Michael A Cabrera
May 8, 1949 – July 31, 2018
In celebration of my father's life and final goodbye.
My father Michael Cabrera was born on May 8th 1949 in Havana Cuba to a mother and father by the name of Roberto and Fidelina Cabrera. My father was an only child in the home. (There was a half-brother older that was from a previous relationship of my grandfather's.)
My father seemed to be a very happy child. Vibrant, joyful and very loved. Noticeable through the pictures taken and family accounts.
He adored his father... the moon Rose and set with him. Unfortunately at the ripe age of 9 my father lost his dad. And this was a very tragic and traumatic loss, changing my father in many ways.
My father said he recalls the loss of his dad as one of the most painful experiences of his life...if not the most. His family reports that he changed after my grandfather's death and never was quite the same.
In his teen years my grandmother allowed for my father to be sent through the Peter Pan movement from Cuba to the US. It was also another trial in my father's life as his mother would stay behind for yet another year or so.
I don't know much about the time between then and him meeting my mom, except for that when I would ask him he said "I was someone who stayed out of trouble I didn't smoke, drink or do any drugs...really had no vices. Except for fast cars!" And I can tell you that; that is the truth he was a driver at heart... I'd like to think that I got that from him. (Thanks dad)
When my father met my mother they dated for approximately two years before their marriage. I look at the wedding pictures now and really do see how very in love they both were... it's very beautiful to see that the love once existed between them.
Five years after marriage and plenty of time together they welcomed a little girl Olivia( that would be me) and 5 years later they welcomed a little boy Christopher. And with that the family was complete.
My parents lived in New Jersey which is where I was born but by the time my mother was pregnant with my brother we moved to Tampa and that is where we have all resided ever since.
My parents marriage was not an easy one my father was a very strong bull, stubborn and bitter about life's circumstances. Not able to let go of his past so that he could rise up and live freely and with joy in the present of his life, marriage and parenthood. As a result this took a toll on all of us.
My parents divorced when I was just shy of 18 my brother 13 after 23 years of marriage... a quarter of a lifetime. This was difficult, but for me it was also a relief because there was no love in our household anymore.
The years following relationships were strained all across the board in our immediate family. It was difficult because my brother and I had wonderful memories of my father... when my father was good he was great... the best. But when he was in a bad frame of mind so was everyone else and he had become accustomed to living in that frame of mind for a very long time.
The turning point in my father's life was when he met the Lord Jesus Christ receiving his word in his heart and becoming a Christian. It changed him in a way that only our heavenly father could!
My father's coming to Jesus moment was a powerful life-changing moment. My father became lighthearted. Didn't desire to control things as much, and really did learn to just go with the flow. My brother and I's relationship with him begin to restore (as those of you who are believers know the Bible says would happen).
In time my brother and I were able to see the Dad we had always wanted. A father who in my brother's words "loved so deeply and emotionally it could sometimes feel overbearing" and I can tell you that it sometimes was. But, I tell you this...I would give anything to feel your overbearing love just one more day Dad.
My brother and I both had unique relationships with my father. After we had our children and he became a grandfather (which was one of the greatest highlights of his life by the way)we began to spend even more time with him.
About 2 years after my son's birth in 2015 my father was diagnosed with 4th stage kidney failure. It was a terrifying moment... I remember taking him to the hospital and feeling so afraid. And he said "don't be afraid...everything is going to be okay...don't cry! That was my dad he always put everyone else's feelings first.
Our father is one of the strongest, most courageous people I have ever known. Despite this debilitating disease, 3 days a week of dialysis for 3 years and lots of suffering. My dad still had the courage to smile, because that's just who my dad was. No matter what was going on in his own life he put others first.
I can tell you for me that my father was one of my best friends. He was always there for us. No matter what we needed, no matter the time, the place or circumstance he would be there because in my brother's words "he was a man of his word!" I would always say if my brother or I called my father and told him "dad we're stuck on the moon... he would say... don't worry, I will find a rocket and come and get you." And we would take comfort in that because we knew he would.
We knew that no matter what the circumstance he would not judge. That he would never be critical... perhaps disappointed.
To me that was the beauty of my dad. It was easy to be yourself around him because he loved us "Just The Way We are"! Truly and from the bottom of his heart with all of our imperfections and shortcomings he still thought the world of us.
My brother and I's children have suffered a great loss. He was a wonderful grandfather. I took Joy in watching him with my son and nephew because I saw in him what I had always wished I had seen in him as we were growing up. It is a treasure in our hearts to know that our children know what an amazing grandfather they had and that he will be with us wherever we may go.
I leave you with this beautiful saying " death leaves a heartache that no one can heal... but LOVE leaves a memory that no one can steal!!
Farewell pop...until we meet again
My father is survived by children, grandchildren, cousins, godchildren and friends. God Bless us all!
- Memorial Gathering Saturday, August 11, 2018
- Memorial Service Saturday, August 11, 2018