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My papa was not just a number; he was, he is, such a caring and kind soul. Though it was sometimes hard to express his emotions, I know his love for me was greater than anything. He was so funny too! Even when I was upset he always knew how to make me laugh. The king of dad jokes is what I dubbed him. He was always laughing. It began in December. He thought it was just a cold until his test came back positive. When it became too difficult to breathe he went to the hospital. In January, he was transferred to a rehabilitation center and he was optimistic. He had to stay there a little longer, he said, but soon he would go home. Then things changed and his health began to rapidly decline. He was put on the ventilator and a few days later I was given the choice to let him go hooked up to all those machines, or to let him go peacefully and comfortably without them. I knew he wouldn’t want to suffer that way anymore. ‚ÄúPlease make him comfortable.” I was able to talk to him one more time through zoom, but I didn’t want my last words to him to be goodbye. So I just kept telling him how much I love him and that it was ok to rest now. And as I spoke I saw the doctor, without his glove, gently stroke my dad’s forehead and hair. That moment, that gesture, was so beautiful to me, so incredibly compassionate and human, I am forever grateful. My papa was a beautiful light and I know he’ll always be with me.

Estrella Fierroz, California

Photo of dad and daughter