to be good, as much as possible, and that’s important and good in itself.

  17. so sorry for your loss Veronica – I am sure your dad knew how you felt and feel about him.

    God Bless and Take care
    Laura

  18. Very well said…. I know exactly where you are speaking from….

    *virtual hugs* CP~

  19. I’m sorry. 😦

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