He slured his words as I cried in front of the window of the skilled nursing facility missing him at home. His right hand over a small soft pillow and his speech slow and incomprehensible.
"I miss you so so much, Papi. I wish you can come home," I told him over the window. "I feel so alone without you."
"Pakejambunik," he said. It was a word he uttered that I didn't know how to spell or write, but inside my heart, it meant, "I love you, Diana."
I remembered when he was angry when we lived in a small two bedroom apartment in Reseda, after haggling over a pound of shrimp that was being sold by a street corner. The white supremacists told him he was a chink for haggling. He came home in tears from anger, and we sat down over the prejudices in the United States of America. He told me that he just needed a break for the day and the television eased his anger. I watched him calmly erase the anger over racism, like a gentleman.
The time when I told him about the assaults and the brokeness erupted a hopeless evening. He told me to not lose hope on all humanity based on the poor example of some. That hatred was limited to violence while love, especially God's love, was vast, deep, wide, boundless, unlimited, and reaches so far, deep and high as the heavens, galaxies, and all of the universe.
He told me that the schoolmate who bullied and destroyed my life through the assault was of evil and racism, and her successes were tainted with blood and abuse, just as those who hurt me were abominable to God. That I didn't have to be afraid of the world, and to be closer to God and worship Him, then relay every instant of my life through Him. That with God by our side, my Dad will back me up when I'm working things out with my life, and he will back me up when I make mistakes. My Dad was always there.
The time when I met the man whom I asked to marry, only to be found alone several weeks later in struggling heartbreak and hopelessness. My Dad told me that I took his job for him and that made him mad, that even God was angry because I didn't trust the tradition. He told me that it was better left alone, because if it was Godsent, it won't have been broken. The embarrassing stories that I endured and the laughter from the enemies and haters I heard inside my life, because I was so desperate for love, yet my Dad was there to tell me that desperation could only lead to divorces.
The suffering I felt when I was inches away from death, my Dad took the house key and broke into the bathroom door and stopped me. I miss my Dad dearly, and it has been so difficult with the global pandemic because I haven't been able to hug him or kiss his forehead. I miss my Dad, and I felt a huge loss in my life from his stroke. I felt the half of my body was paralyzed from faith.
Tonight was a hard day, and I wished I could have my Dad home with me.
In tears. Just write.