On Father’s Day

By Irina Pino

HAVANA TIMES – There’s a saying that goes: “Anyone can be a father, but there’s only one mother.” This doesn’t apply to every father, but there are exceptions. There are fathers who leave the country and only send their children letters and birthday cards. Long-distance fathers. Long-distance fathers aren’t involved in family life, nor do they form part of the daily struggle.

The worst fathers are the ones that go missing for years and then reappear asking for forgiveness. Others come looking to get something from their children’s fame. Like John Lennon’s dad.

But there are also fathers who are going through difficult situations, who are being held in prison, knowing they are innocent. These are the fathers who are powerless because they can’t be with their children, watch them grow, or hug them as much as they’d like to. Fathers locked up, fathers under the State’s control, fathers in need. Just imagine what they need to tell their children if they are still young, and they don’t understand what’s happening.

I think the parents that suffer the most are the ones that the Laws of Life, God’s plan, or whatever you want to call it, gets disrupted, and their children die before them. It turns the natural order on its head. That’s because parents are supposed to die first. A sick child, a murdered child, is a heavy burden on anyone’s heart. Accepting this is a great feat. I don’t know if religion, spirituality can help them somehow. It’s hard to know exactly.

I remember my uncle-in-law when my cousin died, he stopped speaking for months. He would only communicate with written notes. There was a fire and the bus where a group of people were caught on fire. He got off unharmed, but he began to help those inside and he had third degree burns. He didn’t last more than three days.

His bedroom was kept shut, just as he had left it, for years. There were lots of photos of him. My uncle would go there to talk to his son.

My mother also spoke to my father. Especially at night. Sometimes, I’d pass by her bedroom door and I’d hear her talking to him in the empty bed. To the bed next to hers. He had passed away four years before.

Jesus was my father’s name. Just like Jesus Christ, he was a simple person, extremely intelligent and wise. He loved to read, and would read everything that came into his hands, whether they were novels, books, biographies. He’d read a book in two days. He’d fall asleep with the book of the hour in bed. Mami or I would take off his reading glasses.

I’ve spoken about his human qualities in previous articles. These included helping anyone who needed it. When somebody in the neighborhood got sick and needed an injection, they’d call papi. Nobody felt the prick of a needle in the wrong place. He had magic hands. That’s what lots of people remember him for.

If reincarnation is real, I hope my father’s spirit is in a body, a mind, that can show kindness to others.

Read more from Irina Pino’s diary here.

One thought on “On Father’s Day

  • Thank you for discounting all fathers on fathers day.

    Sometimes aunts have to be the mother. Sometimes grandparents or neighbours have to be the mother. Sometimes fathers have to be the mothers. We’re not all in jail, or in another country. Your bitterness is showing through your writing.

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