June 13, 2008

Letter to My Father:

Enjoy your dads while you can

By Edie J. Adler

Querido Papito Chulo:

How could I ever put into words how much I miss you! I can hardly believe that it has been nine months since God called you to heaven.

It seems not so long ago I was a little girl, running to the bathroom when I heard you washing your hands, asking you to wash mine. The cool water felt so good running through my tiny fingers as you held my little hands in your own strong hands.

I miss the sound of your voice. I miss your melodic laugh and your wit. Your sense of humor and timing were impeccable. You always found something funny, even in the most stressful of situations.

I miss the way you made your guitar sing! I tell people you were better than Segovia. I’d wish I had had the sense to record you, so I could prove the point.

I miss singing while you accompanied me on your guitar. I miss looking into your beautiful honey colored eyes. I found so much love reflected there.

Papito Chulo ... the last few years of your life were so hard. The severe arthritis you suffered, slowly took away your mobility. I always admired the way you fought this; how you continued to exercise, even when you could no longer get out of bed! How you would stretch your fingers every day, so they would not become stiff. And then Alzheimer’s hit you. This dreaded disease robbed you of your mind one little piece at the time, like a shameless thieve who sneaks in the dark and goes unnoticed until it is much too late.

At the beginning I did not understand what Alzheimer’s does to a person’s mind. I lost my patience with you sometimes, and this I deeply regret. But I hope you know how much I really do love you, and how proud I am to be your daughter. Even through the most difficult times, my heart never stopped loving you, and I thank God every day for allowing me to take care of you and keep you with me until the very last moment. I am blessed to have a husband who understands and supports me “through thick and thin!”

Papito Chulo, I was born so tiny, that when you would come see me in the incubator, you felt I would need you more than anyone. You were right. I still need you and I always will.

As I promised, I will take care of Mamita until the end. Her mind is also lost in the labyrinth of Alzheimer’s. And yet, she talks to you every night. I hope God is allowing you to talk back to her!

I hope you will continue to shine your gorgeous light on me. Don’t forget to put in a good word for Neal and me when you talk to God.

I pray that you and Mamita will be my parents again on our next journey through this world.

This is my first Father’s Day without your physical presence, and I’m having a horrible time with it.

I hope that those lucky enough to still have their fathers will take the opportunity to tell them how much they love them, hug them and kiss them. At least that’s something I always did with you!

I miss you so much Papito Chulo! Happy Father’s Day in heaven… Tu Bibicita.

Edie J. Adler is a free lance writer and lives in the San Fernando Valley with her husband Neal, their three dogs, four birds and five cats, as well as Edie’s Mom.

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