Last week, I woke up remembering that it was my grandfather's birthday - February 11, 1887.
The moment I opened my eyes, I remembered him and felt him close by. I was the youngest of his grandchildren and unfortunately, the one that would get to know him the least, since I was less than a year and a half when he was laid to rest.
The stories that I hold of this man are mostly those that I have inherited. He was a brilliant business man and the ledgers that I hold to this day show thoughtful business acumen and even a caring for the community that he was a part of. My mother's image of her father, at least the one that she has shared, is of a prayerful, deeply spiritual man. He was also a man made of flesh and bone; his fingers knew the taste of poker among the other things I was told not to talk about
The one memory that I do have of him is almost like a dream and in truth is more a story that was continually told to me after his passing.
I remember sitting beside his bed when he was already reaching for death. This ritual continued even after he had passed. According to the stories, for months after his death, I was found again and again at his bedside. I was young, but already forming my words.
"Y con quien hables" mama asked, sensitively inquiring about who I was having such animated conversation with.
“‘Empapa," I said, careful not to make her feel as if she had asked a silly question.
"Ya se fue papa," she said sitting on the bed, as she caressed my cheek, feeling that I was sad.
“No, aqui le estoy hablando,” I said, carefully turning back to the bed, where I proceeded to talk to him.
They should have known then that one of my pathways would be that of an historian, engaged in a conversation with those on the other side, one that perhaps
began for me with my grandfather.
Copyright 2018 Estevan Rael-Gálvez