I remember my grandfather as always being happy. He was always laughing or sharing a joke. Whenever we visited he would roar with laughter and he never failed to tell me how beautiful he thought I was. He always had a huge smile on his face and his bright teeth shined against his tan face. He was small built but he had a strong grip that was a remnant of all of the years he worked planting and in construction in Puerto Rico. He never remarried after my grandmother passed over 34 years ago. He still lived in the house he bulit where my mother grew up. And he always kept the place in tip top shape until this past year he had a stroke and became bed-ridden. 
My parents moved back to Puerto Rico at this time, and they cared for him. My mother visited him daily, helped clean, feed, bathe and change him. Along with my Uncles they provided all that he needed for his care. My Mom shared stories of how difficult it was for him at the nursing home. He would rip his clothing and grabbed whatever he had on to take it off. She cried a lot over the phone and I knew it was not only difficult for him but also for my mother. 
Recently, my parents decided to move back to the states to be closer to us (their children) and grandchildren. On Tuesday March18th, they said their goodbyes, boarded the plane and left Puerto Rico. When they landed they were told that my grandfather passed away while they were flying out. The agony in my mother's voice is something that I will never forget as she shared with me what happened. I hurt for the loss of my grandfather and I hurt for the love of my mother for her father. I hurt for her, as she replays her goodbyes and how the unexpected happened in this way. 
I could not help but think about how our lives can be both long journeys or short ones. We do not know the day we will die, or how it will happen. We are not guaranteed to have anyone there with us. We cannot plan how we will leave this earth. We are not promised tomorrow. My mother asked herself over and over, why didn't she stay a day longer? 
We were hoping Gabriel could meet his only living great-grandparent this year. We know now that will never happen. However, as a parent I have the privilege and responsibilty to keep his memory alive. In that way I honor his name. Because he lived and married my grandmother, my mother could live and marry my father, I could be born and marry my husband and Gabriel could be born to live. He is a part of his legacy and is his most current generation. Both his genes and memories run through him and his story is a part of his identity. 
I only wish that I had known him better but we cannot turn back time. I can make sure that my children will know their living family members as well as possible and spend time with them. I remember my grandfather today and all of the memories we share and the stories of when my mother was a child. 
Towards the end of his life, he gave his heart in faith to Christ and my mother was able to witness it. She is comforted in knowing that his soul lives on in peace. 

Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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