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
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’


  1. Marta-What a beautiful letter. We are thinking of you in PA and wish your father and family the best during this tough time. Your father is an amazing person and you are an amazing daughter. Stay strong…Sincerely, Heather & Chris

  2. Marta, I think your description of your father is so accurate and beautiful. I, like you, have wondered why Uncle Mario? There is just no answer that would ever satisfy that question. Not only is Mario an amazing father, husband, and abuelo, but also an amazing neighbor, role model, provider, and protector. He has been selfless over the years taking care of all of us on Chesney Lane. He is loved and admired by me, my mom, sister, brother and now my husband and children as well. They , like me, have enjoyed “watching him take his thumb off” and the knee tickles that make you laugh so hard it hurts.
    We too are praying for a miracle and want you to know that you are not alone in your thoughts and prayers.
    Please hug him and let him know that we are praying for and thinking of him.
    We love you Uncle Mario!
    The Hammond Family

  3. Thinking of you and the entire Acuna family during this difficult time! I have so many wonderful childhood memories that include your father!! Prayers sent.
    Lots of love,
    Shannon Schwarz

  4. Dear Marta and family
    I am extremely sorry about your father’s passing away. I knew He was so seriously ill via frequent contacts with our common friend and colleague Norman Ness. I had strong contacts with Mario in
    several space missions (Helios 1 an 2 and the Tethered Satellite two missions). Cooperating with such a competent, intelligent man in several decades in Rome was a challenging venture. He was capable to talk about physics, technical aspects of our experiments as well as human items as not many peoples does not happen to be. I remember in a vivid way his most frequent
    way to welcome me when visiting him at GSFC or at meetings worldwide: buongiorno “profesore”with a single s and an accent on the o, like this profeso`re. More pleasant welcome was not possible for me.
    I wish also mention another thing: many years ago, when you were spending a long visit in Genova,Italy, I was hit by his familiar desire
    to be assured that you were in good shape, well
    going in that environment (not necessarily too
    friendly). We had several occasions to exchange
    telephone calls.
    Let me say, Marta, I will remember Mario as a nice, very good man: in summary, one of best friends and colleagues I ever met in my long career. Will remember him in my prayers

    Ciao, a familiar kiss to you and all of your family

    Franco Mariani

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