Monday, August 1, 2011

Birthday & an ultimate celebration of life.

With everything going on with my Dad, as my birthday was approaching it was bittersweet. In fact as much as I love the arrival of my special day, I was a little anxious at its arrival. I'm not really one that has to have the big bash or anything, but of course, I still like and enjoy the extra attention and care. In fact the biggest deal I've made was that I wanted to do something special for my golden birthday which was last year. It's when you turn the age of the day your birthday falls on. In honor of the once in a lifetime day, I jumped out of a plane. It was an incredible experience and I was introduced to something that would end up playing a big part in this years birthday. You can spot it in this video...more on that later.

I also find it very difficult to say what I want when asked for something around Christmas or my birthday. I can think of things any other time of the year, but my brain sort of locks up at the times when they matter most, lol. It comes from many things; not feeling I need anything, not wanting to put people out & I'm sure there is a part of not wanting to be disappointed in not getting perhaps the one thing I actually want.

This year, actually it was a few weeks ago when I first revisited this blog and was setting it up, they gave me an option to create a wish list that would be attached to the blog. I added a few items that I wanted and felt like a kid making his Christmas list full heartedly believing Santa was going to be reading and granting him with his wishes. It disappeared. I don't know where the hell it went, and I've never seen it since lol. I knew everything on it though as there were only like 4 things.

Fast forward and my birthday is approaching, but I'm more concerned with other things. My dad.

When people ask how my Dad is doing, it's getting tough. It's hitting. It's hard to explain for many reasons. He's very weak and basic things are becoming very difficult for him. He's strong still, maybe not in the physical sense, but even that could be argued and I would back that up on his behalf, because he has some serious things his body is putting him through and he fights with vigor. I can't and pray I never will (or anyone I know for that matter) be able to understand his position or know what he is going through. Watching is beyond scary. But I can say that my dad is not making this easy nor is he looking to. He has refused to return to the hospital and simply wants to be home. For the most part though, that puts him in the care of my mom, sister and I. No one will love or care for him more than we will right now, but we're obviously no doctors. We follow along with what we are given to treat and aid him, but it is easy to think a hospital would offer more. Thats the obvious thought though and doesnt mean it would offer him more in a positive way. Maybe being home and in the comfort of his own bed outweighs everything else for dad. I feel that's the case.

Well we are leading up to the big day and I'm getting asked what I want. It's an easy choice, one I'm sure anyone could figure out from my recent blogs. A sentimental one, a loving one. I have however been talking about a camera I wanted. The Go Pro Hero.

I first saw this camera in action at the NAB Tradeshow in April of last year. There was a huuuuuge line and after being nosey I realized why, this camera was awesome. It's used in a lot of sports and records in HD and comes in a waterproof housing so you can use it pretty much anywhere. I'm a technology dork, but moreover I like taking pictures and I LOVE recording videos. Anyone that knows me well, knows I'm quick to bust out my phone to record something and then post it somewhere. I really like to share things...experiences. I also have this thought that if I god forbid something happened to me and I lost my memory, "I'll be ok, just hit play." :) Well, I thought having that camera would expand the ways I could record and share. I also like to be able to show certain things to my family across the country. A couple of months ago, I started to think about the camera again when I signed up for the TOUGH MUDDER in California. It's a 10+mile run, with over 20 crazy obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces. I did this in honor of my late uncle and for my Dad. I thought having the camera would give me an opportunity to share with my dad everything in the race. I didn't end up getting it, but I found an alternative in a waterproof flip cam that helped me capture some great moments to send to dad!

I loved the race and quickly signed up for one in Arizona and soon another in California, but I promised this time I'd get the camera and do it right.

It ended up dropping the hint for the camera to Erin, lol although I knew it was a bit of a stretch. It's not the cheapest thing out there after all. As I was asked what I want I'd continue joking about it, but I honestly wasn't going to be expecting it or be upset about not getting it- I knew the situation. Really, this birthday was going to be special for me because it would be the first in close to 5 years with my family and now Erin was with us too. I had a lot to be thankful for and I was already cherishing the moment.

Leading up to it, dad had been having a very rough couple of days. It almost feels like I'm just repeating that constantly, but I guess that's where we are.

I could continue to write, but I put together this video (of course) that I'd like to use to share. I privately posted the video and wasn't sure if I would share, but it feels right because I feel there is so much love within it.

It was tough for me to look at the card everyone signed for me. I lost it instantly when I did, so I couldn't look at it for long or I'd be a worse mess. As I write this, I still haven't revisited the card. It was difficult and then I needed to address other things that didn't leave me the time I wanted to revisit. I will now. It meant so much to me and everything in that video made it the most special birthday ever for me. I thank everyone & love you all very much.

That was the last time dad made it out of the room, and for the most part, the last time he got out of bed. I knew he would not have it any other way.

Two days later dad woke up late night/early am with extreme pain! We were instructed to give him medication to help the pain, but it left him beyond lethargic and he was out of it. I had an overwhelming sensation and upset feeling that perhaps I would not get a chance to see him out of the this state...where I could talk to him, say hi...say I love you and hear him say it back...say bye...Dad fought hard again though & was with us and responsive as the days passed. Even in that state, he would talk to us and respond - one afternoon I said, "I love you dad" and he moved, but didn't say anything. Maybe it was selfish of me, but I innocently asked, "Do you love me dad?" he told me :)

Adolfo Marrero, my dad, passed away at 8:30pm on Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011.

It was a sad couple of days leading up, but they were also some of the most heartfelt and loving moments I've experienced with my family and during those days I learned a lot about my dad. There were tons of things to take care of, things to be concerned about, things that needed to be addressed - but dad made sure he was there for us, as he always was.

I was having a rough time during those days. Really rough. I was being tested in absolutely in every way possible.
You start to think about what if's, regrets and all sorts of other things. My mom, sister and I were with my dad all day, we'd switch off at different points, because someone had to be around since he wasn't making much noise at this point and we didn't want to risk not being there if he needed us.

I spent a lot of time with him, but a part of me felt distant in some ways and I realized why on Wednesday, I was not wanting to leg go, but I also was regretting two things. I was there to constantly tell him that I loved him and to let him know we were always there, he wasn't alone and such, but I was lost on what to say at points. Later in the evening I took a shower and came out and headed straight for the room where dad slept. It was a miracle but we were alone. At this point that was rare. I just sat down and had a heart to heart with him. I told him I loved him and eased his concerns about some things I knew he was thinking about during the last couple of weeks...that we would be ok. I promised him that. I'd be there and take care of mom and Alexis. Most of all, I let him know that it was ok for him to rest. I was told by an uncle and good friend that has experienced similar situations that in this time that would be important to my dad. I never thought anything less would happen and knew my dad knew what I told him, but maybe he needed to hear that. I also then addressed the two things that had been on my mind and apologized. Dad probably was smiling at my concern of them. I felt better. I said more things then hugged him, kissed him told him I loved him and went down to eat.

My mom and aunt were upstairs with him and called my sister and I up about an hour later. My mom, sister and were with him. Together. A family. LOVE.

My mom told me about the moment she shared with her sister, my aunt and my dad before calling us up. Beautiful.

With everything considered, we are able to laugh a lot & smile. Tears flow, but you celebrate and remember great things. I believe comedy and tragedy are the truest of unions, they are always together and this time is no different.

At my fathers memorial service we had the greatest showing in my dads honor. My dad wasn't one to make a fuss about himself, but he did ask for that service. It caught me off guard, but there was no question, it would be done. He knew, I think that his friends would want this, and they did. My dad was a star athlete in high school and played his first year of college (I did the exact same, but I think he had me beat lol) he had coaches come out from his past teams, friends that remembered my dad since 1st grade and co-workers who loved him that showed up in huge numbers. Some of the more touching moments that day were from his co-workers and they were flying in from all parts of the country to pay respect & share how great of a man he was. In fact they were some of the people that I noticed cried the most. I think my mom, sister and I learned how much my dad touched the lives of many, it became evident that day. It was a common message. It was being repeated almost with every person that came up to say hello and pay their respects. I heard lots of stories, had many laughs, shed some tears and took away even so much more about dad. So much love.

On my dad's legacy page his guestbook shares a lot of these thoughts. Adolfo Marrero Legacy Page

One story sticks out still to me. One guy talked about how my dad represented him and so many people as a stand out Latino basketball & baseball player and how even though he was the same age as my dad, he looked up to him as a big brother as many did. "Even though he was the good athlete, he was a GREAT MAN!" I was beyond touched. He continued by saying that there was also no surprise that he and my mom ended up together. The cheerleading captain and star athlete lol. I think I knew this, but forgot about my mom and cheerleading and I still keep laughing at the thought. I have a picture of my mom somewhere in her outfit I have to dig up. I know my dad loved sports and playing. He was my coach for many years and it is a part of the reason I love playing. I always met his friends, a lot of the same ones I saw Saturday and they would remark how good my dad was on the court but off as well and that I had big shoes to fill. I never felt intimidated by it. In fact my dad and I would play against each other often, but I loved it. He was my personal hero. I loved Michael Jordan, but he was no Dad. I was proud to be his son and represent his name as ADOLPH MARRERO II.

I'm now the last Marrero male. The man of the house. It's hard to think of because of what it means we've lost, but I'm proud and happy to take care of my family. I can't remember who, but someone recently remarked that it hurts when you lose someone because of all the good things they represented. I like that. This has taught me so much about my dad, my mom my sister, myself- everything.

I'll continue to honor my father and carry out the things I wanted To give to him and my family.

I love you dad. YOU make me smile. I know that you'll see all of the things that will mean so much to me as time goes on. While I can't share a hug or kiss, I'll be happy because I know you now will have the best seat in the house!

I love you.

Your son,

Adolph Marrero II

1 comment:

  1. Ace this is a truly beautiful post straight from the heart & a gift to all of us, but especially for those who only knew your father through what you have said about him. Thank you for sharing your thoughts & feelings about this very intimate & difficult time in your life. We love you.