Monday, June 27, 2011

Abuelito Frias

As you can see, I'm in a bit of a blogging mood today. Actually, not so much blogging, but more of journaling. I keep thinking, what would I want my kids to know about me, their family history, and their childhood if I wasn't around to tell them? The other day, I heard an interview with a woman who was dying. When asked what her biggest fear was of dying, she said it was that she may be forgotten. When I heard that, I realized that was also my biggest fear of dying.

Yesterday marked the 15 year anniversary of when my Chilean grandfather passed away. I thought back on the day when I was 14 years old when I returned from a camping trip to hear that my abuelito, who had come to visit from Chile, had passed away while I was gone. It was my first real experience with death and I was devastated.

He had come to the U.S. with my abuelita that summer while we were on home leave, in hopes of improving his quickly deteriorating health.

A few years earlier, my dad accepted a post in Chile, were my mother is from, and it was during those 4 years that my relationship with my grandparents blossomed. I loved his quick, sarcastic, and witty humor and I loved her matronly affection and spell-binding stories of her youth.

As I got older, I learned more of my grandpa's childhood and remarkable upbringing. My heart broke for the young Luis Frias who as a child endured abuse, neglect, and resulting health problems from that abuse. I felt a sense of pride at how he obtained his education from a well-known and influential doctor and then worked as a nurse practitioner at the jail in Los Andes where he met my grandmother who also worked there as a nurses assistant. I learned many of the lessons he taught my mother and felt a swelling sense of gratitude for the man who in his older years adopted a young boy who became my uncle.

His legacy left a large part of my heart in that small town in Chile. Although memory has a way of blurring and becoming more vague with the passing years, my grandpa has not been forgotten.

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