My father was born in Limeira, SP in 1938. The youngest of three siblings (Jeannette, Francisco and my dad Jose Carlos), he was raised by a middle-class family and went to catholic schools all his life. My grandfather used to have a fruit stand in the market and my grandmother stayed home to raise the children.
At age 14 my father started working and when he finished high school his family moved to a complex of apartment buildings where he met my mother. He was 18 years old and my mom, 14. He lived in the white building, Sapphire, and my mom in the green one, Jade. They dated for 6 years before getting married in 1963.
Starting a family so young did not give my dad a chance to go to College. He worked hard and provided a nice lifestyle and wonderful vacations: once a year we would have 30 days vacations and we would travel to a different place/state in Brazil. We drove everywhere in his cobalt blue beetle and my brother and I would never complain of having to ride in the tight back part of the car. Every month on January (summer in South America) we would spend a month on a beach somewhere, and stay in a hotel, different from the previous year. On these days we were creating the memories I have now…
When I was 15 years old, my father went back to school and he went to college to become a physicist. He got his diploma in 1982. It was only a couple of years ago, while teaching at the University in Campinas, SP, that he earned his masters degree. On his time off he enjoyed playing tennis, watching soccer on riding in his motorcycle.
A year ago he became ill and had his first surgery for gastrointestinal problems. The doctor’s removed part of his stomach and esophagus after finding malignant tumors. When we visited Brazil in December he had lost 40 lbs and was frail, but we celebrated his 71 birthday together: the whole family together and many friends along. If you know that I live here in the US, my brother in Fortaleza, CE, my dad in Valinhos, SP and my mother in Sao Paulo, SP, this was quite and event!
In May I flew to Brazil in midst of my traveling and teaching to see him: this time he was not well at all. His cancer had spread to his liver and spleen. He was very weak, but having a quiet life, resting most of the time. Thanks be to God he was only very very sick for about 3 weeks. He passed away in June 15th in the morning during his sleep. Even though I only saw him once a year, I knew he was there! It is so hard to believe he is not anymore! I never lost someone close to me. I am telling you all this so you know I had a dear loving father! And from now on he is always with me in my heart and in my memory. I know he is in a better place than we are and one day we are going to be reunited in a place where there is no suffering, no pain, no tears. Time will bring us close again.