The first time that war threatened Honorio's life was when he was a young boy in the Philippines experiencing the devastation of WWII. His mother gathered up her twelve children and fled with them into the jungle to escape the Japanese invasion. In 1953 at the age of 22, Honorio had the opportunity to become an American soldier by joining the US Navy which allowed him to bring his young family to America where I was born.
My earliest childhood memory of my father was in 1968 when he lovingly held me in his arms with tears running down his face because he was being deployed and leaving for Vietnam. The pain of abandonment began to close the door of my 6-year-old heart. When he came back home, he was a stranger to me. He spent most of his time when he was not at work isolated in our garage not engaging with us. He was a quiet man and very strict with all of us. I never really knew him, and I never had a conversation with him until the final days of his life.
Often through the years of frustration and bitterness I would raise my fists at God yelling “When are you going to change him?!!” Both of us were casualties of war and the invisible wounds were destroying our hearts.
It would be 45 years later when the door to my father's heart began to open after he had developed Parkinson's disease. One morning he made us two cups of coffee and he told me about his deepest fears and revealed his tormenting dreams. That is when my heart began to change with compassion for him. I spent the next three years helping my mother care for him and I found myself falling in love with this man that I never knew. Eventually I cried out “God, I want him to die with HONOR! I want him to die with DIGNITY! I want him to die like a KING.” At my dad's funeral, I gave a loving eulogy to a Veteran that finished well. My father taught me that the greatest enemy isn't war itself, but the war that rages in the heart. As tears ran down my face, I knew that the power of FORGIVENESS is what sets prisoners free. I was finally set free and so was he.
Our healing began with something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee. So, I honor you Dad you lived up to the meaning of your name HONORIO, just as grandma had wanted. Now we have a dream in our hearts to see every soldier healed from the cruelties of war. May Veterans all over the world be healed one cup at a time through the power of a loving conversation.
Love, your daughter Monica and son-in-law Kelly, the BRAVEHEARTED Veteran who asked me to marry him. Co-founders of Braveheart Mountain Coffee.