My dearest papai is celebrating his 85th birthday today. Here is a post I enjoyed writing about him when I saw him last. I miss him always, and indeed it is difficult to think of him or to listen to his voice without shedding a tear. May God allow that I can be with him soon, and then one day we can all be reunited with our dear mother in heaven. Feliz aniversario, papai querido, eu te amo!
He is quiet and lonely without our dear mother, whose presence he misses painfully. Theirs was an adventurous, inspiring 57 year marriage. As an old man, he walks slowly with the help of a sturdy wooden cane, and spends much of the day in a very quiet way. While I was there I went through his office, preserved by my sister much as it was in my growing up years. A framed picture of him with Tio Gustavo, the Brazilian thinker and author about whom my sister wrote her book, has always been there. In the same way, I cannot remember life at home without his large, framed National Geographic World Map, under a crucifix, where we all would go to find a location subject of a conversation. The books and items on the shelves reflect his love for the Church, for literature and for religious thought, and his career as a steel engineer. The small iron figure of Churchill has always been there in my mind, in front of his famous WWIIoeuvre. And a copy of the Gettysburg address--dad has always been a great admirer of Lincoln. Dad traveled the whole world, taking Mother with him many times, and brought home, to us, much of its history and culture. He was constantly fascinated by beauty, by art, by goodness and by Love.
Dad is a great man, and I was an adoring daughter. I used to love his company and as a teenager and college student I had, with him, some of the most memorable conversations of my life. To him I am deeply indebted, as much of who I am today was formed under his loving guidance. He is calmly resting now from a very busy life, in his golden years, loved and respected by his children, and cared lovingly. May God reward him one day for the great good he brought into so many people's lives, be it through education, charity, friendship or example.