to the puerto rican mountain man; in memoriam

I knew the last time I saw you was going to be our last goodbye. I remember the softness of your old man hands. And the depth of your laugh. And the sweetness of your voice as you sang Spanish songs from long ago. And the way your jaw clicked when you chewed. And so many many other things that are now gone forever.
I am your first grandchild and as such I have deep abiding memories of you. There wasn’t a day in my life when you weren’t there in some way. I knew you prayed for me every morning, every meal, every night. You have been a constant for every bit of my 27 years except the last 15 days. That is 15 mornings without your prayers, 15 nights without knowing you were watching Bill OReilly at 8pm, 15 days of this odd emptiness that I did not expect.
When you go through loss this intense things change. I have a hard time putting things in past tense these days; I keep rephrasing things in conversations so I don’t have to say or type the reality of the words ‘had’ ‘did’ ‘was’. I find that tears are the greatest makeup remover. I wake up at 2am every morning thinking mom will call me back to say it was a mistake, that they saved your life, that you’ll be home soon. I still have a hard time crying in front of people, but not for the usual reasons. I keep thinking it isn’t real, this isn’t my life. I don’t know what life is supposed to be like without you and that is what makes me the saddest of all.
You know, oh of course you know that I love you. I will never stop. But when will I get to a point of steadiness again? You lent me such strength, such quiet dignity but I can put none of that to use here. I must wail and scream and sob and laugh and smile and feel everything as deeply as I can.
There is no way to end this letter and I will never end it. Thank you for the innumerable gifts you gave to me, for the things I cannot talk about because they mean so much. I love you I love you I love you and I will never say goodbye to you, Welo.



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