My Dad, Ronald Joseph Hormachea, is quite the character. He is a decorated war hero: He went to Vietnam twice, receiving a bronze star, silver star, and purple heart. He is a gambler: He has won and lost a million dollars gambling and peddling cars in Las Vegas for 10 years. When I was 10, he even won me a horse in a card game, that then got sold within a few months. He is a stroke survivor, and lives with a 30% Ejection Fraction. He walks at least a mile a day. He still lives on his own. He is a Republican.
My Dad and I are a lot alike. We are so very different. We will never vote for the same candidate in any election, but we both believe in family and the sanctity in those bonds.
My Dad suffered a lot in my youth from health problems and post traumatic stress disorder from his experiences in Vietnam. He had his first heart attack at age 30, and suffered a stroke at age 56. He has struggled with depression and bipolar disorder. Like all parents, he struggled with the responsibilities of being a father. He was bewildered and pissed off at his divorce, has often felt scorned by his kids, and the relationship he and I share has more downs than ups. After his stroke 7 years ago, he moved to San Francisco and he worked diligently to rehab himself, but the liberal climate of San Francisco never felt right to Dad. He struggled with having an alternative thinking daughter and living amongst so many "democrats." He and I worked hard on developing healthy boundaries and though there were many struggles, I think we were able to rehab our relationship, as well as his body and mind.
Dad recently returned to San Francisco, after leaving for Texas for a few months. He also recently was awarded a fair amount of money for Agent Orange poisoning from his time in Vietnam. The accolades from the government about the job he did for his country so many years ago has been great for Dad's spirit. He is excited about life and proud of his achievements. He is open to developing new relationships with his son and grandson. He met his grandson for the first time in four years on Saturday, and met with his son for the first time in four years.
My Dad is a Vet, first and foremost. My Dad fought hard in the name of the United States. My Dad was ridiculed for being a soldier upon his return, and he never quite understood the other sides of that awful and unfair conflict. My Dad has lived in a poisoned body since his return from Vietnam, and it is a miracle he is even alive today.
As crazy and manic as Dad can be sometimes, I am lucky to have in my life. I have four close friends who have lost their parents, and I realize that their void is worse than my craziness in all ways. I will cherish the gift of spending time with my Dad and show him the respect that all Veterans deserve. And maybe he will loan me the late-life crisis Beemer he just bought. Love you, Dad!
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