When Joey and I got married I was not sure if I would keep my last name, hyphenate it or take his. Then during all the wedding planning the topic came up and very sincerely Joey asked that I take his name. He said that it was important to him. Joey never asks for anything and I understood where he was coming from so after we got married I went through all the channels and had my last name changed to Lerma.
Almost 10 years later I don't just have the last name, over the years I have become a real part of the Lerma Family. I love them all and they all love me like I have been a part of them forever. Over the weekend the Lerma Family gathered to celebrate the life of their patriarch our Grandpa Andy.
Andres Jose Lerma was born in New Mexico and lived his life between New Mexico and California. He married Josie, the love of his life and on their last anniversary they celebrated 66 years together. They have 3 children, 11 grandchildren, many great-grandchildren and even 1 great-great grandchild. But I can tell you that the number of people who love them and who they love like family is much bigger.
Grandpa Andy was a man of many many words. He loved to give long speeches and tell stories about his life and adventures. And even though the family joked about how long his talks were, we all loved them. He was a very proud man and nothing gave him more pride than his family. He adored us all. When Phi was born he thought she looked so much like my Dad and so he started calling her "Little Gomez". He would see her and give her the 2 thumbs up and they would say "alright!" to each other. When Louella was born he was so in love with her. Because Louie is so little he started called her his little "pinon". He would even introduce her to other people has "my little pinon". And he was very proud of his Joe. He was proud of the man that little skater kid had become and was also so happy to see him and quick to brag about him to anyone who would listen. Grandpa and I shared a love for history and he once gave me a copy of a paper someone who came from the same small town in New Mexico had written. It has a lot of facts and stories that would have been lost if they had not been written down.
Growing up I had one grandfather in my life and 9 months ago I lost him and it was and still is devastating but I was comforted in knowing that Andres loved me and treated me like a granddaughter. I still had a grandpa who was there for me and my little family. Now Grandpa Andy as left us and even though I did my best to be strong for Joey my heart is broken because even though I have only been a Lerma for about a decade it feels like I lost a Grandpa I had my whole life.
Grandpa Andres, we will miss you so much. I hear your voice in my head and I take some comfort in knowing that you were ready to leave this earth and be reunited with your Mom. I hope that you know that the family has been and will continue to take very good care of Grandma Josie.
Until we meet again...