Today I was thinking about life, and I thought of my dad…
My dad is a hand’s on kind of father. Growing up he was always there. Some kids complain about their parents not being present in their lives, well for me it was different. Let’s just say that by the time I was fifteen I was really wishing and praying for the type of dad who did not notice the smallest of things. I remember the conversations around the dinner table in the afternoons, I remember him making sure we are studying. I remember the fun times; hanging out at the house, the trips to Jacmel, Port-de-Paix, etc. Dad putting together a baptism ceremony for our dolls when we were little girls, he and mom took care of all the details, taking the celebration further than we could have ever imagined. Guests were invited, mom sewed the doll’s dresses, a cake was made, and small little finger foods were prepared and served. Dad acted like the pastor and the little dolls lives were presented to God. He was and remains to be that kind of a dad.
My dad has this land in Cesselesse, Haiti, I vividly remember him talking about it. How he would build five houses on it; four in each corner of the land and one in the middle, he would describe with such passion how once he retired he would take our kids to school in the morning, or take them on the weekends so that we could enjoy our lives. Again, dad was a hand’s on kind of father who could not wait to see us graduate from school and get married. I remember him talking about us getting married in the house we lived in; he would detail how it would happen and all.
My dad is and always was a stand up guy, excessively cautious some might say. He never really took risks or shortcuts; he always went about things the way they were supposed to be done. Until this day, complete strangers tell me, how he is a stickler for order and discipline. I have had people who work with him tell me that because of him they missed out on a lot of illegal “opportunities”, he just would not allow it. Ironic for someone who was part of an institution blamed for so much injustice and unfairness. To many, it almost goes against logic, to say that someone who was part of the Haitian military was a stand up guy. How do you defend that? I can, many others can and have.
My dad is the silent type guy, the more he is in the shadow the better. High ranked, yet no one knew him. I went to school with people my whole life who never even knew who and or what my father was or did. Following those facts I am always puzzled by how life turned on him, us as a family. How is it that he became a victim? Many have been victimized; I am focusing on my dad though, because I know him. I can vouch for him and loudly say that he was done wrong. The taste of life has been taken away from him unjustly.
Today I was thinking about life and thought of dad, thought about how my dad’s life would be right now, had he been a doctor, or a social worker. I remember his stories of how he wanted to go to medical school, or to become a social worker. How, for a good part of his life he wanted to work in human services; any field that worked or dealt with developing and helping people. I
Today I was thinking about life and thought of dad, wondering if the cards had been played differently if he would have lost a good part of his adulthood as he has now. My dad has missed most of our graduations, he’s only seen me get married and that’s because I got married in Haiti. I remember him complaining that he hasn’t gotten to witness any of his girls pregnant yet, he still has some grand children that he has never met. Quite frankly the others he has met them but they don’t know him. My dad, not being around us and his grand kids to spoil them is just wrong; its injustice in its pure form. This is truly the worst thing that could have ever happened to such a family man as my dad.
So today, I was thinking about life and just got real upset! Upset at how it can destroy a man in a sense. I miss and think about how our lives could have been a lot, especially lately. I think of all of those wonderful plans we had as a family but I am left with a dad stuck in Haiti, a mom sick in Boston, a brother in Afghanistan, niece and nephew in California, me moving back to Haiti, leaving a husband and sisters in Tampa! Is that really the essence of life? What good are we to each other as a family when we are all away from each other? Is that what we signed up for? Where did we go wrong? What happened? Can you piece it back together Lord?
My hope is that one day soon, before his taken from us, he gets to enjoy those tiny little pleasures of life again. I hope that for every year he is away from us, God adds a couple of more to his, so that we can all enjoy the great reunion. Hoping!