Choosing What We Remember
Last Sunday, my husband died. We had been separated for more than 25 years. He was the father of my children - two daughters, now grown with children of their own.
Over the past 25 years, we have hardly seen him. He chose to step away from our lives, and not be a father nor a grandfather nor a friend.
This week, we have been remembering him. Sometimes I remembered together with my daughters, who cried. And sometimes, as I sat alone. I shed some tears as well.
With my daughters, we have talked about why we are sad. This was a man who stepped out of our lives so many years ago. So why are we sad?
In our grief, we turned to our memories of him. And this is what we chose to remember --
Before he walked away from us, there were many good times. For my daughters, he was the man who they looked up to, who they felt safe with, who built them doll houses, who swam with them, played ball with them -- and pushed them on the swing in the backyard. When they were sick, he sat by them at all hours as much as I did. When they fell down, he comforted them with soothing words and his arms wrapped around them. When they did well in school or on the sport field or the stage in a play or in a choir, he was there beaming with pride. He was funny and he was smart. We remember him as handsome.
He was the man who my daughters looked up to and loved. And I saw how he looked back at them -- with joy, with pride -- with love. And I in turn loved him for that.
I could speak about the reasons he went away. His struggles, and how it played out in our family. The addictions. The bad times before he left.
But, I won't.
That's not what we're choosing to remember. It's not what we've chosen to remember for the past 25 years. It's not what I've shared with my daughters as I've told them stories of their father. It's not that they don't know the truth. They were old enough -- and they saw enough -- to remember. But together we have chosen to create shared memories of a good man who loved them.
So, we know why we are sad. We are sad because we miss the good man that we choose to remember. We are sad because we wish we could have had more time with that man.
We loved him then, and we love him still. We always will.
We do this for him, and we do it for ourselves.
Good-bye Alvaro. We will always love you.