Thank you for coming here today to celebrate an amazing life; the life of Guillermo Gonzalez. I know that my dad is in Heaven…watching down on us now…smiling at the fact that he had so many who loved him and who were touched by him. How do I put into words what my dad meant to me and to those who loved him? How can I adequately describe the life of this great man? He was my hero and he was my inspiration.
When this man was 19 years old, he fell in love with his soul mate and married her after seven years of courtship in 1964. I will always remember my mother describing what she fell in love with about my dad; his beautiful eyes, which were always full of expression and his striking hands.
My father accomplished 6 years of medical school, 2 years of residency, and one year of internship in neurosurgery in South America. This extraordinary man ended up repeating 1 year of internship and 3 years of residency, in the United States, so that he could fulfill his dream of practicing medicine in America. He trained at one of the most prestigious medical schools…The Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota. He did this all without knowing a stitch of English…he overcame all obstacles…and, as was custom for him…he persevered.
My dad was a family man. He was a great father…always hard at work…always providing for his family. He taught his three daughters to drive, he never missed our birthdays or graduations…he was present at all our own children’s births…he was… consistently present. His favorite days were spent with his grandchildren. He glowed when he was around them and touched each and every one of them in a unique and special way. He was the first one to arrive to our family get-togethers…the first one to drink a Corona with lime…and the first one to eat.
My dad believed he was a great carpenter…let me repeat that…my dad believed he was a great carpenter. We let him believe that…and lived in fear that he would come over to our homes to “fix” something. It didn’t matter what had broken, what screw was loose, or what needed a little restoration; my dad would always say: “No problem…I can fix that”. I remember one time I told him that I was going to have my dining room table restored…it had accumulated some scratches throughout the years. He told me that there was no need to send it to a professional; my dad could fix it. He came over one day with his tools and began his work. I admit I was nervous, but I knew that this made him feel needed and loved. I went about my business and later came down to check on his progress. The beautiful mahogany wood had become a deep, reddish, purple, coated with layers and layers of shellac. I was absolutely horrified but never had the heart to tell him. But my dad was proud…he thought my table looked brand new…and I thanked him for “fixing” it.
My sister Sylvia will always hold in her heart the special trip she made with my dad on his boat “The Billy G”, to the Keys, with her children. My mother and father had planned to make this trip together but my grandmother fell ill, so my sister and her kids took my mom’s place. My sister is so grateful that it turned out as it did, for this trip holds one of the most precious memories, of a great time spent with my father. We have so many cherished memories with my sweet father. Memories that may hurt us now…but I believe, will comfort us later.
We will miss my father…with our every last breath…he will live in our memories and hearts forever. But we know he is at peace and that he was ready…it was his time. A couple of weeks ago, he had a conversation with his son in law and friend…Carlos. He told him: “I feel like I have accomplished everything I need to accomplish in life…I feel complete…if God were to take me right now…I would perfectly fine”. All of us remember our last moments with my father…these moments were special…almost as if God with His Grace had put everything in line. I spent my last moments with my father alone with my children at their school festival. We talked about medicine, a passion we both shared together, we talked about family, and we laughed…When I left him that day…I grabbed him by the hand and said: “My Papito…I love you with all my heart…you know that don’t you?” He replied with a beaming smile: “Yes…and I love you with all my heart as well”. The rest of my family spent one of their last special moments with my father, at my sister’s home enjoying a beautiful Easter brunch…my sister Cristina describes that day as serene. An unspoken comfort did not allow anyone to leave…they spent hours in the living room listening to music and enjoying each other’s presence.
The day my father died, we stumbled across his most prized possession: His Kindle Fire. We discovered that the last book my dad read was called “Proof of Heaven”… about a neurosurgeon that had a near death experience. I have since read the book and I am so happy that these were the last words my dad read. The author describes Heaven beautifully…”[Heaven is] brilliant, vibrant, ecstatic, stunning…I could heap on one adjective after another to describe what this world looked and felt like, but they’d all fall short. I felt like I was being born. Not reborn, or born again. Just…born…The message [that God gave me] had three parts…”You are loved and cherished, dearly, forever. You have nothing to fear. There is nothing you can do wrong” It pleases us that these words were in my father’s heart before he died and it is a precious gift that he has left to us. . So now we say to this wonderful man...my father…my loyal friend…we are happy that you are in Heaven and we are going to let you go.
Ana Smith, Youngest Daughter