I woke up to my alarm like I do most week days. I think of Papi every day, several times each day. And then since he is my phone’s wallpaper it means I see him every time I reach out for my phone. In a way it becomes mundane not in a boring manner rather that the sting isn’t of the same sorts as it is when I reach out my phone to look for him. So in a day I’m reminded of you Papi on many instances and then there are instances I remember you and I look for you.
This morning however my very first waking thought as I saw you as I casually turned my alarm off was – “it’s been such a long time since we’ve spoken Papi”. Too long… and I’m oddly beginning to realize it’s only going to get longer and longer. I can’t articulate in words quite what I feel in my body. Perhaps there’s no real thought only feelings, physical feelings. So I began my day consciously aware of time and the concept of death in that Papi and I can’t speak ever again aside from when I talk out loud as I’m doing right now as I write this as though I’m having a conversation with you.
I was late getting to work so I had to quickly abandon any further thoughts to get on with my day. But the feelings never quite leave so suddenly or so easily and so they remained like white noise in my body’s cacophony of noises – thoughts and feelings all crammed in. And then just like that as I remained busy going through my day’s chores I found myself noticing today’s date on my calender at work. After a quick moment of pause I realized today exactly a year ago, May 16, 2016, pops was scheduled to undergo a lobectomy. It was today a year ago they were to cut him open and rid the part of his lung that was causing him grief. We knew he wasn’t well and we knew the range of possibilities but we werent prepared to learn he’d be diagnosed with stage 4 pulmonary adenocarcinoma and that at this stage surgery was not an option. So while they did cut through his rib cage they never did complete what they had intended to do. This morning when I woke up to this strange empty sad feeling I didn’t realize it marked the one year point of us finding out what was really happening inside Papi and the beginning of losing him to cancer. Since Papi’ s passing away there’s been endless anniversaries I’ve anticipated… and I’d even look back at photos from that day a year ago. I guess today almost slipped me thanks to the business of life. I’m almost more amazed about how easily and quickly I skipped out of the habit of keeping track and not letting him and thoughts about him pass me and again taken aback with how our bodies never forget even if our minds get carried away and distracted. I’m mad at my mind for its casualness and thankful to my body for its visceral reminders and abilities to help me feel what I felt today and on other days.
It’s got me thinking of how some relationships go way deeper and beyond our cognitive abilities. They lie so deep they become a part of you in a way you never could have perceived. Our emotional experiences get filed away to resurface automatically – no reminders needed. So here I am pondering upon this vacuum thought of never being able to talk to Papi again to the realization and gratitude I feel for my body for not letting me forget what today a year ago was about. And while today brought up all sorts of thoughts, memories and images the one image I want to end my day is the one of Papi smiling into the operating room, high on anesthesia…but the smile he had in that moment and as he danced his way into surgery is how I want to remember him. I miss you Papi, I miss you so much… it’s been too long since we’ve spoken. I’ve got so much to tell you. I’ll look for you Papi, come visit me …
I love you, Dad.