There is a lot said negatively about social media, much of it well deserved. However, my experience today with social media (e.g. Facebook) is one that bridged the gaps of time and distance.

My day started by reconnecting with an old friend. This is someone whom I’ve known since I was about eleven years old, and it’s been about twenty-five years since she and I had any kind of conversation. Yet through instant messaging, we reconnected quickly and it felt just like those times we’d chat right before Brother Carl’s English class in high school.

My evening ended with the opposite set of emotions. Once again through Facebook, I was informed by my cousins in Mexico my uncle Jose Luis had passed away. For someone I’d seen only six times in my life, my uncle Pepe – as he was known – was a joyous figure in my life. He was always witty and gregarious. If you were around him and not laughing, it was because you weren’t listening to what he was saying. He reminded me much of my father, and when I saw him last in 2014, it was bittersweet for me (my father passed away in 2004).

Pepe
Tio Pepe and me in 2014.

To hear of his passing moves me, mostly because I am not in a position to get to Puebla and mourn with my family. It’s always been an unfortunate reality; half of my family 1,200 miles away. Even though we are related, my life to them is more of a foreigner than that of a family member. I mourn nonetheless because it was Pepe who was standing bedside with me when my father died. It was Pepe who held me tight as I broke down with emotions. It was Pepe who reassured me things would be alright.

…and they eventually were.

How I wish I was in Puebla to hold and console my cousin Paula and her daughters. How I wish I could be there for them to remind them everything will be alright. Yet I mourn nonetheless the loss of my uncle, a devout man with a friendly soul.

I wish I had more words, but my heart aches. Instead, I will share the words of my cousin Janny. Her heartfelt eloquence says it best.

My precious and handsome uncle, today your suffering ceases and you finally start your journey to be reunited with your beloved Lola (his wife), with Gaby (his daughter), with your mother and your brothers. Someday we will meet again!

Thank you for all your love and teachings. Thank you for your example of honesty, rectitude, fidelity, optimism, joy and strength! Tireless warrior, now it’s your turn to enjoy eternal life! We hurt with your departure. It squeezes the heart this feeling of emptiness that you have left. But as you taught us, we will be strong, we will smile, we will joke, and we will love with strength and courage because we come from a caste of warriors!

I send you lots of kisses and hugs, and when we meet again, we’ll laugh again together! See you soon, my uncle!

 

Pepe.jpg
Rest in Peace, Tio.

 

8 thoughts on “In Memoriam

  1. I am sorry for your loss, mi amigo. He must have been an amazing man to have had such an impact on you with such minimal contact. Even though our faith provides comfort by teaching us that we have eternal life through Jesus Christ, it’s OK to miss him until you see him again. God bless!

  2. It’s always so hard to lose a beloved relative, but what joy you must have knowing where he is spending eternity, and that you will see him again one day. Your words are a tribute, and I can imagine he would be so proud to know how loved his is. Praying the sweet memories carry you through the tears.

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