I originally posted this on Hi, then moved it to a Facebook note, but think the right place for it is here
There are dates that are indelible etched in my memory and will stay there forever.
26-Mar-1994, 27-Mar, 1994, 18-Jun-1945, 22-Dec-2002
Some of those dates are mine, some aren't. Yet it those dates that aren't mine the ones that hurt the most. My dad would have turned 70 on the 18 (born 18-Jun-1945.) I would have had another 13 years to patch my relationship with him and say all the things that I kept bottled inside with a large cork of pride.
It might have meant that I'd go back to visit my friends more often.
It might have meant so many different things over the last 21 years.
But dad passed away from complications from cirrhosis of the liver on 22-Dec-2002. It's funny that while some moments are hazy (and they are hazy because I choose to make them so) there are others that will forever remain as crystal clear as the day they happened.
I lived across the street from SJSU at the time and I was at home when the phone rang. It was my cousin who was one of the people taking care of my dad... I kinda already knew what he was going to tell me and it became even more unsettling when his first question wasn't how are you but where are you. I was sitting down so I told him I was sitting down and that I thought I knew was he would tell me.
And then he dropped the bomb.
My dad had passed away.
For the longest time I sat there.... The first person I called was mom who, not surprisingly, was already on her way to my place; she was the second person my cousin called after me.
I didn't know what to do... there was (and I guess still is) a very deep sense of guilt, of having let this happen and being partly responsible for what happened to dad. I've always told myself that I could have pushed for the people who are there to go check on him but I didn't say anything.
But, at the same time, there's been a lot of learning over the past 12 years. Learning about my dad and learning about myself.
Perhaps the hardest thing to learn, so far, is that I'm not him which is both good and bad.
It is good because, for all my faults and shortcomings, I'm happy where I'm at. While my dreams are still a nebulous block I've achieved a lot of what I dreamed I would.
It is bad because I don't think I ever really knew my dad. I knew what he chose to present to the world around him and the evolution of his life and how much things can change in so little time.
Every time I think I have questions or I have I find myself wondering what would he say and what would he do if he was in my place. I'm always ready to pick up the phone and call him.
And then I remember
And then I break down
And then I want to cry