My dad is at home with his parents now. On Thursday he was moved from ICU, where he'd been for 6 weeks, cared for very attentively after his surgery, to Hospice care. I'm glad I was there to see him that day, and that I spent time with him every day, up to yesterday afternoon, when I saw him last. He couldn't talk anymore, except for a word here or there, but he looked at me with his same joking gaze, and made me laugh when he raised his eyebrows from time to time. I held his hand a lot (probably more than I ever had in my whole life), combed his hair, and sang and hummed to him as much as possible. He seemed happy about that.
We all spent time with him, we all talked to him and shared love with him. He left us today, at 12 PM - my mom was there to see him go, and my brother. One of the last things he said, a couple of days ago, was that God would take care of everything. He was not an old man but he'd lived a lot, and he was tired. Give abuelito and abuelita a hug for me, Dad, I'll see you all someday.
My dad loved:
spicy pork rinds
singing to strangers
telling a good story
any food that was bad for him
Hershey's chocolate with almonds
Church's fried chicken
action movies, the louder the better
Placido Domingo and Mario Lanza
He could quote to you, word for word, books he'd read 20 years ago (I tested him on this). He had a beautiful tenor voice, and later in life, he sang a huge, sonorous baritone. When I was a child, he was very stern, always had a quick temper, and found it hard to show anyone love. As he grew older, he softened and was so kind to my young nieces and nephews that they adored him. One day, months ago, he apologized for how he'd been when I was growing up. He said, with tears in his eyes, "I was so smart! I thought I knew everything. I knew nothing."
I loved my dad.