Wednesday, February 18, 2015

There Goes My Hero...

Nothing could have prepared me for it.

When my Tata went into the hospital my family went through every emotion you could think of. I have never been so scared in my entire life. But through it all we held on to hope. Then we were told that there was nothing left the doctors could do. Over the years as my Tata grew older and his health declined, in the back of my mind I knew this day would come. But nothing prepared me to actually hear it. I was alone at my office and I cried with this almost animalistic cry. Sobbing so hard my whole body shook. The week of anxiety and the good news followed by bad news had come down to the unthinkable. The worst case scenario. My Tata was sent home with a hospice nurse to live out his last hours surrounded by his family. He left this world on February 13th with all 9 of his children and his wife by his side.

My Tata was born in Valencianita, Irapuato, Guanajuato, Mexico. As a young man he wanted to become a priest. Despite his desire to serve his church, his family simply could not afford to send him to seminary. During World War II my Tata signed up for the Bracero Program and was sent to Arizona to work.

While in Arizona, Tata began to frequent a place called "The Cow Palace". Now I am sure the food was good but my Tata was there for one certain waitress. My Nana and Tata fell in love and eventually married and they landed in Amado, Arizona. Amado means 'beloved' in Spanish and I think this was the perfect place to start their lives together.

In 1953 my Nana and Tata moved to Santa Paula, California when my Tata got a permanent job at the Limoneira Company. He worked there for over 40 years and retired at the age of 70. They also had 9 children. Yes 9. 8 girls and 1 boy. I have always thought my Tata deserved a medal for living in a house with 9 women and 1 bathroom. I grew up on Limoneira Ranch just about a mile or so from my Nana and Tata. Growing up I saw them all the time. Most of my childhood memories outside of my house are with them. With him. Taking a walk to watch him work on the forklift or to hang out with him while he worked on his parcela (garden.) Him piling us kids in the truck to take us to McDonald for happy meals.

I don't think I could ever find the words to properly explain who my Tata was and what he meant to me. He was the best man I have ever know.

He taught me respect by always being respectful to the people around him. I cannot remember a time I ever heard him raise his voice in anger.

He taught me the importance of education by constantly giving me money towards college. Over my childhood the $5 here and $1 there added up to over $4000.00. He literally paid for my AA degree, books and all.

He taught me faith by being a religious man. I can remember on Christmas Eve when he would duck out of all the festivities to attend midnight mass.

He taught me that words are powerful. That reading and writing could change the world. He taught me this by always having a paperback book, a notepad and a pen in his pocket.

He taught me to be generous by always having gum for all his grandkids when we asked for some.

He taught me that family is everything. There was nothing more important to my Tata than his family. Even with the chaos of all of us squeezed into one house, that was when he was most happy. When we were all together.

He taught me what unconditional love was by always being ready with open arms for me no matter what. No one has made me feel more loved and adored than my Tata. I was his "reina."

Everything I have ever done, my college degrees, my marriage, how I am raising my kids, my pride in my work, my writing, my photos, they are all to make him proud of me. My Tata has and will always be the biggest influence in who I've become and who I will continue to grow to be.

I really believe that they way my family has handled everything is a testament to my Tata and the family he created. The family literally wrote the eulogy together. My Mom and my Tia's and Tio's, me and my cousins sat and put it together, line by line, as a family. Yes it took all day, but that's how we do things. With lots of food, and people and kids running around. With laughter and tears and Starbucks runs.

I know that hard times are suppose to make me stronger but right now I can't figure out how I am suppose to get past this. I am so devastatingly sad. The pain of losing this man is so great that I can't understand how it will ever subside. Watching my Mother say goodbye to her Father, and watching my Nana grieve for her husband of over 60 years is unbearable. I get up everyday and go through the motions of work and the kids when all I want to do is be with my family. My family, my husband, my friends but most of all my children are saving me right now.

I have lost a light,a piece of my heart, my compass and I feel lost. I know that the hardest parts are yet to come. We are all busy putting together your services. We will be surrounded by out of town family and friends who we haven't seen in awhile. It is when the work is done that the reality of your absence will set in. I am trying to take some comfort in knowing that you are at peace, that you are in heaven, that you are with Roman, that you had a long and full life, that I had the chance to say good-bye. My head knows all these thing, but my heart doesn't understand and it just feels the pain of losing you. 

 I love you Tata. Rest now. Until we will see each other again. 

Too alarming now to talk about.
Take those pictures down and shake it out
Truth or Consequence
Say it a loud
Use that evidence, race it around
There goes my hero
Watch him as he goes......


  1. Hugs to you and yours. What a magnificent man. I am so very sorry for your loss.

  2. I lost my Nana in November, it's been devastating. She was the backbone of our family and was always there for me, even in wild teenage years. I'll keep your family in my prayers.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. thank you for your prayers.

  3. I'm so sorry about your Tata. It's so nice that you have such great pictures to help remember him by.

  4. I'm so sorry to hear of your loss. This is a beautiful way of honoring him. Thanks so much for sharing.


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