From the border of South Carolina and North Carolina (Entering Charlotte)
This blog is dedicated to all the fathers we have met along the way, those that open their homes to us and made us feel as one of their own, and to those that currently fear being sepearted from their children. To my father Gustavo Enrique Pacheco and to my grandfather Alberto Santos.
I remember it as if it was yesterday; all I have to do is close my eyes and hear his voice. Its like hearing the ocean waves in the middle of the city by placing a seashell gently on your ear. There is nothing more beautiful in this world than being able to receive the love from a parent. When I was just a toddler, my father used to sit me on his bed, stare me straight in the eyes, and sing to me as he played his guitar. There was nothing then that could have distracted me from hearing the melodies of love my father would play that would echo from my ears to my heart.
My father always has been a very interesting man. Although he would have been an excellent economist, politician, or actor, his profession was that of a salesman. He was a successful man, however, my parents were discontent with their overall life in Ecuador. Their marriage was failing, their safety was always at risk, they wanted something better for their four children and one day my father decided that he would try to convince my mother to move with him to the United States. Its been 17 years since then!
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to see into my fathers eyes once again. Since we left Miami on January 1st, I have seen my loved ones three times. They are always looking for a way to come up and see me anywhere I am on the trail, this is specially true for my father, who has been saving money to fly up with my mother on May first. I asked him to come up with the buses heading to DC for the rally on March 21st. “I can't go on the buses mija, I have to work”, he would tell me. I really wanted to see him and I thought well maybe if one of the buses from Miami would deviate for just a couple of miles I could give him at least a hug...but it wasn't possible. Two days before the departure to DC, he called me and said “Its a miracle, someone called me and they have rented a 15 passenger van, and invited me to come for free, but whats best is that they want to walk with you!”
In his eyes I found pride, joy, love, but I also noticed the inevitable signs of aging. It was a scary thing for me. I remembered, as a child, being taken by the hand, carried his shoulders, and taking care of me. Now, more than 2 decades later, I saw him struggling to walk at my pace, and it was I who held him firmly by his hand and took him up the road. Love like this is rare to find, like a pearl disguised in shells that can only be found in the depths of the ocean.
I cannot fully live without him by my side. When immigration customs and enforcement (ICE) shackled him and put an ankle bracelet on his foot, I saw him change. He aged quicker than ever, and now as I travel trying to ensure I could keep my family and millions of others families together, I fear the toll of him worrying about me everyday.
We cannot wait a single second longer. With every minute of the day, we get closer to the ultimate separation of family, death. Although, it was I who held my dad firmly by his hands and guided him down the road, it was him that kept the rhythm of my heart going. I need him, and in the arms of this country lies the fate of my heart.
Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. link to http://www.trail2010.org/blog/2010/mar/23/Daddys-little-girl/