Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Valentine

I only caught JB's side of the conversation with his sister as he ironed a shirt with the phone cradled under his chin.

"Really? Wow. I had no idea he was still alive. Well, thanks for letting me know. I have to get ready for work, I'll call you Wednesday when I get back from Madrid. Love you too, bye."

"What was that about?" I asked, being nosey.

"That was Dora," JB answered matter-of-factly as he hung up the phone and went back to his ironing. "She read in the paper my father died."

I had no idea what to say. I was expecting to deal with the feelings attendant with the anniversary of my dad's passing. But I wasn't expecting this. Yesterday Google helped me find the obituary.

JA Sr., age 99, was called home by the Lord on Thursday, February 9, 2012 to join his wife Bodencia and daughter Angelica. He fell asleep peacefully with his family by his side. 
JA Sr. had his own business as Mason Contractor, and taught his sons the same trade, and his grandsons also learned the Masonry Business. JA Sr. enjoyed fishing, hunting, and spending time with his family.
JA Sr. leaves behind to cherish the time we had him with us; four daughters: Maria, Josie, Mary and Hortencia; four sons: JA Jr., Miguel, Andres and Antonio; 31 grandchildren, 81 great-grandchildren, and 8 great-great-grandchildren. 
A Visitation will be held on Saturday, February 11, 2012 from 2:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. at Funeral Home Chapel. To send flowers or a memorial gift to the family of JA Sr. please visit our Sympathy Store.

Many years ago, at least one of Senior's extramarital affairs resulted in a child. This particular son was never taught the family trade. He never got to go hunting or fishing with his father. Growing up, the "real" family made sure this little boy knew how illegitimate he was. And they're still at it, conveniently omitting the existence of Senior's fifth son from the public obituary.

But a mother's love can be a powerful force, both a sword and a shield. Her strength, hard work and guiding values would not only sustain, but influence her son profoundly. And in spite of the adversity he faced – or perhaps because of it – the boy grew up strong, caring, protective and successful.

Which is why reading this obituary evokes a sense of pity. It strikes me as such an incredible shame that a man can grow old and die without ever getting to know the truly great man his son would become. Or that an entire family could deny the gift of knowing the best brother and uncle anyone could possibly have.

But I also have to admit my feeling of gratitude. Regardless of his intentions and however flawed the circumstances, this man's actions helped bring an incredible light into the world. And for that I'm eternally grateful.

Thank you Senior. Rest in peace.


  1. I know your bf is pretty awesome, but that omission is just ... shitty. I'm sorry, but it is.

    I hope St. Peter has something not-so-nice to say about that.