|Dad's First Holy Communion, C. 1939|
My father is almost 83 years old.
BUT In my eyes my Dad is strong, loving, and (was) the disciplinarian to us when we were kids. He commuted from Hayward to South San Francisco for over 30 years. He worked long hours at a commercial printing company...yet he always had the time to practice softball pitching with me, or come to my volleyball games. He had time to coach the boys basketball team at St. Bede's Parochial School on Patrick Avenue. He was never a huge mountain-man-type but in my eyes he was always strong and big.
The past few years however have not been good to my dad. They have withered him away into a frail man. He has been very weak. It is hard for him to hold his 5 month old (number 4) great-grandbaby for more than a few minutes. Mostly because she is a little wiggler and his feeding tube access on his stomach is sensitive and sore. Nights are filled with coughing and restlessness. He doesn't talk much anymore, and seems as if his loss of hearing is a blessing to him more than it is to us. I miss talking to my dad. I love his wisdom and his life-long experience in maneuvering successfully to have three great kids who are all well and successful enough. He is a veteran of the Korean War, and has served beyond his time as part of the Funeral Service Color Guard to fallen brothers.
I have slept maybe 7 hours the past 72 hours...I have been fearing a call in the middle of the night with news I have long avoided. I was so afraid to close my eyes in fear that if I did I would cause reliving a nightmare that happened in 1966. That was the year when I was only 6 years old (same age as my beautiful little granddaughter, Eowyn) when my parents and us were awaken by a telephone call in the middle of the night. My Gramma Dubay's house in SF was on fire, and Gramma was hurt. My mother cried from the telephone call (Hayward) to San Francisco. It was so horrible. It has left such an scar on my heart seeing my mom cry like that , and having my precious Gramma die shortly afterwards from complications of diabetes...
How can I sleep? How can I focus on school work or friends? It has not been easy. I KNOW I am blessed that I have my mom and dad still with me. Many of my friends have loss at least one of their parents long ago. What can I say...we have good genes.
Not being able to see my father has been very, very hard on me. I have counted on my mom, brother and daughter to keep me appraised of dad's condition. My nurse sister-friend here in Reno has been comforting and reassuring me that Dad will come through this. I have tried to be strong, crying only when I think no one is looking on. I cannot lose my dad. I cannot lose my mom. I am selfish and desire only to have my parents who are the most precious parts of my life with me as I graduate with a B.S. in Geology next year. I want my father who sacrificed his education for his family to see one of his kids get a degree. Last year we talked and he confided in me telling me of his dreams of going to UC Berkeley as a kid. Although I didn't apply to UCB I know that he is proud of me and that my education at UNR is going well.
Dad has not had an easy life. He was born in a silver mining town in the Red Mountain District of Colorado. As a young child he was sent to San Ildefonso Pueblo where he and his little sister, Loretta, was raised by Gramma Annie and five aunties (Carolina, Pauline, Helen, Sylvia, and Fedie). No running water, dirt floors, and no electricity on the pueblo left him appreciative of his life with Mom and his three kids back in the Sixties. I know his loves San Ildefonso, and his memories has been shared with me on many of my probing talks.
Tonight I received news about my dad. He has turned the corner and looking like his healing process has begun. He coloring has returned. He hardly coughed when my mom was there. My brother texted me with the words "the look of death is no longer in his eyes". I asked for prayers for my father. YES despite my education as a scientist I BELIEVE IN GOD. I believe in prayer. I believe in the POWER of prayer.
Science explains how it happens - God (for me) is why it happens. I have many friends how are atheists, pagans, and non-believers in anything but themselves...it is all okay...because whatever positive thoughts and/or prayers that came from your hearts has helped ME. It might not have cured Dad but it has HELPED me. Thank you.
In the words of my dear sister-friend Teresa, your dad IS a soldier.
|Dad at Jake's Commissioning Ceremony, San Diego 2013|
|Skagway, Alaska 2006|