Lessons from my father: ¡Con Cuidado!

It’s in the little things I see my father in me. It’s the little things about him I miss the most too. The way he used to smile with his eyes. The power in his carcajada. The things he used to say to me then when I would take them for granted.

No te vayas a cortar. A ver yo lo hago. 

¡Así se hace! Con ganas. 

Hay que buscarle el modo. 

I guess the thing about grief is that it’s never really over. It becomes a part of you and you try your best to live with it, appreciating more and more the little things that just make you feel even more connected to your father. Para mi, at least, that’s been the case so far.

I find real solace in sitting at the cemetery with my father. Talking to him out loud even though at first it felt weird and unnatural. Now, I do believe he’s listening and that makes me happy.

On Saturday I used my machete to trim all of the trees in my yard, leaving piles of branches pretty much everywhere. I started to pick up the branches and then remembered all the times my dad would take us (me and my brothers) to pull out weeds in the ranch where we lived in the Rio Grande Valley. He’d let us take our own pickaxes and pull our own weeds, but only for a little while. Then he’d let us sit down under a tree, or he’d laugh and point up at the clouds when they cast their shadows over us and let the nice cool breeze crash against our soaked shirts and sweaty hair.

In Mexico we used our pickaxes too. Only to pull the escobas (pretty much shrubs) from the yard every time we would go stay for a while. If we didn’t pull them out it looked like our house was abandoned and my parents didn’t want that. Yet even then he would let us work for a while and then let us rest for as long as we wanted, as long as we understood the work would still have to be done. I didn’t realize it then, but his directions and corrections on how we were doing the job were actually much more than just lessons on how to properly pull out an escoba. They were life lessons he was trying to teach us.

To figure it out. To find the way to do something, but with patience. To really give it a good effort and to feel good about doing so. To be careful, and take care of ourselves always.

After remembering all of this I could only think of one thing to do. Wait for Edgar to get back so I could have him pick up the rest of the yard with me, and so that I could say all of these things to him too.

No te vayas a cortar. A ver yo lo hago. 

¡Así se hace! Con ganas. 

Hay que buscarle el modo.