Read Patricia's story.
It seems that I can still hear your voice telling me, “the door to the outside world is always open, so that you can learn to fly.” Today I apply the values that you instilled in me, because life is not all a bed of roses. You must learn from your mistakes so you can mature.
It was difficult to grow up without my father by my side, especially when you worked for so long at the railroads. I remember you being very passionate about your work. You were always there, even in the distance. You taught us that the most important thing is to be able to listen and find opportunities to grow.
You told me, "the only inheritance I can leave for you is your education, because money doesn't last forever." You encouraged me to get my degree and that was the best gift I could give you. The day I graduated from university, you told me "now you can learn to fly on your own."
You also taught us to always share. You told me that when you share, “you give a little bit of yourself to God and back to the world.” When you worked as a police director, you once had us prepare three hundred sandwiches for the detainees because they had not been fed all day. One night you brought two children to our house who were being mistreated by their parents. They stayed with us for several days until you could find a permanent home for them. We almost adopted them. These lessons taught me how to share and serve others.
The hardest time of my life was when you had your stroke. You were not able to walk or speak. Despite of your illness, you fought to get up and speak again. I still remember when you were able to say your first sentence. You asked me, "can you make me some pancakes?" We ended up crying together. I was so proud when you wrote your first words, after the stroke. You wrote your name over and over and you said "see, I can do it." The only thing I could do at that moment was to kiss your forehead, and tell you "yes, you can."
Your physical therapy was tough but you overcame it, because your main therapist was your granddaughter. She dedicated so much of her time with you. For three months, she made sure that you did your physical exercises so that you could walk and talk again. She was also your personal interpreter. You would get frustrated when we couldn't understand you. She would tell us to leave the room and then she would say "Grandpa, I'm going to point to things around the room and then you can tell me what you need."
It took months of hard work but you were finally able to take your first steps to freedom. It was eight years of highs and lows until one day your heart decided it was time to say goodbye. You lived your life to the fullest and with so much passion. I loved who you were and who you are. Even though you are not here, I still live by everything you taught me. You told me until the day you died that you will always be by my side, supporting me, and taking care of me. You showed me that everything is possible; no matter how hard it seems and that showing humility will open doors.
You taught me that "your life is your cover letter, it doesn't matter who you are: a janitor, a lawyer or a president, always be the best at your job."
You made your illness your best ally; you found your reason to live. That fighting force is what gives me my reason to live. I know that someday I'll see you again, and we will share that hug that I miss so much.
I love you dad.