At the beginning of last month, August 6th, was the third anniversary of my father’s passing. This year, having just put my Aunt Ana to rest as well, that grief that August always brings with it, came early. We laid my aunt to rest at the start of July, the grief was carried from July to August, it was like a subtle thunderstorm that never left.
I think about my father a lot. To this day I continue to write poems about him. He keeps appearing in my poetry. I remember when he first passed away, I didn’t write for a while. I felt this immense guilt for not completing my poetry book while he was still alive, because a lot of the poems were in large part about him. I felt I owed it to him. It also felt irreverent to write about him, as if writing about him, was not letting his soul rest. I also was frightened of the idea that since he had encompassed so much of my writing, that somehow I would not have anything to write about. In losing him, I had lost everything.
Slowly but eventually, I let go of this guilt, and last January, I completed the first draft of my poetry collection. I have learned to accept my father as part of my writing forever, People pass away but their memories, their essence of who they are remains. I mean what is poetry, if it is not the attempt to capture a memory and make it eternal. I have given myself the liberty to write about him, and it doesn’t feel irreverent anymore, I feel honored to keep his memory alive in my writing,
I’ve also come to realize that my father is still here with me, and not just in the guayabera shirts of his that I inherited and keep hung in the back of my closet. The ones that I pull out once in a while, when his memory becomes too much, and hold them close to me. They still carry his scent. He is everywhere. He still here with me, wanting to be a poem. The memories of him always find a way to become words on paper.