Wednesday, November 12, 2008

listen to Him

i have struggled over the past few days with how to write this post. it's hard to find the words, and when i think i've found them, i get too emotional to write them and have to put the computer away.

late friday night, my dad called to tell me my abuelito carlos had passed away. while abuelito had definitely not been well the past several months, the news still hit me like a ton of bricks. in june, when abuelito first got very ill, i rushed to get my passport expedited. i wanted to see him for what might be the last time. slowly he improved, and i never went. i second guessed myself the whole time, thinking if i didn't go then, what would i do if something were to happen later and i'd be too pregnant to travel. but abuelito slowly improved and eventually went home. i spoke with my parents and kept plans to travel this coming spring at the back of mind so that abuelito carlos might meet both my children at once. i convinced myself that there was time.

i spoke with abuelito about 3 weeks ago. and the past week, i've been saying to myself to call him again and see how he was doing. but something always came up and told myself i would just do it the next day. i had a dream last wednesday night that my abuelito passed away. i know now that God was telling me there wasn't much time and that i needed to quit making excuses for not calling. i wish i had listened better for now i will never get to hear his voice again. to talk about the weather as we always did on our phone calls. to tell him about his great-grandson and his great-granddaughter on the way.

the past few days i've spent a great deal of time just thinking about my abuelito, my padrino. remembering him. like the time he took carlos and i to the zoo in lima. or how proud he was of his grandchildren that he took a picture of me while i was on patrol duty in sixth grade. of the time he got pulled over while driving us to school. or how much he loved having his nightly ice cream after dinner, and how annoyed he would get with my aunt when she tried to tell him he couldn't have any. or how a man in his seventies kept up with his teenage grandchildren as we trekked around the amazon. or how he kept scotch tape locked up like it was gold and velcro-ed the TV remotes to the couch to not lose them.

even in his death, my grandfather was true to form. he was a general in the peruvian army and he wanted to be buried in his uniform. not only had he set his uniform aside, but had included a note as to where his hat was. like i said, true to form.

i truly wish i could have traveled to peru for the funeral. but it would have been too risky at over 36 weeks pregnant. but i was there in spirit. i can only imagine what it must have meant for my brother and my dad when the military officer removed my grandfather's military medals, sword, and hat from the casket, and saluted my brother as he handed them off to carlos. and i don't even have to strength to ask my parents or my brother what papi said when he spoke at the funeral.

all these "what ifs" have been going through my mind. mami offered consolation by telling me that when you're young that you always think there will be more time. but i really wish i had listened better and called.

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