Monday, August 2, 2010

So long, Papi.

July kept up it's reputation for being a difficult month. Alan's dad, Lily's grandfather, my father-in-law passed away after a rough bout with complications related to cancer treatment. Another link to Alan lost, another man in our family, lost, a relative who Lily loved and loved her back, lost. I think I always comforted myself when Alan passed by imagining special moments in her life when she'd be accompanied by other immediate family members. And Papi, was to be her soccer coach, and a part of her entourage during her first days of school among countless other events I look forward to witnessing. Just recently the two shared mashed potatoes and laughs together at a diner and shortly before that, she had mastered his name. She would often say it so many times I'd have to call him so she could demonstrate her developing communication skills. But now, he's in our hearts and memories and photos. How I wish he could have seen Lily grow up just a bit more.

The other night while we were in California, Lily awoke about 3am, inconsolable, and ended up in bed with me for a bit. It's strange how you can lie in bed next to someone in the dark and hear them thinking. And I could tell, despite Lily's stillness, that she was quietly awake.

Mama. She whispered.

Yes Lily. I whispered back.


Yes baby. We love Papi, and Papi loves Lily.


Later that night as I was carrying her back to her crib she said in her dreamy voice, Tio.

Yes Lily. Tio loves Lily too. We'll see him soon.

Thankfully Lily has two uncles in her life who love her, and her Tio Robert sees her often. He is our last male link to Alan and Alan's roots and I cherish the connection the two of them have. I just wish. I just wish Alan and Gary could be here too - so that we could really feel whole as a family. Lily loves men. She does. It's the most interesting thing - I often wonder if it's because of the absence of them in our everyday life or if it's just a girl/boy developmental thing. But Lily has a habit of stalking sunbathing men in the park, waving to them on the subway, and charming them in restaurants. She is a consummate flirt when it comes to men. While out in California, she called for Dada many times. She saw a man that could have been Alan and called him dada and then one morning as she ran down the halls heading out to the pool where my brother was - again, Dadaaaaa, Dadaaaaa.... She looks for the man she has seen in so many photos and heard so much about.

How painful it is to witness the ends of lives. It is new loss combined with old loss - so much comes up to fester old wounds.

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