My father and I always had a close relationship prior to his death. Despite the fact that he and my mother weren’t married anymore by the time I was nine, this didn’t do anything to our bond, nor sever the ties between us. In fact our connection became stronger as he made time for me, no matter what. He taught me a lot, as he did with everyone who he encountered- he continuously made it a point to have you see a different way of thinking with life. He was ahead of his time with many things- thoughts, music, technology, life- and that is why he was such a unique person. He was full of compassion for others. He always strived for honesty. He spoke his mind and left no questions. He often demanded respect and he gave it also. He was extremely musically and artistically talented. I will always be amazed by his extraordinary abilities.
I was thirteen years old when my father died. I remember the last time visiting, standing in the sterile smelling hospital room, looking at his long drawn face with those hollow eyes staring at me in a daze. Words mixed and jumbled – mind affected by dementia. His health seemed to plummet drastically from the time he found out he has the disease from which he will eventually die. His symptoms ranged from Tuberculosis to Hepatitis; he was HIV positive which then became full blown AIDS. My father’s death is a misfortune in that he was only forty years old and it was a sad way for one to die. His death was also a tragedy because of society’s closed-mind. He was embarrassed to share with others what he was living with, and, unfortunately, when I was younger I often wouldn’t tell people what he died from. Despite the awareness and education of this epidemic, there’s still arrogance and negative judgment towards AIDS.
When my father passed away, I was sad to think that he wasn't able to attend play/choral productions, graduations, my wedding, the birth of my children, or any other important event in my life. Even though he left this world physically, I always feel like he’s with me along the way, watching my every move. I believe my father is proud of his daughter, seeing her grow into her adult years.
He is a very important person in my life. I forever hold onto memories of joy and laughter. He and I share some incredible moments together – Franklin Park Zoo, movies (Capitol Theater), music, a frustrating guitar lesson (the first and last), Porter Square shoe fiasco, comic books, chocolate milk, storytelling, Harvard Square, and hanging out. One of my favorite things to share with him was my adventures from overnight summer camp. He always sat listening intently, especially about my excursion on top of Mount Monadanock. On top of Monadanock is where we spread his ashes – he was a mountain man and will always be. All miss him, me especially, yet his memory continues on within everyone whose life he touched.