My father died.
I could go on and tell you about illnesses and reasons and say all the things one typically says when someone dies. But it really doesn’t matter. My father is dead and I have to learn how to be Ava-whose-father-died. How do I learn to live with a void? I know I can. I know I will. It just fucking sucks that I have to.
For clarity’s sake I should say that Angel M Lebron was technically my stepfather.
My stepsister asked if I’d give a eulogy for our father at the wake. I said yes and she helped me write it. The last 4 or 5 lines are completely her work. I don’t have the words to express my thanks for her help and for asking me to do this for our father. Anyway, here is what I said at the wake:
For those who don’t know me, my name is Ava. I’m one of Angel’s step-daughters. But that’s a word we never really used, the “step” part I mean…
When I was around 4 or 5, Angel had been living with us for a while. He was picking us up from our grandmother’s house and I remember turning to my sister and saying, “Daddy’s home.” Shortly after that I remember asking him if we could call him Dad. He, being the loving man that he was, said, “If that’s what you want, it’s alright with me.” From that moment on, Angel became my Daddy.
When I think about what I loved most and probably what I’ll miss the most about him is his love of knowledge. He was the most intelligent man I’ve ever known. My childhood was spent eavesdropping on conversations my father would have about current events, politics, economics, sports. He taught me to question everything, to analyze, to ask why, even with him. He taught me that knowledge is a commodity. He told me knowledge is one of the only things that can’t be taken away from you. The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Time magazine and others were a familiar thing in his car.
Daddy’s strong character was something he never negotiated. Even at the end he was still strong. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing, so today we can say until we meet again…
What I didn’t say in the eulogy (well…there was a lot I didn’t say) was that I seek out people who have that same love of knowledge. I’m friends with people who can have deep, fascinating conversations. They are also people who love a good fart joke, and my father was like that as well. He was a goofball. I’ll miss his sarcastic smile and his teasing and his laugh… He was an imperfect man. He had skeletons a mile high in his closet. From that I learned how to accept people for who they are and not who I hope them to be…
But he was my Daddy and I loved him.
I am an atheist. I don’t think I’ll ever see my father again. But I think I’m allowed the smallest glimmer of hope that some part of whatever my father was still exists in the universe. And if he is somewhere, floating past supernovas and hitching rides on comet tales, I hope he knows.
I hope he knows.