There is a reason I haven’t updated this blog for such a long time. At the end of May, my father passed away and I wasn’t sure how to deal with it in terms of this blog. Was I supposed to include it, ignore it, or gloss over it? So I avoided the whole issue by not posting. This was not a great idea. I need to talk about it and I need to keep on living my life. So here goes…
I planned a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was going with Esteban. He was going on the trip to see Ecuador play Argentina in one of the MANY tournaments to win one of the MANY cups in South American soccer. I was going on the trip because I’d always wanted to visit Buenos Aires, “The Paris of South America”. We had a great time planning our six days and five nights.
When I got to our hotel in BsAs, I received word to call home and I knew immediately that something was very wrong. I’m not going to share every minute detail but needless to say it was a terrible situation. I had to organize my flight home as soon as possible and I had to cancel a whole lot of activities in BsAs. I also had to leave Esteban in a strange city all alone without anyone. I felt guilty about that and then I felt guilty for feeling guilty because I thought I should only be thinking about my dad. An AWFUL situation.
I was able to secure a flight home the next day in the late afternoon. This meant I had the part of the next day in BsAs. So I slapped a sad smile on my face and tried to be as fun as I could be so that Esteban could have a travel partner for the first day of his first trip outside of Ecuador. He kept insisting we should take it easy at the hotel and that it was crazy that I was worried about him having a good time. He was completely bewildered about my obsessive need to be ‘ok’. I’m stubborn and we had signed up for a city tour and so I went and made him go too. During the tour I would start to cry and I’m sure the poor girl who was our tour guide thought she must have upset me. Looking back, it’s a sad kind of funny and I realize that I was just distracting myself by trying to go out and act ‘normal’. I’ve included some of the photos I took while I was there. When I look at myself, I am amazed that I faked such big smiles while I was sobbing on the inside.
I flew from BsAs to NYC and then on to Rochester. I spent a month at home trying to get our affairs in order. It all feels like a dream. I stayed with my sister and her boyfriend in my dad’s house. I know my dad was enjoying the fact that both of his girls were living together and growing closer. We really pulled together and did a great job with everything with the support of my mom, my dad’s girlfriend, my aunt and uncle, my two dearest friends in the world, and my cousins! I was the documents and finance person. Allison was the contacts and daily needs person. Together we made quite a team. I’m really proud of us.
Something that came out of all of this was getting to hear all of the amazing things people had to say about my dad. The tributes that people gave about him were unbelievable. People from Kodak, his neighbors, people with whom he grew up, his girlfriend Linda’s family and friends, our family, and many others came and shared how much they loved him. Every single person said two things: he was the nicest person they knew and he never had a bad thing to say about anyone. People from Kodak organized a tribute night at a local bar where everyone got up and said their favorite Ron Baird story. How amazing is that? I decided that I would strive to make this something people would want to do for me. I have a long, long, l o o o o n g way to go on that resolution!
After a month, I headed back to Ecuador so I could attend André’s graduation. I know it will sound weird but coming back felt like coming home. I realized Quito has become my home after the last year. My host family has been amazing. I am so lucky to have a great family in the US and a great family here. Sometimes I can feel that my dad is with me and that makes me feel better. You have to see the video that Henry, my host brother made for me. It brought me so much comfort when I needed it.
I decided that my dad would want me to be happy. So I’m trying to do things that will accomplish that goal. I’m lucky that I got to talk to him for an hour and a half on Skype the day before he died. I know he knew how much I loved him and how much he loved me. And this is a great comfort. I sure do miss him!