A year ago today my grandfather passed away, but he did not die. He lives.. and if you want to find him, find him within the crevices of my actions, my tenacity, and success. Crouch down and find him underneath all that I believe in, all I stand for, and all I will accomplish. Open me up and find him in everything that empowers me. He is the fight inside me.
Abuelo, a year ago you passed away, but you did not die. Your story radiates through my reality. Because of you I wear Cuba on my sleeve and I made sure that when you passed you did not take our story with you. Abuelo, I knew you were of Cuban pride, but I did not know that the shop you struggled to open is what allowed Cuban culture to cultivate so strongly in Elizabeth, NJ. I did not know you gave refugees gold jewelry for free so they could sell it for profit, and that you trusted them to pay you back whenever they could and settled that on a handshake. I did not know you were part of an organization of Cubans. I didn't know that hundreds of men revered you within that organization. I did not know you can make a room full of grown men cry. I learned this at your funeral.
A year ago my grandfather passed away, but he did not die. I am here, in the US, succeeding without financial burden. I am here because he left everything behind, including old friends, a successful business, his money and his culture. I am here because he took all four of his children with him. I am here because he refused to stop there. I am here because he had deep-seeded ambition and pushed through every challenge with his chest out and his head adamantly on his shoulders. I am here, I am happy, and I am secure--And because of that, he lives.
Abuelo, I must confess I took some things from you without asking. In the pocket of my heart I hold your ambition. In the pocket of my conscience I hold your integrity. Abuelo, you are in peace, but never will you be put to rest. Not within my lifetime.