Despite our grief, my mother, sister and I are overwhelmed with joy to know that our
father/husband was able to save 3 lives. Below is an excerpt my social media posting describing
my initial reaction to my dad’s passing and also a description of who he was and what he meant
to his family, friends and neighbors. I hope that after reading this you don’t feel guilty for
receiving my father’s gifts, but that you all understand that you didn’t receive gifts from a
regular man, but an extraordinary man who was passionate for life, his family and all of his
extended family and in laws. If after reading all this, you find it in your heart and are ready to
meet us, we would welcome you like family forever. No judgment ever. We would simply like to
meet the men who were so fortunate to receive our father’s gifts.
For the last month, I randomly heard a voice in my head (now I know it was God) to ask my dad
for all his recipes before he passes. I would go every week to his house and forget to ask,
thinking I would have many more years to get them.
On a Sunday my family was called to the hospital where my dad has been for more than a week
trying to recover from a massive stroke. We were told to say our farewell to him. I lost my best
friend, the best dad any child could’ve asked for. This pain my family is enduring at this moment
is incomprehensible unless you had a great father like mine. My father wasn’t a church going
man, but he believed in God and spent every moment he could helping anyone that he could.
He was a humanitarian. Ever since I was a small child, I remember helping my dad stuff boxes of
clothes and food for my cousins back in DR every year. He would watch the news and see a
family being showcased that was in dire assistance in DR, my father answered that call and
would send them clothes and food. Back in his town of El Cercado, San Juan De la Maguana, he
was a small-town hero always calling ppl over whom in some cases he didn’t know and would
give away school supplies, sneakers food and clothing. Here in NY, almost every time he
stepped out to go to the supermarket or grocery store, he would knock on his neighbor’s doors
and ask if they needed anything. He would share with them the meals he or my mom would
He grew up without his father who was an alcoholic and decided as a young boy to never follow
in his footsteps. He was raised by a loving mother and grandmother (I had the pleasure of
meeting my then 105 or 106 yrs old great grandmother. Everyone called her Nonona. She
looked like a Native Indian). I’m sure he learned his principles and morals from them. My father
was still married to my mom, only had two children. I have great childhood memories of having
boxes of toys and having a normal childhood without having any trauma inflicted on me by dad.
I have not responded to my family and friends yet because it’s too triggering and upsetting that
it was a good man that passed. I know it’s wrong to think this way, but I can’t help what I feel. I
miss my dad sooooo much. There hasn’t been a day that has gone by that since landing in the
hospital I haven’t cried multiple times a day. I can’t believe I will not get to spend my first
Thanksgiving and Christmas as a father without mine. Or the last month, I randomly heard a
voice in my head (now I know it was God) to ask my dad for all his recipes before he passes. I
would go every week to his house and forget to ask, thinking I would have many more years to
get them.
My dad had difficulty showing or saying how he felt, I guess that’s due to not having a father in
his life. But he showed it in being present when it mattered. Birthdays, graduations, my wedding,
hospitals when we were sick and, in the hospital, to meet his grandchildren whom he adored.
My dad took us to DR every yr. until we were teens. He introduced us to the WHOLE family
(which is a lot) I wholeheartedly believe my sister and I are the only ones that know most
everyone in the family. Once he took us to Disney as well. One of his dreams was to visit Spain,
which he accomplished with us on a family trip as adults to Spain and Portugal.
God knows I was a knucklehead as a teen and young adult, but my father never gave up on me
and would push me in his very Dominican reverse psychology way of “tearing them down to
bring them up”, but it worked. I got my act together and became a professional. I’m now a
psychotherapist married to another psychotherapist with two beautiful twin boys.
My dad alongside my mother taught us the importance of family and taught us to search/seek
our families out. My sister and I are both Social Workers because of the values our parents not
just taught us but showed us daily to help the less fortunate and speak up for the voiceless.
Nothing and I mean nothing really prepares anyone to lose their parents, especially when it’s
sudden. Faith helps to a degree, but this raw pain I have in my heart, I don’t wish on even an
enemy of mine. I can find some solace in the fact that God gave us enough time in the hospital
with my dad to express to him how much he meant to us. My father was never able to open his
eyes or speak back to us, but I know that he heard what we all had to say to him. I’m also
grateful that up until he landed in the hospital, my dad was healthy, so we didn’t get to see him
suffer for long. My dad was officially pronounced brain dead. We as a family decided to give the
gift of life by donating his organs to someone in need.
I can only hope to be half as good as my dad was as a father. I will keep his memories alive as he
did by documenting life through thousands of photos. My father always had a camera in his
hands or was seen posing for a camera phone pic with a family member. I will honor my father’s
legacy by continuing his and my mother’s humanitarian efforts by sending boxes back the
motherland to help out families and others. And also, by continuing to seek and share special
moments with family members, friends and neighbors.
With all this said, I was pleasantly blessed to have such a great father in my life. So, please make
sure to hug and visit often and tell your parents how much you love them.