Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The feeling of absence

What is the deal with it? I thought we were living alone, separate from all the influence and bitching about all the stuff that made us feel attached to something. But no. the moment your influence is gone, the moment that person is no longer with us, you feel lost.

It is hard to continue when it strikes you. It is difficult to explain since sometimes it makes no sense at all. You feel right, you feel complete, but one single smell, the smallest sound, even a word or an inside joke, brings everything back; and then it kicks you: is no longer here.

He was not my dad. He was not even blood-related to me. But he treated me like he was. His words, his presence, even his worst moments formed me. I was part of his family since I was 17. I can remember his moves, his legendary phrases, his way of cooking and most of all, his principles and rules. It formed me to the bone.

I didn’t have a paternal figure in my life – my dad was gone (by choice) since I was 7 years old. I remembered him, somehow with love, somehow with idealistic thoughts. But the truth is: he left us. I struggled with abandonment issues and dealt with them as good as I could; it marked me (somehow for good). And then I met him. He was the most generous and righteous person I’ve ever met. Stubborn as he could be, but loyal to his moral and concept of life. He taught me the importance of listening to my conscience and to pick good over bad. He was noble, kind and real. He made me believe we could pursue our dreams and to have the courage to come back after a setback.

Now he is not here. I know he is in a better place. He left me with a piece of him, his son and the love of my life. His blood is my family, I am one of them. I made a commitment, long before our goodbyes: always to do what is best for the family, but not in a closed non -rational way, but using my brain and my own judgment to come up with the best middle term. I miss him, miss him a lot. He is forever in my heart; he is continuously in my thoughts. Every day I forget I’m not able to share my experiences, or the new flavors we discover in one of our trips, or the plans for next Christmas. There is no day I don’t feel like he will call home and ask “how your trip went? I am glad you came back with good”.

Sometimes, people don’t know what they have when taken for granted, when it was given to you by birth, as a non-negotiable right. He was my father by choice, by heart. He knew it; he made me feel like that. Even though I won’t be able to hug him or hear his sweet words and repeated old jokes, he is forever with us, he made himself transcendental, immortal, part of our lives… and I am lucky and grateful for that.


  1. My father left by choice too. So, I can relate. My grandfather filled the void. Your writing made me remember his kindness and love. Thank you, may you find comfort in the good memories.

  2. Whether by blood or by heart, it makes no difference in my book...you were obviously blessed by knowing him. I'm sorry for your loss. It hurts sometimes, I know.

    Your memories and your words about him truly do make him immortal.

  3. You know how they say "gone but not forgotten"? I think when someone is part of your life in the way your father-in-law was then those words describe exactly how it is. He is gone but you will never forget, he will be with you, taking care of you still the way he did when he was here.

  4. What a wonderful and sweet post. My dad, too, left by choice, when I was young, but I never had the father figure, that male figure to help "replace" him or nurture me in the way a father should. I'm so grateful for you, that you did have such a wonderful dad-figure in your life! I'm sure he was always so proud of you and knew that he indeeed helped you! Thank you for sharing with us.


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