Last year, Briana Goldman, 8, attended the Cooper City father-daughter dance with her adoptive dad. This year, it would have been her 7-year-old sister Lara’s turn to have her night with daddy.
But Robert “Bob” Goldman, 56, a non-smoker, passed away of lung cancer on Sept. 9, two months shy of enjoying the dance at Cooper City Elementary with his second-grade daughter.
The girls’ grandfather took both of them to the dance.
“I must confess I might have been the only grandfather there,’’ said Zachary Goldman, Robert’s father. “But it was grand. It was a really grand time.’’
Nonetheless, it has been hard for the girls.
“My girls still cry every day for daddy. Lara was crying and she said to me, ‘Last year we couldn’t go and this year we can’t do it — I don’t have a father now,’ ” said Rosario “Charo” Goldman, 57, who, with her husband, adopted both girls at birth. “But I don’t want my kids to be with nothing. I want them to have the same life as before.”
Her priority is finding an orthodontist who will take the girls’ insurance to help cover the fees. They both need braces.
Goldman has called more than 20 orthodontists, all of whom have refused to take Medicaid, the federal/state insurance provided by the state for adopted children.
“For my kids I know the braces are not so important, to them it’s more important to go to Disney,” Goldman said. “But as a mother I am looking at the future and the braces are more important.”
The last trip they took with their father was to Disney last December; the girls hope to repeat it this year. They want to visit Disney, Islands of Adventure and Sea World.
“On my diary, I even put that I want to go Disney,” said Lara, who also wrote that her daddy is with God. “I miss my dad, I do. When he was at the hospital I took a video and lots of pictures. My favorite picture is when he is holding me in his arms when he first got me. He was very nice and strong.”
Robert Goldman passed away 12 days after his cancer diagnosis, unexpectedly forcing his widow to find a job cleaning houses. She was previously a stay-at-home mom and a business owner.
Now, she works six days a week, and is worried about the hospital bills totaling more than $60,000. “I made a commitment with these kids. They are my daughters,” she said. “I don’t know the difference between having your own kids and your adoptive kids because I’ve never had my own kids. This is my commitment, this is my family, my priority.”
Although she can’t do many of the things she did with her husband, like going out to eat or paying for her daughter’s tutor, she is determined to work hard to continue giving her daughters the best life she can.
“My daughters are the reason I work every day and the reason I picked up more houses to clean,” Goldman said. “I want my girls to still have the same social level. I don’t want them to miss out on anything.”
Goldman wants to paint her house and sell some of the furniture that reminds her of her husband, she said. She wants to continue taking her daughters to karate, swimming and soccer.
But despite the grieving and the necessities, daddy left a box of kisses. The day before his death, the girls decorated a small box, which he filled with a million kisses. When they need him, they simply pick up the box, hold it tight and know that he watches over them.
“We are very blessed,” Goldman said. “When he passed away I didn’t understand and I wondered what we did wrong, but everything is a process.”