It’s been several days since I heard the news that my dad had passed away and the pain isn’t any better. I have some good moments and I’m thankful for my amazing wife Maggie who has supported me during the bad times. The passing of my dad is bittersweet. The last couple of weeks of his life truly sucked with obvious signs that the cancer had really started to do it’s dirty work. He had already lost mobility on his left side due to the tumor in his brain and slowly everything else just started to shutdown. His passing, while painful, was the best thing that could’ve happened. His quality of life was just in the tubes and I could see in my dad’s eyes that he didn’t want this. Being an invalid was the last thing he ever wanted.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. My dad was my mentor. As Joe Stump said, he was the man that made me a man. The thought of him passing was something that I envisioned when he was 90 or 100, not 66. And not this way.
How could my dad who came by boat from Cuba, battled for the freedom of that same country (gun in hand at that), served in the U.S. Military, made a life, raised 3 sons, built a thriving business and finally had 26 acres to retire on in North Carolina be gone? My dad was supposed to be in North Carolina now with my mom & they’re 4 dogs tending to his house, harassing my aunt, brother & sis-in-law and just being a grandfather.
Blaming Phillip Morris, USA for producing the cancer sticks that my dad smoked for at least 40 years is just too easy. That’s low-hanging fruit. You guys & everyone that helps you run your business, from your investors to the janitor that cleans up at the end of the day, royally suck. A lesser man might wish you the same that my father has endured but that’s not who I am. I can only pray that your families don’t endure what we’ve had to.
I was in New York, about 20 minutes from hosting a meetup, when I got the news. The only word I could use to describe the moment was “confusion”. I honestly felt completely disoriented. I have to thank Justin Scott, Fraser Kelton & Alex Iksold for stepping in and helping me gain some sense of focus. They took the lead while I spoke with my family and determined whether to stay or not. My decision to stay wasn’t trivial but ultimately to right one. There was no reason to run out. I had so much time with my dad, especially in the last several weeks, that I didn’t feel I needed to see his body. If my dad would’ve been with me, he would’ve told me to “be a man and do the presentation”! That’s what he would’ve wanted and that’s what I did.
Being alone in NYC for the night, I found solace via my family. My cell phone was my lifeline.
Getting back was no easier. I had to explain to my children that their grandfather had passed which was challenging due to some things going on in their lives, to which my wife & I were trying to be sensitive. I can’t describe how immensely difficult it is to try and explain death to a child. Just a couple of days before his death, I was letting them know that there grandfather would be passing away soon and then it hits. And due to circumstances, I couldn’t tell them all at once but instead had to spread it out over the whole week.
Then I wanted time with my mom to make sure she was okay. My mom is amazing. She’s endured so much and she’s such a strong woman. She’s continued to put on that “I’m okay” facade but I know she’s hurting beyond anything I could imagine. All I can do is wait until she needs me. Until she decides she needs her sons to support her. And we’ll be here for you mom.
And the same goes for my brothers. Two of the toughest guys I know. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see them cry or if they’ll want to talk about it. It’s tough being a Bango man. My dad always taught us to be tough guys. But we all know we’re here for each other.
It Finally Hits Me
Yesterday was so tough. My dad was in my thoughts all day. I cried a lot. I think everything just finally caught up. I knew it would and that’s fine. If I keep it bottled up, it’ll be worse. Even writing this makes me well up. But it helps, helps me to express some feelings that I can’t often verbalize. Not sure why but I find writing a better outlet sometimes.
Something that Joe Stump said has just stuck with me and that’s:
Ain’t no shame in crying over the man that made you a man.
God, ain’t that the truth. Thank you Joe.
Along those lines, I have to thank my Twitter friends whose outpouring of support and love has been a big help. Thank you.
I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. I went to the beach today w/ my wife & baby, just to get away. It was really nice and relaxing and I didn’t have to think too much, which in itself was good.
I can’t say that the pain is any less. If anything, it’s actually worse because I know I’ll never hear my dad say “Como esta mi hijo” again. I can still hear him say that in my head though. Clearly. I’m clinging to that big time right now. His tone was always so reassuring to me & I don’t want to give it up. I have to be realistic (which totally sucks) in that I’ll be in pain for quite some time. I have to be strong though. My dad would’ve wanted me to.
I miss you dad.