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Farewell, Papa Micksey

When my husband, your firstborn son, told me you passed away in a foreign land, I did not believe him. I could not move. I was in shock. I sat on the stairs for a long time, dazed. Then hot tears came rushing down. What happened? Were you in pain? Were you alone?

I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye. We were so used to you going on trips that I just took this one as one of those. I even said I will just see you when you come back. Feeling empty, I took to writing about you to somehow fill that void. I thought the piece I was writing would be sad, dark, lonely. But this came out – and I knew that sadness had no place in my heart, because you only brought us joy and pride – for just being you.

Your stories always amused me — from the one where the boat you were riding in capsized, to your missions in Africa and the Middle East, and everything in between. I actually looked forward to hearing them, never mind the whole family teasing me that I am the only audience you have.

Yours is a big big heart. You helped even when you’re busy or tired. You gave even when you didn’t have much. You smiled even when you were scared or doubtful.

We always teased you for being too cautious, for driving very slowly, for your Albert Einstein hair. But we highly respected you and looked up to you for wisdom and guidance.

In your most recent work, you rubbed elbows with ambassadors, but at home you hurt your back giving piggyback rides to your grandson. You shook hands with diplomats, but at home you burned your hands cooking the best banana cue. You traveled far and wide, to luxurious places, but at home you slept on the floor.

You captured the most beautiful images of people – each of them telling a story without words. The photographs you took gave them an identity, a personality. With every click, you captured not only a simple shot, but brought hope and life.

You were recently (posthumously) bestowed the Upsilonian Noble and Outstanding (UNO) award, the highest honor granted by the fraternity to its deserving members. Only 64 outstanding brothers have been conferred this award. It said you were a “luminary,” defined as either a person of prominence or brilliant achievement, a person who inspires or influences others, or a natural light-giving body. You were all those, and more.

I can only say thank you for everything — for your heartfelt concern for us, for your passion in everything that makes even the simplest things seem of great worth, for your selflessness, your humility, your love.

It has been two years and we still feel sad. Tears still come whenever we think of you. But after the tears, we smile as the memory of you fills our hearts. You will forever be missed, Papa. Like the song from your favorite musical, we say “So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye. I leave and heave a sigh and say goodbye. Goodbye!”


5 years ago
This is the first time that I cried after you left. In my heart and mind, you are just working far away from me and we will meet again when I come home. I felt so sorry that the last time I heard your voice on the phone, I did not grab the opportunity to even ask HOW ARE YOU? I was pre-occupied and excited to talk to Ross, I did’t know it was the last time that I will hear your voice.
Where ever you are, hugs and kisses for you my brother and friend, your kindness and love for us will always be on my heart.
Till we meet again, Micksey.

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