I’ll Miss Him Deeply


I’ll probably always remember his handshake. My Tío Luis had the strongest grip of anyone I’ve ever met; and that was especially true even during his moments of physical weakness.

My mother’s oldest sibling (and only brother), who we lost earlier this week at the age of 74, embodied strength in so many ways. Not only did he continue working way past the traditional age of retirement, but he also served as the patriarch of a family that consisted of three sons, a handful of grandchildren, and a newly-born great-grandchild. My Tío Luis loved as every father, and husband, knows how: unconditionally.

It was because of my Tío Luis that I briefly considered going to his alma mater, Texas A&M University, to pursue accounting. Something about numbers and money interested me. Then again, who understands the meaning of taxes when you’re only in elementary school?! As most of you know, though, I ultimately made the decision to go to that school’s rival, The University of Texas at Austin, to study journalism, which he supported!

My sister (Tío Luis’s goddaughter) and I were the only Longhorns in the familia and would joke around with him constantly about our choice.  I mean, we did spend several Thanksgiving meals watching the Aggies and the Longhorns play against each other in their once-traditional match-up. We also rang in many New Years at his house, which was conveniently located right next to his sister, my aunt. Even now, I can picture him sitting at the dining room table holding court over everyone, leading the conversation, while asking for another one of his wife’s famous oatmeal-raisin cookies. The man had presence.

I’ll remember that image of him the most. Also, his voice. He had a melodic way of speaking that will probably always ring in my ears; particularly when he’d call me “Georgie.” The forcefulness in which he’d say that changed slightly the last few times I saw him, but that accompanying handshake never did.

I’ll miss him deeply. And for him, and him alone will I say: Gig ‘Em Tío. Love you!