He left the day after Christmas. The father of eight was always devoted to the kids. I am sure he wanted to see them and all the grandchildren at Christmas and leave after that.
Of course, we won't really know because the dementia had taken his beautiful, loving mind a while ago. Gone were the days when he could read and write, savoring the turn of a phrase, the events of the days and the memories. All the memories were gone.
The house had always been a jumble of eight children, shouts, laughter, meals seated at long benches with powdered milk served with lots of love. Of course it wasn't just their kids, it was the friends, the cousins, the grandparents all those who were enveloped in the arms of this household.
There were the weddings, the coming out, the birth of babies, the graduations. There was the great tragedy when one of the grandchildren died at 16 months. All the chapters of a life, of a family, were all there in the house.
And now the gentle man with the kind eyes, the ready nicknames for all of us, the man who was always willing to listen and laugh, has left us on the day after Christmas. He was so considerate up to the end.
The hole is great in all our hearts, the ones he touched. The sorrow will be there for a long time because we won't see him again with the apron on in the kitchen, washing out all the big pans after making tamales, cooking up the ham for a feast to share. We won't hear his lovely laugh, nor be able to just say hi.
But he is with his grandson who left us too soon, with his beloved father who taught everyone to smoke cigars and be able to defend our opinions, he is with my father and petting my departed dogs. He has gone ahead now.
No more suffering, his mind has been restored in another place. He is holding his grandson, together again.
What a legacy to leave, so much love, so much laughter. So many hearts touched by his life. We know the world has a little less light with his passing. Thank you for your life well lived and loved.