El Jefe: In Memoriam

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

“Let no one weep for me, or celebrate my funeral with mourning; for I still live, as I pass to and fro through the mouths of men.”~ Quintus Ennius

In memory of my neighbor and friend.

So far I have made it through with all that has been going on. Even though my shoulders still carry a heavy load upon them.

We put to rest my neighbor and friend. His immediate family referred to him as “Jefe”, as did I.

But it has been strange and difficult not having him around. Countless times in these past few days, I’ve gone through the urge of giving him a call to let him in on what’s been going on in my world. Then I would stop and think that he’s not here any more, and calling him would be futile. I’m having a lot of trouble with that at the moment.

Yesterday, we said our final farewells to Jefe. A lot of people actually showed up to pay their respects. It was just as impressive as his own obituary was. The biggest thing that people had to say about him is that when they read the obituary, they didn’t realize just how connected to the community and all of the things that he had accomplished in life of 65 years. One of which was his military career. Leaving the United States Army as an officer rank of Major. The surprise came by people of what he had done surrounding his military career. Including a marriage of 44 years.

Since the news of his passing early last Friday morning, I have been surrounded by the family. His wife and his children. Hell, I was even there when they were putting together his obituary. Sitting with his wife and family and going along with them through the good and bad times of the past several days.

But Jefe and his wife had always thought of me as a “son”. They had five children of their own. But it was his wife who endeared me as a son more than he did. For many years, I actually have been regarded as and even introduced as their son. Even to their own family members. It got to the point where it was explained that their five children were brought to them by stork, and I was brought to them by the mail man.

I had a lot of people come up to me and introduce themselves and when I gave them my name, they would say, “Ohh, your their surrogate son. I’ve heard so much about you. Nice to finally meet you.”

But what am I going to really do? In a place where many were mourning. Was I going to fight them? No.

I was kind of surprised when the priest had mentioned my name in the list of his children. Then again, should I have been since they had spent many years claiming as such?

I have a lot of memories of Jefe that it would be too difficult to list them all. Many times going out to eat together, or watching a movie at their home, having a few drinks or whatever.

Being there yesterday just brought back so much to my own mind. Losing my mother and other people in my life, it was definitely a difficult burden to wear yesterday.

Near the end of the service, they played an audio recording of the 21 Gun Salute as Jefe’s sons couldn’t get the approval of the U.S. military for an actual one. And then the playing of TAPS. And it was the playing of TAPS at which point, I broke down into tears. Some tears fell, others simply welled up in my eyes and did not descend across my face.

And with the knowledge that Jefe and his family referred to me as part of theirs, the neighbors were looking at me with strange looks when they saw my tears. I did not understand why they would do that. Considering how many times Jefe’s wife verbally would speak to me as if I was part of their family. But I’m just going to have to let that go.

Jefe was the one that taught me how to improve on my Spanish speaking skills. I had always feared that he would tell me one thing and as a joke, and it would mean another. If you have seen the movie, “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”, then you know what I am talking about. But he did not do that. Whenever I asked him how to say something in Spanish, he did help.

He told jokes all of the time. A majority of them, dirty and vulgar. But that’s what he liked to do was tell jokes.

However for myself and most likely for his family, we’ll go on and on with memories of Jefe. Time shall heal our wounds to where we will no longer need to mourn, but to remember. And be rejoicing the fact that I knew him and that he was a part of my life for these past few years. Knowing his pain and suffering is over. And ours one day, will be too.

 

 

 

 

 

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