The journey begins
HOMER IS ALWAYS THE ONE WRITING ON VT*
On January 28th, 2008, my father peacefully passed away.
Suffering from long health issues but, having beaten all the odds several times, he awoke this particular morning feeling "down".
My mother, thinking he might be coming down with a cold babied him as only she could.
He had breakfast but no lunch.
At 1:30 in the afternoon, he called her into the room. When she asked him what he wanted, he told her he was feeling "bad". Mom approached him, smiled and asked if he just wanted to be babied some more. She told him she loved him, he told her: "Not as much as I love you"...closed his eyes and passed.
Mom, thinking he had fallen asleep, tried to remind him to sip from his sippy cup as he needed to keep hydrated. When, after several attempts to get a response...there was none...she realized he had called her to his bed side to bid his final, loving goodbye. The following is my tribute to him:
October 8 began just as any other day had begun for me as a child in Cuba… watching mom trying to get us ready for school, alone. My father had unexpectedly been whisked away 8 months earlier to do enforced labor in the sugar cane fields far from Habana where we lived. We had not seen him in numerous months except for a brief few days when mysteriously he had been dropped off at our door suffering from a self inflicted machete wound. The wound was to his lower arm and he had acquired it as a result of his lack of skills in manual field chores. My father was not used to this type of work as his pre-revolution job was as a lawyer’s assistant to the government agency which processed visas for tourists and locals wishing to visit far away lands of which our family only read about. Now he suddenly found himself having to perform manual labor which was normally reserved for farmers or hired hands.
In 1959 (the year I was born) a charismatic young Fidel Castro initiated a revolution which succeeded in overthrowing then president Fulgencio Batista. Soon afterwards, changes started taking place throughout Cuba. People were stripped of their titles, family property and their lands were confiscated, strict government laws were imposed and public executions of individuals siding with the former government became common place. Food ration cards became a staple of Cuban society, for food was reserved for the government’s “select few,” and to the winners went the spoils. Food lines became the norm and day to day basics became more difficult to find. Religion, public meetings, political discussions were all banned!
Some individuals, such as my parents, quickly foresaw all of these changes as communism in disguise. Many foresaw this long before Castro’s infamous speech to the Cuban people (the one where ironically, a white dove seemingly on cue, flew onto his shoulder and deposited bird crap on it!) An insignificant act, but one which has never lost significance with the present Cuban exile community throughout the world! ...The universal symbol of Love and Peace had defiled the new leader of the Cuban people.