My papi, Ramon Baez

post written on 01 Apr 10 in Family, personal

5 years ago today, April 1st, my papi passed away. He was not sick; he was 74. He mowed the yard that morning, took a nap, awoke saying he didn’t feel well, and then had a heart attack.
My mother was at their home, called a neighbor, who in turn called me. I raced over to their home from mine, 10 minutes at most, to already find paramedics, who had known my father personally, working on him on the floor.

I turned my attention to comforting my mother and thinking of all the things I needed to do to help. Everything was racing through my head, but everything lining up in perfect order of what needed to be done. It’s weird how you focus in crisis.

They did their best, kept him breathing, and took him to the hospital into intensive care.
He was put on all sorts of machines; I guess it is procedure, hoping for the best, or a miracle.

We were let in to see him; my mother and I went in. When you first see your father or loved one attached to countless machines, it’s not a site you want to remember, but I remember it clearly. It drives me everyday.

Of course we cried, but I tried to stay strong for my mother, and I knew my father would want that. My brother and sister were out of state, so them getting there anytime soon was not a possibility. But the Cuban phone chain went into action and one after the other, my cousins, aunts, uncles, friends started showing up to the waiting room.

My papi always taught me about honesty, truth. We were never ones for lies, don’t like liars, they do no serve anything well. So when I kept asking nurses or anyone for answers, they gave me textbook answers, lets wait and see. Of course we prayed for a miracle, but we are also very realistic family, no matter what faith.

Then came our family doctor, who is a straight shooter. I looked at him, he looked at me, and just told me, there is no chance for your father to survive. He was without oxygen for too long. He told me the machines were standard procedure for the next 48 or 72 hours. To me, once I heard his honest answer, I knew anything else was pointless.

It was his time to go. No matter what amount of consoling I got from family and friends, it made no difference, I knew he was gone.

Finally came the time to stop the machines, he kept breathing on his own for some time, but it was just the body, the machine, that was just still ticking, until he stopped.

Of course I was upset, so were the hundreds if not thousands who showed up to his funeral, all saying to me, your father was a great man. The most kind and HONEST man they had ever met.

Knowing this is what keeps me going.

My father never got to see my boys. Alison and I had told him the day before he died that we were pregnant with our first child through in vitro fertilization.
When Alison walked, my dad and I were standing on the porch of his home; I told him they had implanted 3 embryos, that we could possibly be having triplets if all took.
The last thing I ever heard my father say to me was, “Now you are going to know what it’s like to be a father.”

When the casket was going into the ground, I felt a nice breeze come across my arm. I felt at peace, I knew I had to step up to provide a good home for my new family, like my father did, coming to this country from Cuba with nothing except my mom and sister and brother, who were 3 and 5, and had to start all over again with nothing, but his 6th grade education and his skill as a mechanic, and did his best to support his family.

You see, he had to prove himself all over again. At a car dealership, he was given a challenge by the owner, to fix a diesel truck that none of the other guys could get started in the past year. Get it started and he would have a job. 2 days he worked on it alone, him and his tools. Then came a huge roar of the engine, white smoke filling the mechanics bay. When the owner came to see the commotion, my dad walked out of the smoke covered in grease, handed the owner a wrench, and got the job, all with his year’s of experience and his tools of his craft.

So today, in now our second home together, Alison and I have 2 beautiful boys, Carson Ramon and Cameron Alexander who are almost 4 ½ and 3. So every time I hear their voices running around the house, I wish my dad could be here to hear whatever sound they are making.

I know I am making him proud through my hard work and doing my best to be a good father and husband, but more importantly, that I am a man who is respected, honest, and truthful.

Papi, I miss you, but I know you can hear our boys.

My papi was Ramon Baez.

20 Comments on "My papi, Ramon Baez"

  1. Carlos Baez
    01/04/2010 at 8:31 am Permalink

    Beautiful story … I love the part about your Dad getting the engine started and walking out of the smoke! Thanks for sharing — I miss my Dad too..

  2. Carlos Baez
    Wendy Valderrama
    01/04/2010 at 8:34 am Permalink

    Lovely post. I have found the best way we can honor our loved ones who have passed on is to live the life they wanted us to live, and you are doing just that and then some. My mother passed 11/11/08 under similar circumstances and we too removed life support. Not memories you like to remember, and not as important as the lives and values they lived. Well done.


  3. Carlos Baez
    joop rubens
    01/04/2010 at 9:27 am Permalink

    thank you for sharing this. it’s very moving – yet inspiring.
    lived in africa for a while where people really believe in the presence of ancestors. i think they are right. people who are important to us really never leave our existence

  4. Carlos Baez
    Monty Jessop
    01/04/2010 at 9:32 am Permalink

    Carlos, That is a incredible story, thank you for sharing such a personal part of your life. I had a very similar experience 10 years ago with my wife’s Mother, she was the greatest mother-in-law anyone could ever ask for. I know oh too well about those breathing machines I too had to turn one off and watch her go. Your father and mother raised a son they can be very proud of.

  5. Carlos Baez
    Rosaura Sandoval
    01/04/2010 at 10:00 am Permalink

    Thank you for sharing your story about your papi. It moved me. My papi passed away 2 years ago and it is still painful. I am really grateful that he met my baby, Gemma now 2.5years old, when she was just a little baby. I have that on video with him giving some amazing words that I, and Gemma, will cherish forever: I do have a need to talk about my father and how I feel and your blog post is inspiring me to do so. I think it helps with the healing. Gracias de nuevo.

  6. Carlos Baez
    01/04/2010 at 11:35 am Permalink

    This was a beautiful post. I am sorry for the loss of your father and it is great how you keep him alive through this post, the photos, and most importantly your memories. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Carlos Baez
    Gina Diaz
    01/04/2010 at 11:54 am Permalink

    You just brought me to tears. There are few people who realize what life is really about. :)

  8. Carlos Baez
    Alexis Cuarezma
    01/04/2010 at 2:16 pm Permalink

    Carlos, thank you so much for sharing. Your dad sounded like a wonderful, honest, hard working man. I have no doubt he was and I’m not surprised from seeing how you are. I know he was & is extremely proud of you. I was really moved by your story and now I view April 1st differently. Best wishes to you & your family

  9. Carlos Baez
    01/04/2010 at 2:18 pm Permalink

    Your father would most definitely be proud of you for all the things you’ve accomplished, your kind, loving and honest nature, and the two beautiful boys that you and allison have raised. (or raising, rather) Thank you for sharing such personal memories and photos Carlos!

  10. Carlos Baez
    Eileen Broderick
    01/04/2010 at 6:30 pm Permalink

    Beautiful tribute to a wonderful man. So sorry for your loss but so happy that you are living to make him proud and to honor his legacy.

  11. Carlos Baez
    Ashley Brockinton
    03/04/2010 at 9:34 pm Permalink

    That made me cry. Thank you for sharing something so personal. It helps me to remember to be evermore thankful of each day I have on this earth with my family.

  12. Carlos Baez
    Patti Mustain
    04/04/2010 at 9:20 pm Permalink

    What a beautiful tribute to your father. Thank you for sharing. Lord bless you…

  13. Carlos Baez
    Patti Mustain
    04/04/2010 at 9:21 pm Permalink

    What a beautiful tribute to your father. Lord bless you…

  14. Carlos Baez
    Jerry McGaghey
    05/04/2010 at 6:06 am Permalink

    Beautifully put, Carlos… brings tears to my eyes. Cheers.

  15. Carlos Baez
    Larry Reeves
    05/04/2010 at 11:04 am Permalink

    beautiful post, Carlos. Your Papi IS Ramon Baez. What a legacy he has left!

  16. Carlos Baez
    Jen Shannon
    06/04/2010 at 3:39 pm Permalink

    Carlos, what a wonderful blog post about your father. I’m soooo sorry he can’t be there to see your kids but I’m so glad you were able to enjoy him while he was still here. I recently lost my grandma the exact same way. She will never meet my kinds, her grand kids, and it’s painful to know. This post is an inspiration and I’m glad you shared it.

  17. Carlos Baez
    Jane Shauck
    14/04/2010 at 8:24 am Permalink

    Thank you for sharing this.

  18. Carlos Baez
    Jason Thon
    15/04/2010 at 9:38 pm Permalink

    Carlos, what a touching tribute to your father. It must be tough for your family not to have your \Papi\ around physically, but it sounds like his lessons and spirit have never left. I’m sure he is smiling and proud of the family you and Alison have built.

  19. Carlos Baez
    Mary Marantz
    30/04/2010 at 1:05 pm Permalink

    Carlos, thank you for being you. This post is what it’s all about.

    So much love

  20. Carlos Baez
    Judi Gilbert
    05/05/2010 at 2:06 pm Permalink

    This made me cry. I know he is proud to call you his son…as I am to call you my friend. God bless you and your family.

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