Bye, bye, Dad. Adiós, Papá.

jestcafe.com--dad22016 has been a difficult year for the world and personally.

The worst for me so far has been the death of my dad almost two months ago. I haven’t written about it because it brings so much pain and sadness, but I don’t want this blog to be only about fun and beautiful things. Blogs can be so shallow sometimes. It is hard to find a balance. I am struggling with it.

So, two months ago, my dad stop existing in this world and a little bit of my soul died with him. This strong feeling surprised me. I never thought I would be so affected. Please, don’t misunderstand what I am saying. I left Chile 15 years ago for LA. Since then, my dad has been a distant geographical figure. We talked only once every couple of weeks. Sometimes, I wouldn’t call him in months, but he was there, alive and warm, every time I called him. Loving me so much and I loving him.

I have realized now that his place in my soul was strong and dominant. Knowing of his existence and unconditional love helped me breath. Now that help is gone and I suffer the loss.

Three years ago, we started seeing more of each other. He would come to LA and spend a month at a time. We went to museums, concerts, and enjoyed each other’s company. My kids are older now, and I am doing better financially, so we could afford the time and money to do many things. I thought it was only the beginning. My dad was so healthy, so full of energy, so in love with his grandkids, but now all that has passed. He is gone and I am left here to grieve.

Death is so definite. No matter how much you cry, no matter how much you suffer, the one you lost is gone forever. That phone call will always be misdialed; nobody answering the other line. Before my dad died I could understand this in theory, now I understand it in my heart.

I have found that grieving takes time and it is a personal journey. Nobody can help you. It is your suffering and your lost. You never know what will trigger the pain: a song in the radio or the full moon shining bright in the dark sky. Anything could bring back the memory of his blue eyes and full smile, leaving my heart to heal. My heart is exhausted of healing and breaking down again.

But I want to talk about my dad and who he was for me. My dad was, no doubt, one of the people that loved me the most: my first love. He marveled at everything: the beauty of a flower; the smile of his grandkids; a poem; a loving painting. He was a sensitive man and taught me to appreciate the subtleties of life. He was very poor growing up and lost his mother when he was three year old. This always pained him. I didn’t understand. I understand now.

He was a sensitive man. The practical world didn’t interest him. The world of words and feelings was more attractive to him. If you wanted to connect, you needed to sync into his words and find common ground. He was a character, a man that didn’t leave you indifferent. His take on the world was special and people surrounding him took notice. Two months ago he had a stroke and he was gone within 36 hours. I was able to fly down and say goodbye before he parted this world. I miss him deeply.

I don’t want this post to be too long, but I wanted to pay a small tribute, reluctantly, knowing that writing this will leave me in sorrow for days afterwards.

Grief walks you through so many different paths: surprise, sadness, anger, denial, and despair. Right now, I feel a little angry and checked out. It is hard to care about anything. Life and it’s true meaning seem unimportant to me. I know this will pass, but now it is too real to rationalize anything.

The thing is, my daddy might be gone, but my love for him is not.

Is there anybody else out there having a bad year? My friends tell me it is a trend. It certainly seems like it by reading the newspapers. I will welcome 2017.

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28 replies
    • Mila says:

      Hi, Marta! thanks for the thoughts. You were one of the first people that signed up for my mailing list. I remember by your nice email address. Muchas gracias for el mensaje. De veras.

      Reply
  1. Luchi says:

    Y aunque golpeemos todas las puertas del mundo……nunca abrirá el papá.
    La experiencia del amor: duele !!!
    Pero quedan mis hilos sutiles de los construido.
    Si, el año ha sido duro, pero lo ganado en pesaje de amor nos salva, te lo aseguro.
    Siempre cerca.

    Reply
  2. Judith Donegan says:

    So sorry but you are so rich he was what every child wants in a dad,be thankful and be thankful he touches you still.lucky little girl,lucky dad,cause his daughter truely loves him always and forever, nothing can ever change that hugs prayers, and above all LOVE

    Reply
  3. Bibi says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I can understand your heart a little, my grandfather passed away 3 weeks ago unexpectedly. Though physically distant (he lived in Germany) we were close at heart and the smallest things will make me remember and mourn for him – railroad tracks, the way he pronounced my name, the hot weather… He is alive in so many things and I wish I could talk to him again.
    I pray it will get easier for you in time. He looked like a wonderful person to have had in your life. <3

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Bibi, I am so sorry to hear. You understand exactly what I am going through. I wish I could talk to my dad every minute of the day. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  4. Yassi says:

    Beautiful words my friend – I’ve been thinking of you daily this week that I’ve been lucky to spend with my father … Thank you for sharing this, I know it isn’t easy …

    Reply
  5. Carina says:

    Dear Mila, I am so sorry to hear this and you will be in my thoughts. For me, personally, 2015 was a year of much loss – including my father’s passing in December. Your post in beautiful. Take good care of yourself. Xo

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Thanks, Carina. I am sorry to hear your 2015 was sad. I am happy is 2016 for you then. Our dads passed away so close to each other. How sad, but then I remember is the story of life. There is nothing to be done, and I move on with the sadness in check. best.

      Reply
  6. Macarena says:

    ufff Mila, no sabes como comparto cada palabra de tu post, no solo en las que describes la gran persona que fue tu papá y como nos marcó su forma de ver el mundo a todos los que tuvimos la suerte de compartir con él….la música, los paseos por el bosque, la literatura, en fin….tu papá dejó una gran huella.
    tu manera de llevar a palabras el duro (y eterno) camino del duelo….es muy cierta, no hay nada que hacer para dominar esa pena que aparece sin mucho anuncio, en cualquier momento del día y que se gatilla por cosas inesperadas….creo que con el tiempo se aprende a dominar la pena y convertirlos en recuerdos que hay que atesorar, para no olvidar historias, anécdotas……

    te mando un beso muy grande
    maca

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Maca, tú entiendes muy bien lo que estamos viviendo. Tú papi también fue una persona muy especial. Siento no haberte dicho nunca que lo sentía mucho. Muchas gracias por el cariño. Espero el día en que pueda pensar en mi papá sin tanta tristeza. Muchas abrazos y besos.

      Reply
  7. Jeanne says:

    Mila: So sorry for your loss. You will carry him with you in your heart and soul always…take care of yourself and your family – hugs from a reader in NM.

    Reply
  8. Chape says:

    Querida Mila,

    Tengo los más lindos sentimientos y recuerdos de ti. Te acompaño espiritualmente en este proceso tan complejo, estoy llorando ahora por que me da tristeza el sentir de tu pérdida. Te envío todo mi cariño y deseo que puedas avanzar de la manera más tranquila y sabia desde el amor que obtuviste y que tienes hacia él.Maravillósa creación la de tu padre. Te quiero.
    Chape.

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Chape, gracias. Te pasaste. Yo también tengo recuerdos hermosos tuyos. Caminamos varios años juntas. No lo olvidaré nunca. Te quiero.

      Reply
  9. Pedro Mora says:

    que lindas palabras Mila…
    Fueron bien amigos con mi papa, cuando supo quedo bien afectado, me pidio que les dijera que lo siente mucho
    Siempre nos acordamos con Jose Maria de ti y la Coco con harto cariño, espero que la pena se transforme luego en tremendos recuerdos!
    Un abrazo enorme desde Concepcion, muchos cariños de toda la familia.

    Reply
  10. Elise Xavier says:

    First off, don’t hesitate to write stuff like this. Personally, this is probably my favourite post of yours on your entire blog (top 3 with your interview with your father and “When Do We Start Talking To Our Children About Race?”). And from a bigger perspective, this is the kind of thing that needs to be written and spoken about more often.

    Now about your loss.

    1 – I’m so sorry. I know it’s not any real consolation to hear this, but nonetheless I’ll say it anyway. It’s terrible to have to lose someone close to you in the first place, let alone when it comes as a surprise, you were reconnecting so well recently, and you thought you had plenty of time left. That’s a really hard hit. 🙁

    2 – “Life and it’s true meaning seem unimportant to me.” In my opinion, life and its true meaning is about valuing the people and relationships around you that made you better, and you mourning the loss of your father is a part of that. Think about how the pain you’re in reflects how much he really meant to you – if you were having an easier time with losing him it likely would’ve been because you didn’t have the greatest relationship with him/didn’t feel like you were missing out on much. Remember that the pain is a reflection of how much of an impact he had on your life and so be “happy” that you have it to some extent because of what it means about your relationship with him.

    3 – Grieving is a personal thing, and something that you do on your own, yes, but it’s often much easier when you’ve got people who will support you and be there with you through it. There’s a reason funerals are held and it’s not for the dead, it’s so that those who are left can support each other through their grief. The only value I’ve found in funerals was going through and talking about stories and memories with other loved ones – it helps create a “you know what, this isn’t okay, but at least we had the chance to know this person and be changed by them” sort of feeling, which eases the pain. It’s not nice to feel like your treasured relationship will be forgotten, so passing on stories about the person to someone who may not know them also is (in my opinion) very stress-relieving.

    4 – Remember that only 3 years ago you didn’t see him as much and if he’d had his stroke back then, you wouldn’t have been able to spend all that time with him the way that you did. Though it’s not fair he was taken from you too early, it’s still a lot better than him having been taken from you back then, because then you wouldn’t have gotten that chance. If it makes things any easier, try thinking of that 3 years as 3 “bonus” years that I’m sure you’re so glad you had.

    I hope you don’t feel like I’m overstepping, but if I was going thorough this, these are the kinds of reminders that would make me feel a teensy bit better.

    Good luck, and don’t worry if you’d like to write more posts about this. If you have more to say, we’re here to listen – and very happily. Your words about your father are clearly from the heart and are so beautiful.

    Reply
    • Mila says:

      Elise, there are a lot of consolations when I think about my father, but they don’t help the sadness right now. He died so recently, I think I need time. Only today morning my youngest brother sent me via message one of my dad’s favorite songs, and that threw me down a sad spiral that will probably last all day. I am surprised at how sad this is. You are right, my sadness is a reflection of who he was in my life, and, in that sense, it is welcomed, but I also feel it is somehow making my life empty. I find I am not able to enjoy things I used to, including my kids. There, I said it. A good friend of mine that lost her dad recommended I should start a spiritual journey. Meditation or something. I am looking into it.
      In any case, you are not overstepping. I always like to hear your opinion and read your blog. I think you have a profound view of life and what surrounds you. Thomas, too. I like that.

      Reply
      • Elise Xavier says:

        Thank you for saying I’m not overstepping, Mila, and for sharing your thoughts and feelings no matter how hard it may be. And thank you as well for the compliments with regards to Thomas’ and my view of life. I’m glad you like hearing my/our opinions.

        I really wish you the best at this point in time. I also hope that you don’t end up falling in the trap I fall into often: of feeling guilty over feelings that are natural and that you shouldn’t feel guilty over feeling. It’s natural to feel life is empty and it’s okay that you don’t enjoy things as you used to, including your kids – after all something terrible did happen. One day, hopefully soon, these feelings will come to an end, but I really hope you don’t take it too hard on yourself in the meantime.

        Reply
        • Mila says:

          True that. there are so many natural feelings that we don’t express because of fear to social recrimination. I am trying to move pass that. thanks

          Reply

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