We all have fathers, deadbeat, caring or overbearing. We all have a special connection to the people who created us and watched us grow. The immense love that we have for our parents is nurtured over the years, and only occasionally hampered during momentary lapses in judgment on our parts, or theirs.
One thing terrifies all of us equally– the thought of losing those we love, whether chosen or biological, because they are our family and support system. I have a father, an emotional, overbearing, caring-to-a-fault father filled with love for me and my siblings down to his big toe. I am 17, and my father is older than most, he’s 72. He has had a plethora of health problems—he’s a cancer survivor, has a heart condition and diabetes. I have watched my father survive all of these illnesses.
My father came to this country when he was 19 from Argentina, shortly after the death of his own father. My father lived with several other immigrants in a basement in New York working as a dishwasher to make enough money to bring his mother and brother to the U.S. He tells the story of how his hands felt like raw meat from soap and washing dishes all day long.
When he finally saved up enough money to bring his family to the United States, he survived another tragedy, his brother was shot by a passenger while driving a taxi in New York City. Shortly after my eldest brother Beto was born, he moved from New York to Miami with my Abuelita Ale.
The point of this story is that my father is made of steel. He has suffered travails unlike most have had to face. Determined, my father still survives and persists, living off the love he has for his children. To think that such a strong man could be yanked away by the coronavirus is beyond words. As I sit in my bed writing this, tears in my eyes and throat choke up, and all I can think of is that I cannot lose my Papa. I am supposed to have more years with him!
Ever since I was little, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my father will not live as long as my friends’ fathers. The hourglass of our time was half removed before I was even born! In my mind, my father is invincible, and I cannot imagine a world where he’s not flirting with waitresses and calling me at least twenty times per day.
Unfortunately, like every other father, mine is made of flesh and bones. One day he will not be here, and the threat of the coronavirus for people over a certain age ominously threatens to erode even more sand from his hourglass. Every day, the death toll in America rises. Every day we lose more of our elderly, and even our young. Our government is concerned with our economy, while citizens are concerned for their lives. Our fellow Americans horde vital masks, hand sanitizers and gloves, leaving the most high-risk defenseless.
We have witnessed a complete devolution of our society. Children fear shootings, African Americans fear being shot by those who are supposed to protect them, and now, all of us fear losing ourselves and those most precious to us, to a disease we are helpless in combating.
May God Bless America, and may we soon find a cure or a vaccine to protect the ones we love. I love you Papa.
Franny is a Junior at Miami Beach Senior High