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My father

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JohnM13:
My dad passed away on January 15th, 2 days after my birthday, this year.

He was the most hardworking, selfless, happy, funny man Iíve ever known. Just having the privilege to be part of his life is such an honor that Iíll hold dearly to my heart forever.

He moved from Guatemala when he was about 18 to provide for his siblings and parents. He met my mother when he was only 19 years old (I have 2 brothers and a sister). He decided he wanted to take the challenge of taking care of all of us, and boy did he. As he was providing for his family back in Guatemala, he provided for us as well. After his long grueling days working, usually hard manual labor, he still always found time for us to play sports, or just hang out. He never complained.
I started working when I was about 14 and he showed me all the work ethic that I know now. Iíve been in the Coast Guard for about 8 years, with that same work ethic he showed me.
He also showed me to not take anything in life too seriously and laugh, dance, and have fun when you can. He loved us so much.
After joining the military, I didnít come home much. Iíd say Iíve been home 6-7 times since Iíve joined.
Unfortunately, the last time I was home was two years ago. My mom and dad had separated, and my siblings and I didnít talk to him as much. He was always a drinker. Possibly due to missing family back in Guatemala, and just not being able to do much due to him not having any U.S. papers.
I talk to him on his birthday, December 11th, 2020. He turned 39, we were both laughing at how time swept by. It was the first time I talked to him in over a year. I was upset at myself and told myself Iíd call him more often. Mainly due to finding out he was extremely sick the month prior. He said he lost a bunch of weight and couldnít take any food or drink in. He went to a doctor because he though he was going to die and found out he had a bad infection in his throat and stomach. When I was talking to him, he said the medicine was making him better, he was gaining weight and he sounded like my dad. Happy and laughing. I told him I would be seeing him soon, and that I loved him.

January 9th, I get a call from my younger brother, our dad is in the ICU. We later found out he told people not to tell us he was in the hospital. He was a very proud man. I ended up flying back home to hopefully get information from the ICU and help my family out. With him being illegal and not having papers, it was difficult to notify the nurses that we were his family. I finally got in touch with his ICU nurses and was able to schedule a FaceTime to give him positivity. At that time, he was already in ICU since late December.

The days passed, felt like eternity. He was getting better then worse, then better again. I woke up on the 14 with terrible news. We had to go to the hospital to discuss things with the doctor. It was not looking good. He ended up having many infections throughout his body. None of us knew yet about what he was diagnosed with. Other than the infections he had. It was in the back of my mind though.

Rewind to when I was a toddler. My biological father was diagnosed with HIV and passed away when I was only 2 years old. My mother almost passed from HIV when I was a teenager. She fought through it and is still living today. My step father (I call him my dad because he raised me) was diagnosed with AIDS. We begged to see if there was anyway to make him get out of this. It was too late. He was in the ICU for 2 weeks. He fought his fight, and he fought so damn hard. After having his service on the 18th, I flew back up to where Iím stationed. I ended up taking an extra two weeks so I can soak then realization that my father passed away. I was terribly heard broken. I was angry that it had to be him. I regretted so much and still have days where regret creeps up on me. And I am just flat out frustrated. Iím frustrated that no one could see what was happening to him and realized he shouldíve gotten tested. Iím frustrated that society makes AIDS so hard to talk about. Iím frustrated that it took me two losses to realize that there are things that I can personally do to help and make people aware of what HIV/AIDS do to such beautiful people. I want to help make society more aware of what people and families go through every day. I want to inform people that everyone should take a test. No matter what. I want to show people that there are ways that we can help. My mom has been humiliated during times of her life because people shamed her. How dare they. She is scared of telling people how my father died because she feels they would define him as something other than a father, husband, and overall amazing human being.

I am very happy to have found this forum and hope to hear stories of others and would love to hear feedback on how I can help individuals or communities.
I miss my dad very much. This has been the most I have talked about it and I wish I could announce to the world how incredible of a person he was. He deserves to be remembered. Thank you.

Jim Allen:
My condolence with your recent loss and I wish you strength during this time.

Jim.

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