Mi Tio Gilberto
There is a lot of pain floating around in my heart about my uncle’s passing. There is a lot of anger towards lots and lots of people. There is also the question of did I do enough. The thing is that he would not want me to remember him that way, he was the kind of guy that was never angry or annoyed, he was always laughing or trying to make others laugh.
He was one of those grown ups that always made me feel like my opinion mattered. Even from when I was really young he always asked me what I thought. That was empowering, and probably one of the reasons I have always been so self-assured. If my uncle thinks my opinion matters, then it must.
I still remember the day he got his prized car, a baby blue jaguar. What does he do? He hands the keys over to me and tells me to take it for a spin. I was young and only had my license for a couple of years at the time but he was very willing to trust me with his awesome ride. Come to think of it, any time we were together in a vehicle and I was old enough to drive I was the one taking him around.
Years passed, his sickness got a hold of him and I now had to drive the car because he could not anymore.
I remember the last time I drove the jaguar, it had been sitting for probably a couple of years with little or no use. The vehicle was in very poor condition and I had to tell him that I did not feel safe driving it unless we took it in and had it looked at. I hate the fact that I had to tell the guy that never told me no and always made me believe in the impossible, no… about his car, about him getting better, about the reality of a terminal illness.
Nothing that I say will ever convey who he was, you had to meet him to really experience his larger than life attitude. I am glad that Heather had a chance to meet him, even though it was when he was already beaten up and almost defeated he made it a point that I lifted his had for him so he could shake Heather’s hand and mouth nice to meet you because he could not say the words anymore.
I have many good memories of him and I am holding onto them very much. We spent lots of time together the last couple of years driving around to and from doctor appointment to hospitals but we had great conversations. He told me about his childhood and growing up, also about all the hell he used to raise when he was young. He always had a smile, always had a joke and most of all he loved life.
I am so sad that you got taken away so young Tio. I am glad you got to see the world and experience life. I love you, and I miss you so much.