View Full Version : Weird thing just happened...

12-04-2005, 10:54 PM
I'm sorry about this one because it is one of these life threads, but it just kind of happened, and no one is answering on AIM or messenger, and I know my parents are not home, and my girl is out partying so I have to share, it is a beautiful thing... but kinda sad.

As maybe some of you know (from previous conversations in this board) I am originally from Mexico, but I was admited into NYU film school so I came all the way up here, and I have been here for 2 and a half now, and I am about to graduate (thak the lord for that, I was not made for this weather).

When I left Mexico my grandfather had just turned 93 years old. His name was Leopoldo Monzón... He was named after king Leopold of Belgium (his father apparently admired the guy for never surrendering to the nazis even though it was clear that they could not defend themselves) and I was named after him. We called him Papa Leo, although he really liked it when we would call him Papa Grande.

This man had the biggest heart ever, he held a stature in the family that to this day no one has ever held, and I would say no one will ever held... Everyone from his sons in law to his daughters and grandsons admired and beloved this man. He believed in never harming anyone, he believed in staing ture and strong to your morals no matter what (when his family came back with him to Mexico, from France, my mom was having a tough time getting accepted into high school because she had never taken classes like MExican History and stuff like that, A high official told him that the only way that they could get her in was through a bribe, he cried, and went back to his daughter saying that there was no way he could be corrupt, that he was sorry, that they could find another way to get her into school, but that would not work.)

He worked at the UNESCO for years, when he retired he built a carpentry shop in the roof of his house, and he built every piece of furniture that was in my room when I was kid, and my sisters doll house, and my little wooden train that my brother and I used to hang around in when we where like five.

By the time he was 90 his mind had pretty much gone, he would call us desperately because he had awakened and this horrible thief had climbeed into the house, it would take hours before we could calm him down and show him that this thief was his wife. He would wake up clamoring that the goverment was going to build huge roads over towns that would block these town's sunlight, and that was appaling, and he would call the goverment and complain about this... Obviously a dream that he could not separate from reality.

I never really said good bye. The day that I left, my girl at the time and I fought and I was not able to reach his house before 7 PM when he went to bed. I called him though, when I was in NYC my mom asked me to call him for his birthday, it took him a while but he remembered me, Popoyo as he would call me (because his grandfather had called him like that and we both shared the first name, we where going to share the term of endearement) and he asked me where I was, and I told him that I was in New York (he moved here when he was 10 years old because there was a revolution in MExico) and he cried and he asked me why was I up here. And I told him, and with so much damn love in his voice he said "NYU that is a good school, I am so proud of you" to this day I could care less if I fail in everything else in life, the fact that he even said that to me, meant that I lived up to everything in life.

Thanksgiving of 2003 he left us, while he was sleeping. My mom says that my grandma and her where making lunch, while he was taking a nap, they say they walked back in the room, and he looked a different color. He had died. I was on my way to the airport. On a taxi cab to go visit my father's side of the family in Birmingham Alabama. I was listening to "Bolero Falaz" by Aterciopelados, damn I remember the exact phrase "Besos en tu camisa tu coartada está echa trizas" and then the damn cellphone vibrated... And my dad told me, very calmly that Papa Leo was not going to be ther in christmas when I got back. I took it very well... I promised I would call my mom that night. See how she was. I cried a little after that. And then I just did not think about it.

I did not go to the funeral, I was stuck in a thanksgiving festivity. Everyone was so damn happy. I did not know how to feel.

After that life went on, I have been back to MExico, but I have never visited him, I live there at what used to be his home with my grandmother. And I sleep in the room where we used to stay when we where kids. Somehow it never sunk in.

This year I took a class called Images of the 1930's although it is supposed to be a history of documentary images from the time. THe final project is about our grandparents, about talking to them, and hearing their stories. I remembered that at one point my grand father had recorded his memoirs and given us a tape. I asked my brother, who told me that he had actually imported those tapes to MP3 files. He sent them to me.

And today for the first time in 2 years and a half I listened to my grandfather talk. I was the only one, the only one of his grandchildren that was not present when he died, the only one that has not visited his grave. The only one that did not stand before they lowered it in, holding hads with my brothers and sisters, and my grandmother, as she said goodbye to the man that she had married for 50 years. I was not there. I am so sorry I was not there. I should have been there. And what is worse I refused to be there no more. And I loved this man like you got no idea, I love and admire him.

Damn I miss him. He would tell me right now that there is no point in feeling like this, that he is proud none theless, that I am working for a big thing here. And I know this. I think that just now I realized that this man is no longer here. For Real.

12-04-2005, 11:09 PM
Sounds like he was a really great man. Don't worry about not being there at the end. I'm sure he knows you love him a great deal and that he's watching out for you, that's probably why you're feeling the way you are right now ;)

12-04-2005, 11:17 PM
wow, that's pretty powerful, it does take a while to sink in but you'll sort it out

12-04-2005, 11:18 PM
That's great that you had such a connection with your grandfather. It's sad you weren't able to be their at his funeral, but from my experience, it might've made it worse. My mother's mother died when my mom was a teenager and my father's father died when my dad was about 12, from diabetes. So basically, the only grandparents I had as a child was my father's mother, and my mother's father. At the age of 5, my grandfather (mother's side) died from I believe natural causes, though his smoking for basically his whole life didn't help. I never really got to know him, honestly, at the moment, I can't even remember his name. My grandmother (father) was a different story. My sister and I were always over there as children while my parents worked long hours. She cooked meals that now I would absolutely love to eat, but as a child I guess my taste buds hadn't developed so I always whined and whined. But since she spoiled me so much, she would make me waffles and give me a can of cream soda. I know that's a weird thing to remember, but it's what she would do, almost every day I was there. About a month before my 8th birthday, she passed away from breast cancer. I remember my parents came home from the hospital where she stayed and it was about 10 at night. They told me and my sister to come down and sit on the couch. From the moment they said that I knew it was bad. My dad tried to speak, but got choked up and started tearing up. My mom had to say it for him. My sister began instantly crying and I just sat there for a moment, speechless. I soon began to quietly cry. My mom began consulting my sister and my dad just left the room. I remember going to the funeral, I was quiet and calm. I couldn't really take in what happened at such a young age, but I did know I was never going to see her again. Everyone around me was crying, and I managed to hold it in for the most part. But my great Aunt Virgina (grandmother's sister) began crying and then I just couldn't maintain it anymore. It was probably the worst time my family went through. She was such a big part of us. Heh, my eyes are tearing up as I type this.

Anyways, enough about that. May your grandfather rest in piece.

12-04-2005, 11:35 PM
Q, it seems to me that it's possible you had not dealt with the grief process. Let yourself go through it, it will serve you better in the long run.

You feel what you feel, and it's valid, no one can tell you otherwise. But try not to dwell on feelings of guilt over not performing certain duties, even if those are duties you wanted to perform, like visiting his grave. Your abuelo told you that he was proud of you and what you are doing, and I'm sure he's prouder of you for doing it despite what it's cost you in terms of not being there for him.

Everything in life has a price; we don't always see it when we first strike the bargain, but the price always demands satisfaction. The price for achieving what you have, you pay by not being able to be there with family when you want to be. I know how you feel.

Strive in your life to be like your abuelo, to have the sense of honor and ethics that he had; make that a part of who you are, and of who you become as you grow.

Do that, and some day, you wil be the patriarch of your family, the one others look to for guidance. And then you will be the one who understands the sacrifices your grandchildren will make to become who they need to be.

Remember, honor him with your memory; but know that memory is transient and malleable. Honor him most with your actions every day.

12-05-2005, 01:38 AM
Thanks for sharing that with us Quelonie.

12-05-2005, 04:46 AM
Quelonio thankyou for sharing that with us. It sounds like your grandfather was an amazing man that will be deeply missed by a lot of people. Losing a beloved family member is by far the hardest thing we face emotionally. There is no normal way to go through the grief process since we all tend to have our own way of dealing with it. Many people have a delayed response like you are experiencing now and feelings of guilt are normal. I lost my grandmother earlier this year and I felt a lot of guilt for not spending more time with her when she was alive. I have tried to take from the experience a sense of urgency in spending as much quality time with family as possible and making every moment count. I think you've already received some great counsel above. My advice would be to take the time at some point (sooner rather than later if at all possible) to get together with your family and visit your grandfather's grave. Press close to your family and focus on the bond you all share and the love that you have for your grandfather while you go through this. Don't just internalize it whatever you do. God Bless you my friend.

12-05-2005, 05:07 AM
I couldn't possibly add to the wisdom written here, so let me simply express my condolences.

12-05-2005, 10:14 AM
I'm very sorry for your loss. Hang in there.

12-05-2005, 11:02 AM
Que, you're grandfather sounds like he was an amazing person. My condolences to you. With things like those mp3s though, he'll never be gone to you. Memories are very powerful things. It sounds cliche, but don't ever forget about him and he'll never be gone.

12-05-2005, 10:31 PM
Thanks Y'all

12-05-2005, 10:34 PM
I'm very sorry for your loss. Hang in there.