A letter to you, Papa,
The last sunflower you planted almost made it through winter. It was like you with cancer, weathering through the storm until there was nothing left to keep it alive. And you knew we would hurt, but you knew you lasted long enough. I stood over the casket hoping, wishing, it was a mistake. I thought I saw you breathing and all throughout the funeral with puddles of tears surrounding me, I hoped that I would see you walking. But I realized that those physical movements were no longer possible, however the spiritual ones were. I found myself overhearing countless conversations of people saying they saw you after your death either sitting in that weird blue chair you use to love, standing outside the house door taking in the world like you use to, or standing over their beds. I prayed begging not to see you. I was too young to fully understand that it wasn’t really you and at the same time, I did not want to accept your goodbye.
You left leaving me memories of us too young to remember in my old age.
I fell down the concrete stairs in front of our house. My back was in excruciating pain to the point of immobility. You picked me up and took me to the sofa closer to the window where the sun shined on your face and I saw a hero. I remember grandma yelling at you for babying me when I would call you to change the channel from 31 to 33 and from 33 to 31. Even though the remote was right next to me.
Its Monday. You call me and I come running to you because I already know what its for. I come close to the chair you are sitting in and lift my head up leaving enough space for you to put on the perfume pamphlet that come from Macy’s magazines. You would rub it on my neck and then smell it, sharing your opinion of the smell. I stand there loving that I got to try on a new perfume. I was always a geeker for anything that enhanced natural beauty. Nail polish, perfumes, hair styling, outfits, make up and you knew that.
You came home one day with the best shoes ever. I can still imagine wearing them on my feet. They were purple, sparkly, and hello kitty. The shoes were closed by my toes, but the heel was open. The bottom of the shoe had a black platform. I cried when I lost one of the shoes and held on to the other begging for forgiveness until I lost that one too. And I am unsure if I lost the last pair of shoe or you first, but I do know both are gone now and these are the only memories I have of us that are actually my own.
The rest I recollected from lost memories we combined together to tell your story. Strong, independent, straining from pity, even when Cancer was killing you and you laid on the coach closest to the the wall of mirrors. And I would look at you wondering why you were getting so lazy, because at six I did not understand cancer. I would take the control from your hands and change it to Nickelodeon or Disney and grandma would yell at me and you would yell at her for yelling at me.
We went to Dominican Republic, my dad, mom, and I. I walked in to the house from my friends house and saw my dad sitting by the phone crying for the first time ever. I asked my mom what is happening and she tells me you died. I ran to the room and started crying, not knowing what that meant, but knowing my father was hurt. We received another call, you have come back to life. He takes the first flight back to America and gets the chance to see you one last time. It is not long before you are gone again, this time with no chance of coming back, but at least daddy got to see you.
They flew you back to Dominican Republic so that you could rest in peace in your homeland. I refuse to look at the casket, because by this time I understand that you are not being lazy nor are you sleeping. There were two guys who teased me. “Hahahahaha, you are about to cry! You are such a girl.” I told my mom and she told me that it was okay, I have the right to cry. And from that moment, it was hard to stop because I knew from then on sunflowers would no longer be the same, I would never find the same shoes again, and I would have to pick myself up the next time I fall. And I was devastated with my first heartbreak at the age of seven.