Monday, June 1, 2020

My Papi

My paternal grandfather passed away this past week. My heart is heavy with so many emotions. I feel deep sorrow knowing his time on earth has seized but by God's good grace I mostly feel overwhelming gratitude for the blessing he will always be to me.
My Papi was a strong, hardworking, and capable man. His life was full of adventure and he shared the most incredible stories. He had an amazing memory and recalled everything with great detail. Some tales seemed so unbelievable but upon further investigation proved to be true. His adventures could fill a book. He was a vaquero. Born and raised in a small adobe house in Tepehuanes,Durango Mexico. He was the true Patriarch of the Carrera family as he was the only boy out of his 5 brothers to reach adulthood. He was deeply loved and respected by his 5 little sisters and was looked up to by many of his family members. He immigrated to the United States as a single man in his early twenties and worked fields of Missouri , slaughterhouses in Chicago, and on railroads in Oregon and California before spending a few years in Santa Barbara working in various restaurants. He finally settled in Los Angeles buying a home near his extended family. He worked very hard to make a life for his children here. I admire his stamina and strength. His work and dedication to his family are inspiring. How fortunate I am to know his love.

Here are a few things I never want to forget about my dear Papi.

1. He ALWAYS wore jeans, a buttoned up longsleeve shirt, belt, and a hat. When I was a child it was always a cowboy hat but in my adult years he was often seen with a baseball cap.
2. The way he would skillfully slice an orange with a pocket knife like a butcher cutting meat.
3. He was always laughing and joking with my Abuelita and his children. He knew how to have a good time.
4. He treated all my cousins like we were his favorite. He had a way of making you feel very special. He ALWAYS greeted the girls with, "Hi mi reina!" (Hi my queen)
5. When I would tell him I love him. He would theatrically respond with a smile and an expressive I love youuuuuu!
6. The way he would sit on his comfy chair and quietly observe his family as we all gathered in his home.
7. Being in the back of his truck as we drove from West Covina to Chino to stay with him and my Abuelita for the night.
8. Him sitting in his garage on incredibly hot days in his jeans and long sleeve shirt listening to Pedro Infante or Javier Solis.
9. How he was well loved by so many. My Papi and Abuelita often had visitors. Their relatives and friends would sit and spend hours chatting away with my Papi.
10. How proud he was to take pictures with his 16 grandchildren.

I think most of all I will miss his two handed kisses. The ways he would grab my face before planting a big kiss on my cheek. I will miss his scruffy mustache and the way he would pull me in close for a hug and pat me on the back.

Thank you Lord for blessing my life with a kind and loving Papi. I know that I am very privileged to be loved and cared by him well into my adult life. Thank you Lord, thank you!
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