This will be my first of a series of posts to share more about myself and my thoughts. In person, I feel I’ve become a more transparent and vulnerable person who enjoys sharing my experiences and feelings but there’s more about me that I want to share. My goal is to hopefully help at least one person and possibly open the door for more sharing.
Earlier this year on June 9th, I lost my father to cancer. He passed away in a hospital in Guadalajara, Mexico. I was at work when I got the news. Shortly before my aunt called me with the news, I could barely compose myself at work, crying in the bathroom. It’s like I could feel it happen. I wish I could’ve been there for him. The hardest thing for me thinking about my dad’s passing is the thought that there was much more I could have done for him. But life got in the way. With a less privileged upbringing in a single parent household, watching my brother and mother work so hard made me driven to work hard in school for a better life.
I made my first visit back to Mexico when I was 17 years old, 14 years since the last time I saw my dad. The trip ended with me pressuring my dad to make sure I made it home to the US in time to take my midterm exams, because if I didn’t take them I wouldn’t be a straight A student anymore. He made sure I had a flight home even though he had to borrow the $600 for the one-way flight from a friend. If I knew what I know now, those tests would be meaningless and I would’ve found a solution to make up the tests or just accept family is more important. I believe life works out if you work hard.. just realize the right moments to be there for others. The following is an essay I wrote almost 10 years ago about the first time meeting my father in person after 14 years:
The one thing that I will never forget is my visit to Mexico. Earlier this year, in December, I went with my uncle and his family to see my dad for the first time in 14 years.
Seeing my dad wasn’t the only significant thing about this trip. I got to experience the long trip to Mexico that families take all the time. I also saw the poverty and all the other things Mexico has trouble with. When on the highway in Mexico, I saw people standing on the side of the road in the hot sun holding out their hands for money. My uncle told me a lot of times they stay there all day.
Before we left for Mexico, my uncle told me not to cry when I saw my dad for some reason. When we got to where my dad lives in San Julian, Jalisco, my dad was over at my grandpa’s general store. I didn’t know what to expect as I saw my dad come down the driveway in his truck. At this point, my heart was beating extremely fast. My dad got out of the truck walked over to me, put his arms around me as though he didn’t want to let go, and started crying. I held off crying because of what my uncle said. I carried my stuff into my dad’s little house, when he showed me a picture of me, him, my brother, and my mom that he had from so many years before. After seeing that picture, I broke down and my dad and I hugged for what felt like forever. While this was happening, my uncle was patting my back telling me to let it out.
After we got passed all that, we decided to go eat and he also wanted to show me off to people. Everywhere we went, he told people I was his son and then he would smile real big at me. My dad and I had so much fun together. He let me drive his truck on the country roads outside of San Julian. He took me where he and his friends meet. Since I didn’t speak that much Spanish, he got them all to try and speak English. I thought it was interesting listening to all these older Mexican men trying to speak English.
When a couple days had passed, my dad and I already had a routine when we were going home. Every night on the way to my dad’s farm, we stopped at a store to get groceries and then we would stop to take in the beautiful night air. It was so beautiful outside at night and early in the morning. Every morning I would take a cold shower, and then I would get dressed and walk outside to feel the beautiful morning air.
Besides the poverty I saw, I believe Mexico is a very wonderful place to live and visit. I especially enjoyed my dad’s little town of San Julian. I believe those two weeks in Mexico, were two of the most influential weeks of my life. I believe living with my dad after not seeing him for 14 years was one of the best things that could have happened for me. Although, I wish it was possible for him to come back to the United States. The bond between my dad and I could never be broken after that amazing and life changing trip to Mexico.
Thanks for reading!