Who is Paco?
Francisco Rodriguez Gonzalez aka Paco, my father, and soldier of my family. I never understood the Spanish abbreviation of Francisco into Paco, a bit left field, but it rings so nicely in my ears these days when I walk along Spanish streets and hear someone yell ¨Paco!¨
My father was a proud Spaniard and even more so, a proud Sevillano. He was born in the Andalucian city of Seville as we all were (my mother, my older sister and I) so that city is the heart & soul and root of our family heritage. We immigrated to Australia in the late 80s but growing up all I knew and heard was ¨there's nothing like Sevilla¨, and that became implanted into my brain, the love for our hometown.
My father was a wise man and very poetic, we would joke and call him the preacher. He left that quality with me, the ability to be good with words and tell stories. To be emotional and sensitive but hold a backbone to our personalities. He was a strong man and his woman were his pride & joy, as a little girl I would look up to him as my bodyguard and number one fan.
We did everything together. I watched my first movie at the cinemas with my dad and my best friend (Pocahontas), and before it began, he took us to Toys r Us and bought us each a little lip gloss kit! Just a bit cute. Then my friend would sleep over, and we were greeted early in the morning to breakfast in bed. In fact, my friends loved staying over for that very reason and still to this day a friend of mine reminds me of his morning trips to make sure we awoke with an excellent breakfast!
He was a lover of all animals. Day trips to the city or shopping centers made my mum nervous because she didn't know if we would come home with another pet. True story. We would often surprise her with birds, guinea pigs and one of my favourites pet mice! I remember one time we visited a pet shop in the city center of Melbourne and I fell in love with a female mouse which I named Minnie (how original). At that time my father had an overgrown, Santa looking, long beard. We were playing with Minnie and just to be funny my dad put her on his head, but Minnie made her way down to his beard where she got stuck. It was an eventful 10 minutes trying to get her out without pulling at her fragile limbs.
He was a bit of a clown and very playful.
My dreams were his dreams. As a little girl, I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. I remember one day standing at a bar in Spain at the age of 8 telling him what my future aspirations were and he would say to me ¨we are going to do it!¨. Or the time when I wanted to become a singer (what the? seriously!) and I was sad because I knew I needed lessons that we couldn't afford, but he sat with me on my bed and said ¨lets figure this out¨and suggested we look for cheap or free classes around the way.
Every girl needs her daddy.
His sister passed away in 2001 and he would write poems to her because he was hurting because he wanted to reach out to her. I trust spiritual people. There is something so real about a person that can explore their emotions. It broke my heart when I came across one of his poems but now I remember his poetry with joy. When I look through my memory box I come across a lot of poems I wrote in high school and a few which were published in the school newsletter. We were one and the same.
I will always remember him as the human being who affected me the most. I´m obsessed with his memory and that I was lucky enough to have a father I can be proud of. He still lives through me. I honour his memory by living out life experiences he can no longer enjoy himself. I now live in Spain knowing he would have loved to as well. I visit the Jesus he worshipped in Seville and pray for him. I enjoy Spanish gastronomy as he taught me to. I pat my cat and tell her how much Paco would have loved meeting her.
Maybe we don´t lose loved ones if we learn how to live with them through our memories.