Goodbye, Dad.

I would like to thank everyone who has either left a message for me here, via email, on my cell phone, on the various forums I frequent. Both I and my family appreciate your thoughts and condolences.

It has been a very, very difficult 24 hours. From learning that my dad’s health was so fragile, to hearing that he was going into surgery ahead of schedule and, finally, to being informed about his death I’ve been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. For the most part, the tears have slowly begun to subside. Emotions are still swirling within me – remorse, loneliness, depression – but along with it is acceptance. And, to a certain extent, happiness.

During that past 24 hours, I’ve learned a lot about what has happened. As my father’s health was deteriorating his doctors decided that his chances for surviving until Friday’s surgery time were dwindling. Hence, they elected to get him into surgery that evening. He was in pain, too. In order to keep him stabilized they were juggling the amount of drugs into his body, which meant trying to minimize pain killers, blood thinners and whatever else was being pumped into him. His heart was weak and he required a balloon pump to help his circulation. He would scream out to God to help him.

The doctors consulted with both my dad and my mom and they signed the release to go into surgery. And with that, his last words as he squeezed my sister and mother’s hands were that he loved his family. He loved us all. He said that he was ready to go. At first I thought that he was saying that he was ready to go into the operating room.  He never made it that far.  Upon reflection, it seems he wasn’t ready to go into surgery, but to die. And so he passed, right after the release was signed.

When my middle sister said that, while he was still alive, we should start to think about where we should bury him I was miffed. She has a habit of thinking of her best interests rather than the interests of others. It wouldn’t have surprised me if she believed that he should be buried in Northern Virginia, where his children live, rather than in Norfolk/Virginia Beach where he’s lived since the 1970’s. Luckily, we won’t have to worry about it.

In a surprise that made me cry with happiness I learned that my dad, the man who never wanted a fuss made over him nor expected anything extravagant for himself, will be buried at Arlington Cemetary with full military honors. When I was a little boy there was a time when I hated my father for being in the Navy – he was always out to sea for long tours; I wouldn’t see him for months. And now, as I’ve grown to be an adult, I have never been more proud of him and of his service. And it was my middle sister who did the research and the legwork to get him his burial at Arlington.

His body will be flown into Northern Virginia on Monday where he’ll spend some time in a funeral home, waiting for his burial.

Over the past three years I’ve lost my grandfather, my grandmother, my cat, and now my dad, Renato Villanueva Inguillo. Every time I lose someone dear to me I’m reminded of this verse from Cole Porter’s “Every Time We Say Good-bye”:

Everytime we say goodbye, I die a little,
Everytime we say goodbye, I wonder why a little,
Why the Gods above me, who must be in the know.
Think so little of me, they allow you to go.

Again, thank you for all your thoughts and well wishes.