Sunday, December 06, 2009

adiós a mi tío Pepe

mi tío Pepe, at my mom's garden in Autlán, December 2008

This Sunday morning my humble household
Apparently remains unchanged
The cats come & go
Beg for food, and stroll about
The birds graze around
And the mild coldish sun
Shows its beans, shy

Yet the news of death
Filter through a distant telephone line
Once again on this deadly 2009

Last night my aunt Elena who was visiting
In Guadalajara told me that my uncle Jose
Suffered a heart attack
But she was hopeful that he was to recover
I couldn’t talk to my mother, she was with him
Spending the night at the hospital

And early this morning, 6.30 am my time
The phone rang...
Complications after the heart attack
And being my uncle diabetic and in bad shape
Most of his life
This one has abandoned him all together
At once

My uncle was younger than my mother
But his life was always so hectic
That he looked older than her
I am not sure how old exactly he was
But I do know he was not yet 60
Close, but not 60 yet
57? 58?

And one thing that is a comfort for all
Family, I hope
Is that he lived an authentic rich life
Not the way most people think of a rich life
But for rich, in his peculiar ways…
He was a heavy drinker, a ‘party animal’
he really never took much care of himself
I guess he was one of those souls
Who agree with the old saying
“live free or die”
Vivre libres ou mourir

He lived for many years here in the US
In San Francisco, and then Portland
He was a truck driver most of his life
Had a great sense of humor
he was a pleasant person
with always cheerful manners
And over all a great sense of charity
I remember seeing my uncle
Getting rid of an expensive jacket once
That he has just received as a Christmas present
And handed it to a homeless drunk guy
Of course the aunt who just gave it to him
As a gift was sort of disappointed
But that was my uncle
He was never rich, yet he worked hard his whole life
And every penny he ever made
He shared with his friends
Who were never among the “good people”
He loved to surround himself with homeless people
And drink with them
Worth saying that my grandma and his sisters suffered
A big deal ‘cause of his 'free-living ways'
But then again, I am sure my uncle
Sure enjoyed his life

These photos of him and my mom
I took in December 2008 in Autlán Jalisco
Back in 2007, and because of his diabetes
My uncle almost lost a leg while living in Portland
I remember my aunt Margarita and my mother
Traveling from Mexico to a lost town in Oregon
To sort of rescue him…
The whole family thought that once my uncle
Was in Mexico, he would stop drinking and taking
Care of himself
But my uncle was still so full of life
And he sure loved to play around
To surprise of my mom and aunt
He started having an affair with the maid!
Which actually makes me smile
She is a married lady too!
So the small Mexican town was scandalized
Yet I am sure my uncle was happy
To enjoy yet again of some forbidden love
And even if I miss him now
I somehow would love to raise a glass of wine
In his name and memory
Cause even if gone now
I am quite sure mi tio Pepe
From heaven, and by his mom
Is smiling down to us
Left still on this terrene life

My grandma had 7 children
5 women and 2 men
And this is the first of these siblings
To go away
my grandma died in 2005
so i guess is better that she didn't see him die
I am sure they are together now
she always loved his so much
that other siblings were jealous of him
but also we all know
she worried so much about him and loved him so much
'cause he was indeed her 'trouble child'

And I am extremely sorry and worry
For my mother, she loved him so much too
she didn't care saying always
'my favorite brother'
And it’s the first time in her life
That she loses a brother

my mom and her beloved brother Pepe

So far this year
My mom has lost an ex-husband (my dad)
And a brother
And she endless worries over my frail
health, the damn asthma, the migraines,
my IBS…
now i worry over her too
she just recovered from pneumonia
and at age 62 is facing osteoporosis
she was supposed to arrive to Los Angeles
this Tuesday December 8
but the trip has been postponed or maybe canceled

after my infinite strolling around for years
every time i have vacation for the past 5 years
i either rush to Mexico to visit my family
or to Germany to see Thilo
so i decided mostly 'cause of health
to spend my 2 free weeks at the end of the year
here in San Diego
not jumping on a plane as soon as i get out of work
for once, and so my mom agreed to spend Christmas
here with me...
now this changes everything
and with flight prices so expensive and my horrible
health, i am not sure i can go to Mexico either

My oldest aunt, tia Marilu
Suffered a great deal this year too
With pancreatic cancer
And we all thought that being she the oldest
And with such a terrible sickness
That she would be the first one to part

But as usual, life and death
Are full of surprises
So just like that
My uncle is gone now…
and miraculously my aunt Mary
is recovering
she's such a sweet lady too

and to end

Gracias tío Pepe!
For the times you made me smile
And for showing me that sometimes
We just have to embrace the fun of life
Even if that means to be less healthy
And eventually, younger, have to die

my uncle's full name was
José de Jesús Navarro Uribe
descanse en paz
rest in peace
i am sure many friends here in the US
and in Mexico will raise a glass of wine
on his name and give him a last smile

he had 3 children
2 older men from his first marriage
and a lovely daughter from his second marriage
he didn't live with any of them
but here a picture of 2 of his grandsons
Hector and Nano, sons of his daugter Zarina
this photo from 2005
who lives close to San Diego
Hector, the older kid
the one on the back
sweetly hugging his brother
reminds me a lot of my uncle
he's restless and passionate
and with the same beautiful fair eyes

Hector and Nano, my uncle Pepe's grandsons, South Gate 2005