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The Fuel

Dear Papi,

Thank you for the miracle.

Thank you for taking me to the orphanage when I was five. I met the most important people in the world, the orphans, the poor, the indigent, the destitute, and the helpers.

Thank you for teaching. You taught your students and you shepherd them into builders, winners, success stories, and legends. And, I am one of them.

Thank you for teaching me how to sing. I worship acapella anywhere I want and anytime I desire, and I know Jesus is listening.

Thank you for working, and never drinking alcohol. I grew up in a home that was alcohol-free and substance free. We were all spared the addictions.


Thank you for taking me to church, no matter how much other people ridiculed us because we were poor in the United States.

Thank you for telling me I was smart and intelligence was worth more than beauty.

Thank you for helping me build a car alarm for physics. I got an A for the project.

Thank you for teaching Math and Calculus at a juvenile hall in Mulholland. You were the best import for America.

Thank you for telling me that it wasn't the university that makes a success, it was the choices we make.

Thank you for being angry when I made the wrong choice or I wasn't responsible. I needed the talk.


Thank you for telling me I was too kind to be competitive, because I cared more about helping and building up than winning and losing.

Thank you for singing at church and making Sundays a great day for a family meal, even if it was just you, Mami and me.

Thank you for drinking decaf coffee with me in the mornings and letting me hug you around your big tummy. I cherish those hugs. 

Thank you for loving me through action, because you taught me that that's what love should be, a choice, an action, and a strong decision.

Thank you for showing me and teaching me to not aim for perfection, but aim for meaningful.

Thank you for backing me up and telling me and doing so, after assaults, after doubts, after suicide attempts.


Thank you for knowing that hope was what you saw inside me, when I felt that I didn't have hope at all.

Thank you for staying with me when no one came to my party. 

Thank you for caring when no one else did. 

Thank you for telling me I was worth waiting for, when no one was waiting on me, and no one was there to begin with.


Thank you for staying with me, walking with me and not being afraid of being seen with me, when all around me, people ridiculed and laughed.

Thank you for teaching me to not be a jealous person, because jealous people will never be happy.

Thank you for helping me, and thank you for building furniture and shelves with me, it was our last project together. I cherish those moments of home building.

Thank you for eating the ice cream I brought for you. You smiled at me and told me I made you happy while you were sick, and that made me happy.

Thank you for taking turns with me mowing the lawn, even when it was sprinkling, raining, or under the hot scorching sun.


I may not have you anymore because you're in Heaven now, but I had 45 years of unconditional love from you. It was so much more than I expected, especially during our roughest and toughest times. You believed in me, and you cautioned me, and you helped me and spoke with me and took your time with me. No one else worked as hard as you did in blessing me. I am forever in gratitude and I am forever your daughter, and I am happy I was there until your last breaths. Thank you, Dear Papi.


Just write.



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