Ode to my father: By Maria De Leon

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“A father’s tears and fears are unseen, his love is unexpressed, but his care and protection remains as a pillar of strength through out our lives.”~ Amma H. Vanniarachychy

On a day like today when we celebrate fathers everywhere I am missing mine. He left us too soon.  Yet, as I write these lines I am also certain he is standing watch over me because that’s just the kind of dad he was. Growing up I did not fully appreciate his love and kindness. We were frequently at odds but as I grew up into adulthood I realized how much he truly loved me. He like my grandfather (my other father) whom I loved dearly and miss also very much molded me into the woman that I am today. Although, they were totally different in the way they viewed the world and how they approached life – they had several things in common. The most important is their unconditional love for me. They both instilled in me the notion of always fighting for what I wanted, never giving up, and always being gracious even when defeated.

My father even on his dying bed was more concerned about my mother’s well-being and continued to pray that my illness would leave me. He was always the life of the party and was loved by all who met him. But when it came to showing love he was a man of action rather than words. I just wish I had understood him more growing up. We could have had such a wonderful relationship for many more years than we did. It was not until I got married that our relationship began to change partly due to my husband who help me see things form a different perspective than the one I was used to. Growing up he sacrificed and gave so much of himself for my benefit without saying a word even when I was angry at him his love endure.

Perhaps, he mellowed with age and got wiser I used to think but the reality is that the love was there from the beginning I was just too blind and self-absorbed to see it.  

A perfect example is when I was in third grade, I wanted to be “Adelita” which is equivalent to being crowned queen of a pageant; but this was the queen of the Mexican revolution festival, which takes place each year in November in the northern states of Mexico. In order to achieve this honor not only did you have to be popular but also raise money – of course the more well- known you were the more endorsements one would have. My family did not have much financial means compared to one of my opponents whose fathers was a wealthy business man. I had a good chance of losing. However, my father knowing that I so wanted to be the one who took the prize handed me an envelope to place in the fundraising tray at the last second before the ballots closed. To my astonishment, I was crowned ‘Adelita’- one of the biggest moments of my life. Many years when I inquired from my mother how dad had come into all that money to make me win I found out that he had withdrawn all his savings just so that I could win! That’s the kind of unconditional love my dad had for me. The days after the contest ended he spent hours along with my mom preparing the parade car.

So today, I recommend that if you still have your father living you thank him for all that he did and continues to do in your life. If you never had a good relationship perhaps is time to begin opening up the lines of communication you might just be surprised where it leads. Don’t wait until they are sick or dying to make amends-open the box of alabaster and pour it on them. If they are already struggling with an illness like PD find ways to spend time with them. After they are gone it is the stolen moments and silly memories that remain and become more precious.

I am so grateful that we had the last 20 years to enjoy one another. It is true what they say that behind every amazing woman ids a great dad. Funny thing is that the man I married has so much resemblance to the two fathers in my life. So I know that my daughter is blessed as well.

Happy Father’s day! Daughters be thankful for your fathers today.

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon MD

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