Posted by: Andy | March 5, 2012

Mario H. Acuna Memorial Fund Charity Event

As we remember a great husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, colleague and friend today let’s remember my dad’s passion for education – and for having fun! As many of you know we set up an endowment at Catholic University in my father’s name to provide scholarships to Latin American students majoring in the sciences. The fund is almost fully endowed and to send us over the top and to honor the incredible person that my father was we are planning on holding a charity fund-raising event sometime in the next 6-9 months (save the date!). Details are still being worked out, but we are planning an event that will engage all ages and provide a fun and EDUCATIONAL experience. Dad wouldn’t want it any other way!

We love and miss you dad!

Andy

Posted by: Dan | March 5, 2012

Remembering My Dad Today!

Three years have passed and I would love to say that the pain of losing my Dad has passed as well. I would love to say that, but I can’t. He is as much on my mind today, as he ever was when he was alive. 

I found a few poems today as I was searching around the Internet that I wanted to share in the hope of raising not only my own spirit, but that of those who also loved my father so much and miss him terribly each and every day.

IN MEMORY OF MARIO

God saw you getting tired and a cure was not to be.

So He put His arms around you and whispered “come to me.”

With tearful eyes we watched you, and saw you pass away.  

Although we loved you dearly, we could not make you stay.  

A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands at rest.

God broke our hearts to prove to us,

He only takes the best.

 

WE REMEMBER YOU

At the rising of the sun and at its going down, We remember you.

At the blowing of the wind and the chill of winter, We remember you.

At the opening of the buds and in the rebirth of spring, We remember you.

At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer, We remember you.

At the rustling of the leaves and in the beauty of autumn, We remember you.

At the beginning of the year and when it ends, We remember you.

As long as we live, you too will live; for you are now a part of us, as we remember you.

When we are weary and in need of strength, We remember you.

When we are lost and sick at heart, We remember you.

When we have joy we crave to share, We remember you..

When we have decisions that are difficult to make, We remember you.

When we have achievements that are based on yours, We remember you.

As long as we live, you too will live; for you are now a part of us, as we remember you.

 

LONGING FOR ONE MORE DAY

When we lose someone we love it seems that time stands still. What moves through us is a silence… a quiet sadness… A longing for one more day… one more word… one more touch… We may not understand why you left this earth so soon, or why you left before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget. We will see you again some day, in a heavenly place where there is no parting. A place where there are no words that mean good-bye.

 

LOVING AND REMEMBERING YOU ALWAYS DAD, ESPECIALLY TODAY!

YOUR SON, DAN

P.S. Angela and I are still looking for a name for baby girl #3, so if you have any ideas, please send them my way! :)

Posted by: Andy | August 5, 2011

Go Juno!

Today, the Juno spacecraft launched on a five year mission to Jupiter. Our father was a co-investigator on the project and helped design and construct the magnetometers that flew on the satellite. Many family members were present to watch the launch at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. I am positive dad watched it too. His legacy lives on, the spirit of exploration he exemplified will be with us always – and continue for all humanity. Our thoughts and hearts soared with you today dad. Godspeed.

Posted by: Andy | March 6, 2011

A Special Request from the Acuna Family

Fall 2006 – My father showed his lighthearted side by playing in the leaves with us. I recall he kept on raking the pile higher

and higher and we would throw the dogs in the middle of it (it was pre-kids).  He was like a little boy again, full of life and taking

time out of his endless weekend chores to enjoy the  moment with us and stir things up.  I cherish each of these memories of my father.

For all that still receive this blog, I have a  favor to ask to help me in my effort to create a memory book about my father. I am hoping

to capture the essence of my father in words from those who knew him best and one day pass this along to our children, so they know

just how amazing he was.   

So, please share your favorite Mario memory, story, quote, or any reflection of how he touched your life.  You can post it here as a comment or email me directly at

marta.aebischer@teutoniausa.com  

Thank you for your continued support and love.  

Marta & the Acuna Family

Posted by: Andy | March 5, 2011

2 Years Gone but Never Forgotten

Dad, 2 years ago almost to the hour, you were taken from us way too early. 

We miss you tremendously,  but you continue to live on within us and our children and

remain in our hearts.

I found this poem and wanted to dedicate it to you:

Mario Acuña

“God’s Garden”

God looked around His garden and He found an empty place.

He then looked down upon this earth and saw your tired face.

He put His arms around you, And lifted your to rest.

God’s garden must be beautiful, He always takes the best. He knew

That you were suffering, he knew you were in pain. He knew that

You would never Get well on earth again.

He saw the road was getting rough and the hills were hard to climb.

So he closed your weary eyelids, and whispered “Peace be Thine”

It broke our hearts to lose you, But you didn’t go alone. For part of

Us went with you the day God called you home.

You left us beautiful memories, Your love is still our guide. And though we cannot

See you, You are always by our side.

Our family chain is broken, And nothing is the same, But as God calls

Us one by one, our Chain will link again.

We love and remember you always,  Your “Martita”

Posted by: Dan | March 4, 2010

One Year Later

Dear Dad,

One year ago today, while your pain was ending, ours was just beginning. The world we knew came crashing down and broke into a million pieces, and we have been trying to pick up those pieces ever since. You were everything to us and to me and since you have been gone, words cannot begin to describe my longing to see you again and talk to you again. I know that is impossible now, in this life, but I know it will be possible in the next life. The other day I had a dream about you, that you just walked in the door one day in Bowie, healthy as an ox, and it was like Jesus himself walked in. I fell to my knees and cried tears of joy to see you. Then morning came and I woke up and realized it was just a dream and the tears of joy turned into tears of sorrow. I know you said not be sad for you and to go on living our lives, but I cannot help thinking about you and wondering how you are and if you are proud of me and the life I have created. I hope you are proud and I hope you do watch over me, and Angela and Emily and Reese.

One year ago, I tried to get up in front of our family and friends and say what a great man and father you were to me and to our family, and I do not think I did a very good job. I guess the emotions of the moment got the better of me and I probably came off as more sad than appreciative. Now, that a year has passed and I have had some time to reflect and to heal, I would like to have another chance to do so.

You were the greatest man I have ever known and  the most brilliant person I have ever met. I say that not just because you were my father, but also because of the love and respect I have for you and the life you created for yourself and lived every day of your 68 years. Sometimes I’ll catch myself doing nothing, just wasting another day away and I tell myself, “No, this is not what Dad would have wanted of me. This is not why he sacrificed and worked so hard for, to see me just wasting another moment away.” So, I get up and do something, anything, just like you always did. Your life inspired me while you were alive and continues to inspire me today, one year after your death. You are always, and I do mean always on my mind. I still ask myself, “what would Dad do?” I still have your picture hanging in my cubicle at work, always watching over me and pushing me in the right direction. I still read the blog messages and look at Andrew’s eulogy almost on a monthly basis and I remember you and your life and I think about my legacy and how I would want people to remember me by. I strive to come close to the life you lived and while I may be far off from it now, or may never reach it, I still go forward, learning every day what it means to be a better professional, a better father and husband, and a better friend.

I know you will never be back to see me, other than in my dreams, and my heart breaks because of it. I can’t hug you or talk to you or tell you about my day or what I learned or saw or felt. You can’t hold Reese and see how great she is and you can’t sit with Emily and tell her about the starts and the planets you studied for so long. She asks about you all the time and I truly believes wonders where you are and hopes that you are happy.

A year has passed. Holidays, Birthdays, births, Anniversaries, all have come and gone, and no matter how joyous they might be, there is always a part of me that is thinking of you and I become sad that you are not here to share it with us. At Christmas, you were not in the back room, on the computer, printing pictures or making last minutes Christmas cards for Mom and us. When Reese was born, you were not at the hospital to hold her for the first time and see how beatiful she is. You were the glue that held this family together and now that you are gone, and we are all on our own, so to speak, life just seems that much more hard now.

I miss you, Dad, very much. More than I have missed anyone in my entire life. I wasn’t ready to lose you at such a young age and I still have trouble believing that you are not just at work or at the house in Bowie. When I have a problem, I can’t call you to fix it or tell me how to fix it. When something is wrong with the car, I am at the mercy of a mechanic insetad of on the phone with you trying to figure out what is wrong with it.

I try to be strong, but have come to realize that my life will never be the same now that you are no longer in it. Part of me died right along with you on March 5, 2009, and nothing I do or say could ever revive it.

I miss you terribly, Dad. This year, next year, ten years  from now, I will miss you like I do now.

Until we meet again…

Sincerely,

Your Son,

Dan

Posted by: Andy | December 24, 2009

What I’ll Miss Most This Christmas

What I’ll miss most this Christmas:

  • Having you take my picture in front of the tree or the fireplace with the family - or hanging my stocking. An annual tradition!
  • Helping you pick out the biggest, fattest REAL Christmas tree we could find.
  • Putting my shoes outside of my bedroom door for Santa to fill – then waiting patiently in the middle of the night to hear the distinct sound of a present being placed in them. And yes, I knew it was you.
  • Quietly placing my ear to the door to hear you downstairs trying to put together “Requires Assembly” items.
  • Trying to wake you and mom up so we could go downstairs - then once downstairs hearing you say “Santa was here!”
  • Having you come in my room to tell me that they spotted Santa on the radar. I totally bought it.
  • The Atari, Intellivision and the amazing Casio keyboard. Still the best gifts ever.
  • Also that car thing you gave us that you had to push. All the other kids had Big Wheels and Cheetahs. We had that car thing.
  • Helping you hang the Christmas lights on the outside of the house. Somehow you got every string to work year after year.
  • John Denver’s Rocky Mountain Christmas.
  • Classical Christmas music softly played through your stereo on Christmas Eve. I still listen to it every year.
  • Your practical gifts - extension cords, light bulbs, flashlights, batteries, CDs, DVDs - their usefulness outlasting any other present.
  • Your quiet contentment in watching everyone else have fun on Christmas morning.
  • Waiting for you to light the Kerosene heater so we wouldn’t freeze in the addition – and of course the smell!
  • Your photographic and computer skills. Everyone had a CD full of pictures, a DVD video and color prints to take home less than 1 hour after opening gifts.
  • Shopping for that one electronic gadget, gizmo, tool or flashlight that you didn’t already have. It didn’t exist.
  • Also shopping for that one brain-teaser or puzzle that you couldn’t solve. Didn’t exist either.
  • The call to Argentina on Christmas day. Even though I didn’t speak Spanish you would always make me talk to the relatives – and I’m glad I did.
  • Mom always getting you clothes – in the wrong size.
  • The velour shirts you loved.
  • The secret missions you sent us on to retrieve that big surprise present from the car or van.
  • Your complaints about how spoiled we were as kids after getting too many gifts. We were. Thank you for that.
  • Your standard response to the question “Dad, what do you want for Christmas this year?”  – Peace. I never understood why you said that. I do now.
  • You giving us the ways and means to always have Christmas together as a family.

Most of all dad, the thing I’ll miss the most this Christmas is you. It just won’t be the same. Merry Christmas!

Posted by: Andy | April 15, 2009

A Masterful Sign

This past weekend a virtual unknown golfer won the Masters Tournament – the most surprising champion in its history…

He shot 276 over 4 days in regulation – for an average score of 69
The modern Masters Tournament started in 1940 – 69 years ago
The winner was born on Sep. 12, 1969
He was the lowest ranked golfer ever to win the Masters – his world rank: 69
He was from Argentina – the first Argentine ever to win the Masters
He was from Cordoba

Dad was from Cordoba, Argentina. He would have been 69 years old.

Oh – the golfers name? Angel

We miss you dad!

Posted by: Barbara | March 26, 2009

Our Hero

It is very difficult to find the words to express our gratitude to everyone who supported our family during this difficult time. I was finally able to read the blog recently and was so comforted by all the wonderful reflections about the life of my husband, Mario. We knew him in a different light….as a husband, father and grandfather. Mario was a very humble man and seldom spoke of his accomplishments. We only knew that he received many awards, which usually ended up somewhere in his stacks of papers. He appreciated every award but was not one to boast or hang them up for others to see. I attended some professional meetings with him and heard many accolades about his contributions. The family traveled to quite a few launches at the Cape and witnessed  the fruits of his labor.

Mario loved what he did….it wasn’t a “job” but an “adventure”. He would come home from work, eat dinner and retire to his back room where he continued on with this “adventure”. Our family learned a lot about Mario that we weren’t aware of through your reflections on the blog and your wonderful cards.

We will miss him dearly. He was our godfather and the cement that held our family together. He always had time to fix whatever needed repair, to give advice and was always there whenever we needed him for anything. The best gift of all was the college education that he gave to each of his children. He felt very strongly about education and had set up funds to help educate the grandchildren.

I always wanted to retire to Ocean Pines where we had a beach house. But, in the back of my mind, I knew that Mario would never leave Goddard and his career that he loved. However, we were able to spend  many wonderful family weekends there.   Mario designed and loved this house and relaxed and enjoyed himself whenever he was there. One of his favorite things to do was to fill the bird feeders and watch the birds through his binoculars.

The family is trying to get on with their lives…..Mario would have wanted it that way. To all his friends, c0-workers and family I cannot adequately express my feelings, except to say that our family will be forever grateful to each and every one of you for your support, kind words and generosity. Mario will always be our hero and remain forever in our hearts. God bless you ALL……

Posted by: Andy | March 23, 2009

Acuna Family Thanks

Hello Friends & Family,

We want to use this blog to thank all of you for showing such amazing support and love towards our family as we deal with the loss of my father. It truly makes a difference. We have thoroughly enjoyed reading all of your cards/emails, Mario stories on the blog and appreciate the ‘check-in’ phone calls. And we have probably gained 5 lbs each from the delicious meals sent to us. The support is truly appreciated and we thank each of you for reaching out and being there for us.

Everyone says the hard part is still ahead of us as we try to get back to somewhat of a routine in daily life and they are right. Barbara is busy with lots of paperwork and getting the house organized (you should see my Dad’s back room and he saved EVERYTHING!) Andy, James, Marta & Dan have started work again and the grandkids are back to school so that is keeping us all busy. So there is plenty to keep us moving forward but I have to admit we all miss my father dearly and intend on keeping his spirit alive. There is not an hour that passes that we don’t think about him and I hope that never changes.

As a family we plan on having yearly event(s) to raise money for his scholarship fund at Catholic University and stay connected with all of you through this blog. We would like to stay in touch with his co-workers at NASA monitoring the progess of the missions for which he was in the process of building instruments. We plan on going to the JUNO launch in 2011 to honor his contributions to the mission and make sure the grandkids get to experience what we did growing up. There’s nothing like a NASA rocket launch to a 5 year old – that is something you never forget!

We have also kept in touch with our Argentine relatives thanks to SKYPE techonology where we can actually talk face to face over the internet (amazing technology) seeing our many cousins, their children, uncle, aunts, etc.. Dad would be so proud that the Argentine connection remains in tact since he was the primary link in the past. They sent us a great article that was published in the national Argentine paper ‘La Nacion’:

http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1107169

Also another article was featured in the Washington Post about his life:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/14/AR2009031401703.html

This past Saturday, March 21st was my father’s 69th birthday so say a little prayer to him so we all keep his memory and spirit alive.

Thanks again for everything.

Warmest Regards,
Marta & The Acuña Family

Posted by: Andy | March 12, 2009

Remembrance, from your son Andrew

On behalf of the entire Acuña family, we would like to thank each and every person who has supported us through this trying time. Through your encouragement and prayers we are buoyed to remain strong in the face of an overwhelming challenge. We are truly humbled by your continual display of love, compassion and kindness.

If you look up at the sky at night as my father Mario often did, sometimes you’ll notice stars that aren’t like the others. In a universe full of trillions of stars, some just shine brighter than the rest. They seem to glow – to shimmer – to pull in light from all around them. The largest and brightest of these stars actually die before all of the others – they just burn too fast for the universe to hold them.  In the end they sacrifice all the parts that made them whole so that other stars can be born from their passing.   

My father’s star certainly burned fast and shone bright – a steadfast and tireless worker in every regard, never failing to give his entire measure of devotion to every pursuit. He exemplified what it means to be a husband, father, abuelo, colleague, mentor, friend and hero.  He personified class, integrity, ethicism – with a rare and quiet pride for the myriad contributions he made to humanity itself. His love for science and discovery was surpassed only by the love for his family – and surpassed by a mile. My father used to travel a lot for work, sometimes being gone for weeks at a time. As kids we used to joke that he must have another family somewhere. Throughout his illness we found out he indeed did – and that family is all of you.  Forever willing to help those in need, my father’s selflessness endeared him to countless people – always the repairman, the teacher, the sage, the strong-shouldered hulk to stand on.

How does one give appropriate thanks to the person that gave you life – in every sense of the word? How do you repay such generosity and unconditional love and support? If you had asked me 6 years ago I might not have known the answer – but unknown to me at the time it lie inside of me, hidden and waiting, instilled in me by the man who taught me most everything I know. When my son Nathan was born the question was all at once answered – as natural to me as breathing. My father never wanted to be thanked or repaid. What he wanted from me – and from everyone – was to quietly lead by example as he did – to sacrifice as those that came before him did so that others may get their rightful chance to be great.

What my father never spoke of but in retrospect clearly communicated was a roadmap for raising my children and for appreciating and respecting the honor of having a family to love. The life lessons he imparted should serve as an example to us all. My father’s most important legacy is the education he provided for his children and grandchildren. In the book of Proverbs there is a passage that reads, “a good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children”. A couple of years ago, in his own quiet and unassuming way as always, my father mentioned to me he had set up a college fund for the grandkids so that they too could experience the value that an education brings – how it pays itself forward forever. What our dad ultimately did for all of us is his greatest gift. It was not providing us the answer to every question – it was giving us the ability to answer those questions ourselves. He taught us that the most important gift you can give someone is to teach them how to learn.

What better homage to pay to my father than to challenge oneself to carry his message forward, to show others that morality, benevolence and respect for your fellow man are not obtuse concepts? He asked a lot of himself and in turn hopes we might ask ourselves the same – not for recognitions sake – but for the simple reason that lending yourself to others in need is always the right thing to do. He will live on through each and every one of us. Do not take that responsibility lightly.

I remember as a child in the summer of 1977 my dad took the family down to Cocoa Beach, Florida for the launch of the Voyager 1 spacecraft for which he helped build the magnetometers. We all watched out over the ocean as the rocket lifted off and began its journey into space. In a sense, we were watching a metaphor for my father’s life and passing – a brilliant and powerful symbol of hard work, dedication, pioneering and imagination ascending into the heavens, quickly leaving our sight but still ever present in our minds and hearts – continuing on its journey silent and unseen, its voyage of discovery shared with all, its influence on the space that it held, the space that it passes, powerfully felt – continuing on, forever.

I ask that you not mourn my father’s passing, but instead celebrate the life that he led. As stoic and serious as he sometimes appeared, within him there lived an inner child that never stopped laughing, playing, looking up at the stars and wondering. He loved to have fun and to experience life. Right now I’m sure he’s showing God his world famous detachable thumb trick or maybe taking in a game of cards, dancing a tango or holding those around him spellbound with enthralling tales of planetary magnetism and space plasmas.

As a scientist, my father’s main job has always been to question, to deal with the empirical – but what should give us all comfort is that which was never in question – his faith in God. He quietly served the Lord and showed us His ways and for that we became closer as a family even in death. We are truly grateful that we could share in his final days together. What an incredible gift given to us by God that our father passed on in comfort and surrounded by those he loved.

He faced his illness and death as he lived his life – a man of strength, integrity, unfailing determination, a fighter to the end; with such an appreciation for the life he was afforded. He told us not to be sad for him and to go on living our lives as he had prepared us to do. “I’ve had my time”, he said. “I’ve done everything I wanted to do. Now it’s your time”.  In his final days when he had lost his capacity for speech and was unresponsive my sister and I were holding vigil over him when he suddenly opened his eyes and raised both hands for us to hold. Struggling to talk he managed the word “frame”.  “You want a frame dad?” I asked. “You mean a picture?” He shook his head yes. “A picture of what?” I inquired.  Pausing to gather the strength he would need to utter the last word he would ever speak on this Earth he turned to me and said, “Family”. A more appropriate last word has never been spoken.

May God bless and keep you dad. We love you.

Posted by: Andy | March 5, 2009

A Brilliant Light Extinguished

Early this morning our beloved father passed away, in comfort and surrounded by his loving family. He will be dearly missed. We love you dad!

Arrangements

Visitation
Date: Monday, March 9
Times: 2 – 4 PM, 6 – 9 PM (Memorial Tribute at 8 PM)
Place: Robert E. Evans Funeral Home
16000 Annapolis Rd., Bowie, MD
Phone: 301-464-8836

A Memorial Tribute will be held during the visitation at 8PM at which you can share your thoughts and memories of Mario.

Funeral Mass
Date: Tuesday, March 10
Time: 11 AM
Place: Sacred Heart Catholic Church
16501 Annapolis Rd, Bowie, MD
Phone: 301-262-0704

Repast to be held in Carroll Hall following mass.

Interment
Private

In Lieu of Flowers

Mario H. Acuña Memorial Fund

Contributions may be sent to the Mario H. Acuña Memorial Fund at The Catholic University of America:

The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Avenue, NE
Aquinas Hall, Room 106
Washington, DC  20064

(Checks should be made payable to The Catholic University of America and should reference the Acuña Fund on the memo line)

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation
383 Main Avenue, 5th floor
Norwalk, CT 06851

(Checks should be made payable to “MMRF”)

Posted by: Dan | March 4, 2009

To A Great Man, From Your Son

As I sit here and watch my father disappear before my very eyes, my heart feels a pain like none I have ever felt before, for my Dad, my hero, is slowly fading away, leaving only a shell of the great man I once knew. I try not to cry, I try to be strong, but that is a futile task, for the love I have for my father is too great to be constrained by pain and sorrow. The tears must flow and the anger must come against this terrible cancer that is taking his life. I really cannot stand to see him this way. It just breaks my heart to see such a great man coming to such a tragic end.

My dad truly was a great man and I will always remember him that way. I will always remember him as a teacher, a friend, an educator, a confidant, a repairman :), and an amazing parent. He stressed in me from an early age, the value of education, but at the same time, to take time for friends and family, and just to have fun. He knew we all needed a little bit of both to succeed in this world and he definitely led by example. He loved his job at NASA and had a never-ending thirst for knowledge and truth. But, at the same time, he made sure we were all loved and taken care of. He made sure to challenge us to think; about the world, about politics, about science, about anything really. As long as we were thinking and pushing ourselves forward, I believe my Dad was happy.

Personally, he pushed me to be better than I thought I could be. He pushed me to get good grades all throughout my life, get into a good college and then start a good life for my family and myself. He used to tell me to choose a career I could see myself doing for the next 30 years, and to this day, that is something I ask myself every day (what would Dad do). What choice would he make in this situation? Now, I may have disappointed him from time to time, and of course we had our disagreements, but I hope he knew that I tried my best to find my place in this world and to represent him and the last name he gave me to the best of my ability. I hope he was proud of me. I hope he was proud of the life I have built for myself thus far.

Very few people get to live the life they dream of, but my father lived his dream every day of his life. He chased his dreams all the way from Argentina to the U.S., and in the process, created an unbelievable life for not only himself, but also for those he loved.

I hope to be exactly like my father and to earn the respect and love I have seen that EVERYONE has for him.

Dad, I will miss you terribly, but I take solace in the fact that you will be with God and feel no more pain or sorrow. You will be at peace.

I know we will see each other again, of this I am sure. So, as they say in Argentina, “Hasta Pronto” (“See you soon”).

Love, Always,

Your son,
Dan

P.S. Do not worry about Emily or the new baby, they will be fine. I will make sure they are brought up in the Mario way. I know you will look down on them and protect them, always.

Posted by: Andy | March 3, 2009

The Ultimate Sacrifice

While I sit in the cold and chilly air and recall famous or not so famous stories of those people who sacrificed everything for some greater good, such as a cop killed in the line of duty, a firefighter battling some blaze, or a soldier killed on some distant battlefield, I am reminded that other people also have given the Ultimate Sacrifice.   My father, as he sleeps and the fight for his life concludes, is my hero who will give the ultimate sacrifice.   It is he who has sacrificed for his countries (yes there are two), his profession, and most importantly his family.   While others wished to be recognized with awards or money, my father being that simple person, only wished that to provide support for his family.   He never asked for praise for his accomplishments or acknowledgment for this support.  

No one could imagine some 46 years ago, when my father came to this country, that my father would sacrifice his own well being for his wife and four children and 5 plus grandchildren.  It is his relentless pursuit of science, space, and the need for knowledge that provided so, so much for his family.  For me personally it was the nightly (and I mean nightly) discussions of everything from Archeology to zoo plankton.  It was his never ending struggle to put me on the right track.  It was his persistence that I achieve the most I could in my life.  It was he who provided the brightly burning light that I tried to follow my entire life.

My father, Mario, in conjunction with my loving mother could not have been better role models for me.  While I have developed a thick skin over the years because of my life decisions, I will always remember, respect, and honor my father.   I know my father’s faith will always be with him and in that end, he will always be comforted.  

While I can not show it sometimes, my role model, my provider, my life line, my father will always be missed in my life.  Dad I am sorry if I let you down sometimes.  I am sorry for my stubbornness.  I am sorry that I could not always tell you what I was feeling. I am sorry that sometimes we were far apart. 

I know you sacrficied for me. I owe everthing to you.  I will miss you dearly.

Love

James

“Sacrificing your happiness for the happiness of the one you love, is by far, the truest type of love.”

Posted by: Andy | March 2, 2009

Daughter’s Love

Friends & Family,
 
We want to thank all of you for the love and support you have shown our family over the last couple weeks. It truly makes a difference to hear from all of you which we relay to my father and provides a true source of comfort and strength during this extremely difficult time. It is so touching to see just what an impact he has had on so many of you.
 
I thought I would share a  a personal  letter I wrote to him a couple nights ago as a tribute to the person he is and the valiant fight he continues to fight.   
 
Please keep up the support and prayers! 
 
Marta & the Acuna Family
 
***************************************************************************************************************************************
Dad,
As I sit here and watch over you during the night, I wonder why this is all happening to such an amazing man, my father?
A man who is larger than life and an incredible force in all of our lives. A man who has been my role model and inspiration ever since I can remember.  You have guided my every step (and ocassional missteps) and have gone to incredible lengths to make sure we follow the right path in life. I can’t remember a time I brought you a problem you couldn’t solve or offer advice on pretty much every subject from solving an advanced calculus problem to fixing my leaky faucet to how to be a great parent to my children. You truly are my super-hero, my favorite rocket scientist and simply the best dad in the entire universe.
 
So I feel completely helpless as I watch this disease taking you away from us and try to disable your powers. I am angry that this cancer chose you. We are all so full of sadness and anger and try to find a reason why this happening. All of us, that is, but you. So once again you remain so strong and stoic telling us just the other day “it’s just part of life” and saying you will live on through each of us and the grandchildren.  Showing your innate selflessness, the only real concerns you have are taking care of mom and making sure the grandchildren get a good education. Provide for them as you did for us which is no small feat .
 
In the wake of this incredible pain and sadness, I cling to hope that a miracle can bring you back to your old self ready to fight this battle again.  I realize the doctors have given us little hope but I look to the higher powers and the prayers of everyone who loves you to keep you with us. Through this entire battle, you have fought the myeloma ‘Super Mario’ style not letting it get in the way of the things you love most – your family and your dedication to your career at NASA.  Now you owe it to Mom to at least retire and enjoy some time off!  And I want your grandkids to see first hand just how amazing their abuelo really is!
 
We have NOT given up on you Dad. We love and need you, so hang in there and fight!
 
Love,  Your ‘Martita’

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