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Volume 18, Number 3
March 25, 2012

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lifestyle

Also in this section:
Waiting out the outages
US overseas and military voters frequently asked questions
The day after the first rain
Grave Cleaning Day at the Chinese cemetery in El Chorrillo
Manny Acosta finds a home in the Mets bullpen
Scenes from the 2012 Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race
Roberto "La Araña" Vásquez vs. Mario Briones: the entire fight
Rio Hato fisherman home after a long ordeal
Scenes from the Kite Festival
Tropical-style bonbons in El Cangrejo
Sunflowers and life's cycle
Soft brown eyes at Nutre Hogar
Cavalcade at the David International Fair
Tourism: a sojourn to Soloy
Scenes from Ricardo Martinelli's birthday party

A lot of articles from other publications and general commentary by various people about different aspects of life in Panama --- and freewheeling discussions about them --- can be found on our constantly updated Facebook page

Sunflowers
by Bradley Thomas

"BJ, let's go. Your mom is already in the car, waiting for you!" shouted my grandmother from the rear of her house. I grabbed my shoes and dashed through back porch towards the car. My grandmother started driving with a serious expression. Curious, I looked back and saw my mother staring through window. In her eyes, I could see the sadness still inside of her.

It was a gorgeous day. The sun shined bright, colorful flowers were everywhere, and the morning seemed full of life. But after seeing my grandmother's and mom's expressions, I realized it was July 3. That beautiful summer day was also the anniversary of my dad's death.

At that moment, I regretted that I got in the car. It had been thirteen years since the day of the fatal car accident: my dad had tried to avoid a deer that had crossed his path. I was three years old, and because of that, I never knew my father well. I've always heard stories about what a great parent he was, though. For instance, how he'd take me to the park to play or helped me learn to walk. Yet, he was still a ghost in my life. All I knew at that moment was that I was in a car on my way to visit the grave of a person I barely knew.

On that sunny day children played in their backyards, enjoying the summer breeze. In the meantime, I prepared myself to confront emotions I had never really faced before. The car ride approached its end as we passed corn and tobacco fields with wooden white houses. When my eyes caught sight of the brown and white colors of Lebanon Baptist Church, with its typical simple southern architecture of a lone tower and a lengthy body, my hands began to tremble. The butterflies in my stomach started to migrate through my entire body, creating the most uncomfortable feeling.

As the car parked beside the church, my grandmother said, "BJ, are you ready to go see your dad? I brought some sunflowers your mom has picked for his grave." My grandmother attempted to smile while I tried to think of excuses to stay in the car, not wanting to get out and to see my dad's grave. But when I looked at my grandmother's face, torn by the sorrow of visiting her beloved son's resting place, I realized that he was also my father, and that he had loved me a lot. I nodded, opened the door, and got out of the car to follow my grandmother and mom into the graveyard.

During the time it took to reach my dad's grave, I prepared myself to deal with my fears. I didn't know what to expect, what to do. I felt insecure, distant from whom I was about to pay my respects. Now, in front of me was a long granite block, and underneath rested a person who had loved me, but I never had the chance to experience it. My eyes looked at the reflection that emanated from the shiny black surface. I saw my mom's face, with an expression of loneliness, as she bent over and put the sunflowers on my dad's grave, her tears falling onto the surface. I also caught a glimpse of my grandmother's face, stoic, trying her best not to cry. I felt awkward, as if I was someplace I didn't belong. I wasn't sure what to do, what to say as I fought unfamiliar feelings.

That's when I realized that the man before me, under the granite made hot by the sun's rays, was the man who tried to be the best father to me, a loving husband to my mom, and a devoted son to my grandmother. I then saw the carving in the granite --- a hand that said 'I love you' in sign-language, as my father, like my mother, was hearing-impaired. Right at that moment, I allowed tears to roll down my face, crying for the first time because I realized that I actually missed my dad.



Bradley Thomas is a senior at Balboa Academy






   
 

Also in this section:
Waiting out the outages
US overseas and military voters frequently asked questions
The day after the first rain
Grave Cleaning Day at the Chinese cemetery in El Chorrillo
Manny Acosta finds a home in the Mets bullpen
Scenes from the 2012 Ocean-to-Ocean Cayuco Race
Roberto "La Araña" Vásquez vs. Mario Briones: the entire fight
Rio Hato fisherman home after a long ordeal
Scenes from the Kite Festival
Tropical-style bonbons in El Cangrejo
Sunflowers and life's cycle
Soft brown eyes at Nutre Hogar
Cavalcade at the David International Fair
Tourism: a sojourn to Soloy
Scenes from Ricardo Martinelli's birthday party



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© 2012 by Eric Jackson
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