(dedicated to my father, Igor)
You passed away October 19th, 2018, and not a moment goes by in which I don’t think about you, reflecting on the life you lived and commemorating your spirit. Perhaps the quality I admired most in you was how you never took yourself too seriously, something from which we can all learn. In the stress of evacuating our home and away from the many hurricanes of yesteryear, you would somehow find a way to crack jokes and lighten the atmosphere. At my many youth soccer tournaments, you would get down on the grass and play with every single dog you encountered on the sidelines, asking somewhat bewildered Chihuahua owners if they had a license for their “vicious animals.” When I was stressed out in vet school studying for finals, you would answer my late-night phone calls and find ways to make me laugh. You knew the value of pure fun; you’re being exuded it to the highest degree.
Since you’ve been away, life has been such a whirlwind. There have been a lot of crazy things going on, the COVID-19 pandemic, and nationwide protests to name a few. Throughout this whole time, I’m grateful to have been able to continue to work, seeing puppies galore, countless cats, and even a hedgehog (ежик, your favorite animal). I’ve grappled with grief, stayed in touch with friends, checked in to see how they are adjusting to the new normal, and even got married to the love of my life. And you have been with me every step of the way. Thank you, Rogi, for doing all that you do for me. As our relationship evolves, I hope to make you proud and live with gratitude for all that you have given and continue to give to me.