Tag Archives: saying goodbye

They Took My Boy Away

I haven’t had the will to write these past few days.

That’s because they took my boy away from me.

True he may not have been legally mine in any legal way.  But from the moment he walked through the door from customs just three weeks earlier, Sylvester was ours.

Sadly, my will to keep him as my adopted son was not strong enough to evade the hand of time, tide, and that damn exchange program.  Apparently the terms were something along the lines of “you take him for three weeks then he goes home”.


Now we are left childless except for the two children I fathered biologically and who live with us and are the light of our life.

Alas, poor Sylvester.  I can only imagine the horrors in your Salamancan soul as you boarded that plane and headed for… New York?

Wait, what?

Son, listen, I know you’re becoming a man and all that but I am your father and I don’t recall giving you permission to run off to the Big Apple like some common tourist.  Now I see how it goes down.  You and your “group” are going to “sight-see” and then what?  They’ll coral you up and shove you on a plane and send you back to Spain.

OK, it sucks.  We really enjoyed our time with him.

A few nights before his departure I took him along with a friend and his two sons and my real son to a Rangers baseball game.  Gee that was fun.  He said baseball is his favorite even though he never gets to see it in Spain.  “Didn’t I tell you, Sylvester?  Texas connects us.

The night before he left we took our Sylvester to our favorite barbecue pit.  Once again, our growing boy’s eyes popped out of his head.  “So much food!!” he said, his English clearly improved from his first day in our home.  The thing is that on the way to the restaurant he insisted he wanted to pay.  Something about us having been too kind to him and him wanting to return the favor.  I said something like “It’s OK, son, you’ll have plenty of time to take care of American Daddy when I retire” but he wouldn’t hear of it.

Texas barbecue isn’t cheap and I’ll leave it at that.

So the next morning came.  He spent the night before packing.  He even asked for a scale, convinced that his suitcase would be overweight.  He’s lucky he wasn’t overweight after how we fed him.  Only the best of Texas for my boy!  I got up early and drove him to the airport on my way to work.


My babies in front of the great State Capitol of Texas

He looked up at me as we were saying our good-bye’s in the terminal.  “Three weeks ago, was happy.  Today is sad.”  I gave him a card for his impending birthday.  We had stuffed some cash into it to make up for his kind gesture the night before.  “No no no,” he said.  “I cannot take this.”  I looked him in the eye and said “Son, I know there comes a time when every man thinks he can tell his father what to do.  He’s grown up.  He can take care of himself.  I know you’ve got a deep seated need to prove yourself in the world.”  His English wasn’t good enough yet to understand lines from after school specials.  I finally said “Trust me, they only take American money in New York.

Speaking of New York I was happily able to reassure him that he’d have no problem finding someone who spoke Spanish in Manhattan.  Granted it might not be good Spanish but he’d understand.

And like that my little bundle of joy was gone from my life.  They grow up so fast and abandon the nest.  We’ll certainly miss him.

And as I was wondering today if he’d even remember us I got a text from my Spaniard.  It read simply:

“I am home.  New York was huge.  I cannot find Dr. Pepper anywhere in Spain.”

Don’t worry, son.  We’ll ship you some.  American Daddy’s got your back.


Finally Back at Work

Today at work, I went to start class with a prayer.  I opened the Missal to the last place I had the ribbon…

That’s a prayer answered.

And I think we’re ready to get back to life.

Thanks for following along.

Finally Home

Here was another milestone from our drive.  Crossing the Mississippi at Memphis.

After that speeding ticket in Virginia (only my second ever) I set the cruise control.  This just seemed to make the drive longer.

But we made it home.

Thanks be to God.

Still Driving…

On the journey home I let my wife drive for a bit.

Our daughter convinced me to recline my seat so she could “massage my head”.  Oh these kids.

No big stops today, just get us to the hotel in time for the wife to watch Downton.

Oh, and this was my brother’s 52nd birthday.

Coming Home

It’s time to get back on the road.  Hopefully, my post-posted posts told the story well.

Saturday was the day to head back to Texas.  The world goes on and jobs call us back.

Road trips have always held great pride of place for us, kids.

Let’s make the most of it.

Let’s find fun places to eat!


The Repast


I’m trying, friends.  I’m trying to detail what this week has been but it’s hard.  Kids, I want you to remember this.  God gave us a beautiful family.  And the hallmark of any family is faith.

Faith and canolis!

The picture above is of some of the wonderful treats we enjoyed at your uncle’s repast.

So many of our family and friends came.  It was beautiful.

Essentially, we ate.  A lot.  And then we ate the next day.

And after we ate, children, we took a moment to try to have fun.

We had a snowball fight!

And I think that’s all I can write for now.

HIS Journey Home


Today was the final day.

This morning it was time to wake up and go out and say good bye one last time.

On this day, in this morning, we gathered as a family and with our friends, so many who had come to be with us, to celebrate my brother’s funeral mass.

It shouldn’t ever be like this.  No parent should outlive the child.  And yet here we were.  I met my parents in the parking lot of the church amid the cold piles of snow that had been plowed into large banks.  I thought to myself “I wonder if it was like this when they welcomed him into the world…” considering it is so close to his birthday.

I greeted the funeral director at the hearse parked at the curb.  This man has been so gracious and kind to us.  It was black, the hearse.  I saw my other living brothers and brothers-in-law.  I felt a true kinship with them.  Together we had grown up, started families of our own.  And here we were preparing one final act for our brother.  The very last thing I could ever do for him, I thought, was to carry his body into the church and to pray for him.

It should not be like this.

I truly hate cancer.  It’s easy to hate cancer.  It’s not a person so there’s no guilt later on like “I really should have been kinder to cancer that one time.”  No.  I hate cancer and I don’t feel bad about it.  Cancer is an evil, hateful, bitch.

And here we were.

Standing next to my now-oldest living brother, a man who was so much closer to our dead brother than me, I helped unload the hearse, or “coach” as the funeral director called it.  We carried him up those steps and carried him down the aisle.  The music was so beautiful.  It was hard to feel sad.  The church looked magnificent.  I think that’s because the funeral immediately prior, for an old mobster named Bootsie (not even kidding) provided an array of fragrant floral displays around the sanctuary.  Thanks, Bootsie.

I watched as my sisters read from Scripture.  My youngest sister stood up to pray the intercessions and she stopped, overcome with emotion.  She made it through.  Just the day before I had written those intercessions.  I included the following, buried neatly in the midst of the others.

For all y’all mother f*&#ers, that you may go &@*$ your selves; we pray to the Lord.

Fortunately I removed the line before printing.  Still I think it would have helped her with a laugh if she’d seen it in that moment and my brother would have appreciated that.

And like that, the mass was over.

We carried him out.

My brothers and I placed him lovingly in the coach.  Funny.  Men.  Grown men.  Big men did something “lovingly” and with tenderness.  Of course we did.  It could have been any one of us.  I did not want to say goodbye to my brother like this.  I wanted to know him.  I wanted to sacrifice more for him, pray more for him.  It is not what I wanted for him but here I was.

In the end, my older brother (the one I mentioned) and I were the last two lingering at the rear of the hearse.  Together we placed our hands on our brother’s casket and looked at each other.  We pulled away a step and put our arms around each other.  And cried.

“It’s OK,” I told him.

And it is.  OK.

He is not in pain.

He is in glory with Our Lord.

He prays for us now.

Pray for us.

Good bye, Richard.  We love you and miss you.