By Nina Gomez-Camacho
The hospital room was bright and cold, machines beeping left and right. Everything was happening so fast but played as if in slow motion. Four daughters, a son, and a wife surrounding their one true hero, with hearts breaking one by one.
About a year and a half ago, on a peaceful Sunday afternoon, we lost the one we called Dad all our lives. Four daddy’s girls and his one and only son, experienced the most painful heartbreak on that day.
Things are still quite fresh and the pain has not gone. Quite the contrary, in fact. It pierces deeper as the longing becomes more intense as days, months, and years pass. A second fatherless Father’s Day has come but we choose to honor him by sharing the life lessons he planted deep in our souls. The lives touched by our father know how unbelievably loving, intelligent, and compassionate he was. Truly, a special soul – too good for all the uncertainty we’re going through.
He kept things simple, his words always encompassing. I believe he taught us well, and from being his innocent, little children, we’re all grown up and able to share what he and Mom have made out of our hearts.
Love immensely, love in all ways.
Contributed by: Malen Gomez – Garcia
Dad was firm yet gentle. He taught me how to be strong enough to give tough love but still show kindness. He was extremely generous but never spoiling – and that taught me to value what matters most. His love was a kind of love that granted our reasonable requests but was brave enough to deny privileges he knew could harm us.
Dad was very affectionate, he would hold hands with me anytime and anywhere. His calls and messages always ended with “Love you!”. That taught me how beautiful the expression of love could be.
He was compassionate; he taught me that it is in giving we receive. He taught me to love family and to love others like family – especially in times of need. He exemplified unconditional love as he wholeheartedly forgave us for our shortcomings. And in the times that we hurt him, all the more we felt his love, teaching me the importance of forgiveness.
Always choose to be kind.
Contributed by: Lisa Gomez – Quirante
Be kind. This lesson, I keep close to my heart and try to practice every day. Dad taught us that everything follows if you choose to be kind – respect, generosity, and love.
It was through seeing him treat everyone from all walks of life with compassion, that I learned to treat everyone with concern and respect. It was through his immense generosity with time and love, aside from material things, that I learned to be unselfish.
He would say “Thank you!” in the most sincere and appreciative way. That taught me to be grateful for all I have.
It was through Dad’s patience and unconditional love for Mom, my siblings, and myself that I learned to love with no limits. And even at the face of all the pain and challenges that came with his battle against cancer, his kindness grew even more.
I learned that being kind is not always easy every day, but it is possible.
Bad days may bring out the worst in people, but our Dad chose kindness, everytime. He kept a bright smile on his face, appreciating everyone around him. He was slow to complain – even on his bad days.
This is what I strive to practice every single day. I think to myself, if Dad was able to be kind after everything he went through, then I should be able to do so, too.
Put others before yourself.
Contributed by: Erica Gomez
Dad always put others first, and this is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from him. Dad was selfless in the gentle and loving ways he took care of Mom. He gave her all she ever wanted, deserved, and more – until his last breath.
He provided for my siblings and I, paving the way for us to achieve all that we hoped for in life. He provided when he was strong, but even when the going got tough and became difficult for him to do things on his own.
And just when I thought that Dad’s selflessness couldn’t get more admirable, he became a grandfather and spoiled each and every one of my nieces and nephews with his most precious time, up to his final days.
He simply lived his life for others. His happiness depended on the happiness of those around him. He always put the needs of others before his, in the smallest and biggest of matters.
Do things with love – always with your heart, mind and soul.
Contributed by: Rico Gomez
Dad always walked this talk. It shouldn’t just be your whole heart — but your mind and soul. Do it not just in the big things, but even in the small and mundane things in life. It may be as simple as keeping things tidy in your bedroom, making sure everything is pleasing to the eyes or as complicated as trying to close a project at work, making sure every step you take wins the client’s heart.
He taught me that if you’re not giving your whole heart, mind, and soul to what you do, you might as well not have done it at all.
Dad loved to cook. That’s the one thing you would see him doing from breakfast, lunch, merienda, and dinner. From doing his own grocery shopping, to selecting the perfect piece of meat, to the meticulous preparation of ingredients, to cooking with love, and finally presenting it as if it was a gift. To cap it all off, just for Mom, the love of his life, he always made sure he had a special plate that isn’t spicy or didn’t have any ingredient she didn’t like, because he cooked to make people happy – with his whole heart, mind and soul.
Serve generously; lead compassionately.
Dad is the greatest leader I have ever known, his inspiring influence applies to both the workplace and in our close-knit family. He was the same respectable leader whether he was rallying hundreds of company managers in a sales conference or guiding his five children through a well-planned travel itinerary.
His leadership values of compassion, integrity and humility were so deep-rooted that his simplest tasks or biggest decisions reflected these values distinctly.
Whether it was using his serious, respectable voice or his pleasant, persuasive ways, his people followed him. We followed him because he made it easy for everyone to trust and follow his lead, something I strive for in running my own business and raising my children.
It did help that he was always so crisp, appealing, and charming. He was known to have quite a remarkable fashion sense, and boy, was he handsome. To have all those traits rolled into one perfect package, it was but natural that he had a great influence on people – one that he used to serve generously, and lead compassionately.
During his well-attended wake, many people asked me if Dad had specific reminders for us during his last few days. And I would quietly say no, he actually did not. I was a little bothered, was he supposed to have any? Then I realized he didn’t need to say much. It is because by his & Mom’s living examples, the values he wanted to live out would simply come, naturally.
Just like how sharp he was at work, he would make an unbeatable plan and when his soldiers were ready, he silently watched them by the sidelines, confident that he had given them the right training and armor to face their own challenges. And with all his humility, Dad never wanted the spotlight. He was always working his magic behind the scenes.
Dad, we, your children, hope to shine the brightest for you. Just like the many top executives and outstanding managers you honed, we want to honor you and most of all, thank you, for preparing us for when you had to say goodbye. We don’t know if the pain will ever go away. But we will face each day allowing you to live through the five of us with Mom, letting your wisdom, guidance, gentleness, faith and your love flow through us every day with one heart, one day at a time.
Remembering your greatest lessons, one fatherless Father’s Day at a time.