Summer in the Waiting Room: Faith • Hope • Love
Chapter 10: Rocky Road to Redemption
I committed to putting all that energy into spending time with my family and building a career as a corporate executive. As it turned out, I spent more time chasing the elusive concept of success than I did enjoying my family. I wanted to be a good husband and father, and I loved being with Sandra and the girls. I made sure that I was home for dinner every night I was in town and available for as many school and family events as possible.
For several years, I coached Erica’s Little League teams. It wasn’t unusual to hear the kids shout, “Coach García is wearing a suit again.” Those were days when I ran out right after practice to be on time for an evening event or business dinner. Despite efforts to be a fully engaged father, my professional ambitions took the lion’s share of my time.
I began working for a major American corporation with countless opportunities for those who wanted to get ahead. During a tour of Comcast facilities in San Jose, the new senior vice president for the California region stepped into my sparse office and asked about my background, family, and plans for the future. I filled him in with the basics about Sandra and the girls and boldly proclaimed that I wanted to be a vice president someday soon. I became familiar to executives at corporate headquarters as a valued representative of the company, especially with Latino political organizations. Before long, I was in Los Angeles; Washington, DC; Dallas; Santa Fe; and San Juan, Puerto Rico, representing Comcast at national meetings of Latino public policy makers.
In March 2003, my sister Patty, just forty-nine years old, suddenly died from myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle caused by an infection from a virus. My mind swirled, trying to find answers in the confusion. Patty had been in great shape; she ate well, rarely stressed about anything, yet she died of a bad heart. A few days later, I was given the honor of speaking at her memorial service.
At just thirty-nine years old, I intensified my self-imposed urgency to achieve redemption. Upon returning to the office, I immediately put all my energy into working harder than ever before. A few months later, the senior VP in California informed me that I had been selected, at his recommendation, to participate in the exclusive Comcast Executive Leadership Forum. The Executive Leadership Forum was by invitation only. Word on the Comcast street was that those who completed the program were soon sitting in executive chairs. I was excited about starting the program and moving forward after the stunning death of my sister.
Just as my professional prospects were looking up, my personal life took another downturn. In December, Mom suddenly died of sepsis, a blood infection related to her years-long battle with kidney failure. Once again, I found myself at a podium delivering a eulogy. I was devastated. Patty’s sudden death was startling and compelled me to think about my health. Mom’s passing was crippling and forced me to think about life without my first love and emotional anchor. She had been the glue that kept everything together. Her unconditional love kept me afloat during the darkest of times. I was sad, scared, and not sure how I would get through the tough times that were sure to come.
Summer in the Waiting Room will be available in paperback and on Kindle June 7, 2022. Kindle users can pre-order a copy today: https://www.amazon.com/Summer-Waiting-Room-Faith-Hope-ebook/dp/B09ZFC5HFX