I do remember, at the beginning, a very unpleasant phase of confusion and disorientation. I remember a lot of pain, we all suffered through that phase and my father more than anyone. Because during that phase he was aware of everything and no-one understood anything. Then came the silence. The silence in our hearts, denial and, gradually, acceptance.
I remember how it changed our lives so suddenly, how I stopped going out partying till all hours so that I could be at home. I remember the moments of silence, the non-conversations, the not speaking but feeling: magical moments of company, smiles and jokes and some regret at times. And above all, how natural it all was; I remember everything was very natural, very spontaneous.
They say that the sick forget, but no. That lost gaze always smiled upon seeing me come in the door with that “pareeee ja estic aqui !” (Dad, I’m here!) but I also remember perfectly that he never forgot my name; he called me Micalet and I remain Micalet. Because my father was never more affectionate than with the illness. I remember everything good.
I remember the rituals, rituals with the pills, rituals with breakfast, other more unpleasant rituals, but everything with so much affection and patience. Because they deserve patience. Eight years of patience. A lot of patience and positivism. There is no tomorrow with this illness, there is only today and now, “que fem avui, pare?? On vols anar?” (What shall we do today dad? Where do you want to go?) and off we would go, getting into trouble; because we used to get into a lot of trouble, but good trouble. An ice cream? We would have ice cream; we’re going to see the Fallas? there we would be…
What I remember most are the trips, I remember Berlin, the walk around the Tiergarten, disorientation, chaos and calm. There would always be chaos, and then calm would always return, and at the end of the day, that calm turned into satisfaction. Always. From the quality of life we were trying to give to my father. Right up until the last moment of his life. But there was fun too, I remember the excitement with which my father would get ready for our trips. I remember the amazing helpers who would push him in a wheelchair through the airport to the departure gate. The smiles of the air hostesses. They deserve the best, always smile at them when you see them at airports. And I remember Rome and the breakfast croissants at Pascuetta, the watch he bought himself in Geneva because he wanted a Swiss watch to show off. I remember when we got lost driving in Geneva and we suddenly burst out laughing in our desperation. I remember that day when I parked the car at the Iglesia de Sitges square, I don’t know how I got there; it is family love that moves mountains, takes you wherever you want to go. The case is that I took my father to enjoy the sea breeze that day as if he were a god, because my father was a god and he deserved the best. I remember the dignity. For me, my father was the most handsome and elegant grandfather at the day centre. So much dignity despite the illness. And heads held high in the street, even if we were looked down upon, and we would hold them so much higher if this was the case. And then there were the paellas, those wonderful paellas we used to eat in the best restaurants. And I have always thought that my father was happy at those times. And I have always thought that he conveyed and shared this happiness with us. I think illness enables you to share special moments, and that the sick pass on their wisdom. And I think that the illness really brought us together so much, it united us, and ultimately cemented an everlasting paternal love.
I remember it all, dad, I love you wherever you are and I think of you so much.