Losing Your Parents

May 17th 1992, a day that changed my life forever.

Twenty-one years ago on May 17th, 1992, my mom passed away. Could 21 years really have already passed without me seeing or talking to or being with my mother? Could that really be possible? I had just turned 46 years old ten days before she left us and it was right after Mother’s Day, 1992.

A lot has happened since then. Her four children and her 11 grandchildren have all gotten 21 years older. Some grandchildren have had children of their own so Mom would be a great-grandmother now were she still alive. Of course, were she still alive, she’d be more than 100 years old. 107 to be exact.

Dad passed away four months later. Those were the saddest two events of my life. It was like a double blast from a shotgun. Bang! Bang! It took years for me to accept the loss and I probably still haven’t accepted it completely and I probably never will.

To be able to dial 213 283 8776 on the phone again and to hear Mom or Dad say, “Hello” would be wonderful. To be able to get in my car and drive the 8 hours to LA and knock on the door and see them come to the front door and hug and kiss them. That would be heaven. To watch them moving about the house on Violeta Drive in Alhambra and going about their day, wow, that’d be so wonderful!

To watch Dad watering the lawn and his tending little tomato garden and see him taking a nap on his bed would be like magic. To go into Mom’s room and see her watching TV and reading one of her magazines and look up and ask, “How you doing, hon?” with love in her eyes would be so wonderful and yet while they were alive, naturally, we all took it for granted because they were always there. It was incomprehensible to imagine them not being there and yet, it’s been twenty-one years.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and do a double take because I think I see my father. To think they never saw my children graduate from high school and graduate from college and go on with their lives becoming strong, happy adults involved with their lives with relationships and jobs and homes. Sometimes I look at my children and think, “Wow, they are my Mom and Dad’s grandchildren.

And to think I’ll never see Mom or Dad again for the rest of my life?? Unfathomable! And yet, that’s how life is. Time passes and we get involved with our lives and we’re busy and we do things we believe are important and things change. I remember a song by Bob Dylan, called To Ramona,  where he sings: “Everything passes, everything changes, just do what you think you should do.” And I guess that’s how life goes, so in order to make sense of it we have to accept and respect what it is and go on doing what we believe is important and try to make the world a better place.

Of course I now realize everything that Mom and Dad did for us. They brought us here and worked hard all their lives and did everything for us and I often find myself sitting back and offering gratitude for all their hard work bringing me here and helping me become who I am and giving me everything I have which is quite a lot. I wish they could have met Trudi who I’ve been with now for 12 years. I wish they could see our home and how their grandchildren are doing.

But maybe like Trudi says, if there’s anything to religion, maybe they’re looking down at us all right now with smiles on their faces and love in their hearts like they always did while they were alive. If that’s true, I’d just like to say, thank you Mom and Dad. I miss and love you very much, Love, Phil

Mom & Dad newlyweds Mom and Dad as newlyweds

About Sr Felipe

I grew up in East LA, was drafted into the army and sent to Vietnam as a medic with the 1st Cav from 1966-1967. I survived that, came back to LA, went to East LA College and Cal State LA, became a social worker in Ventura, CA and moved up to Chico, CA in 1975. I started Sr Felipe's Salsas making organic salsa, enchilada, BBQ and pasta sauce that was available in natural food stores nationwide from 1980-2005. I've been doing a radio show on KZFR, Chico, 90.1 FM every Tuesday from 7:30-10:00 PM streamed live on KZFR.org where I play oldies from the 50s & 60s, doo-wop, Latin, folk, country and Gospel music and interview interesting people in the community. For the past three years I've been teaching beginning guitar through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute through Chico State University.
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2 Responses to Losing Your Parents

  1. barb says:

    Hi Phil, what a lovely story…sad…yet lovely!!! I was only 22 at the time, a CDF fireland firefighter in Butte county. At that time, I knew I was needed. I moved home while my Mom was dying in Baldwin Park, in San Gabriel. My Mom died on August 17th, 1984….we were talking recently and how is it that 29 years have come and gone??!! She has 7 grandchildren and only met the oldest, she loved him fiercely!! He was almost two years old…. BTW, I lived on Hellman Ave. in Alhambra, back in the mid 1870’s, what a small world. My daughter’s father begged me, if I had a daughter to name her Violeta…..I chose Ayla, and it fits her perfectly!! Anyhow thanks for sharing Phil, I look forward to reading more.

    • Sr Felipe says:

      Thank you, Barb,
      Wow, Hellman Ave? I drove on the street thousands of times. I always loved the name of Violeta Drive, the street we lived on after we moved out of City Terrace. It was only a few miles further east from City Terrace but it was a different world at the time. I didn’t realize you had a daughter. I like the name Ayla a lot too. Thank you for writing, Phil

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