Just yesterday, my family and I were happily planning on a weekend trip to Georgia. My Grandfather’s unit from WWII is having a plaque dedicated at the military history museum and the last living member of the crew is going to be there. My whole family (even Vic was off work), my parents, and my niece were going to make the trip together.
Today, we are planning my brother-in-law’s funeral. This morning, 1/9/12, at 9:49 am, my brother-in-law, Jose, was pronounced dead. After an almost 30 year battle with Muscular Dystrophy, his body was finally worn out and the battle was done.
Jose was an amazing man who spent the past 30 years beating the odds. When he was diagnosed with MD at the age of 18, the doctors didn’t expect him to live too long. Making it past his mid-twenties was considered a long shot. Well, Jose rarely did what was expected of him. So, he thumbed his nose at the doctors, worked his ass off, and lived to be 49 years old.
Jose was just like all the Cruz males and he had a warped, twisted sense of humor. He was always entertaining to be around and my boys absolutely adored him. He introduced Marty to the online Kill the Teletubbies and the Kill Barney games and he always listened to the stories and tales the kids had to share. But, the Jose my kids grew to know was not the same Jose I met almost 20 years ago. As his body grew weaker, his character and personality grew stronger. A number of years ago (10 years I think), Jose went on a trip that turned into a journey of faith and of personal growth. About a year after he went on that trip, I told him that I use to say I loved him because he was my brother, but now I could say I loved him because he was a person I genuinely enjoyed spending time with. This was the man my children grew to know and the man they will miss desperately.
This weekend, on both Saturday and Sunday evening, I was over at my mother-in-law’s house so I could help Jose and Vic’s mom. On Saturday, purely by chance, I had Marty with me for the almost 2 hours I was there and he got to hang out and talk with the uncle he adored. And, last night, I had all three kids with me. They showed off there Christmas goodies, chattered about music, and had a great time with Jose. I am so very thankful they got to spend that time with him even if it does add to the whole unreal feeling Jose’s death has invoked…less than 24 hours ago we were talking to him, hanging out with him, and now he’s gone.
If there is someone you love, someone important to you, that you haven’t talked to or seen in a while, call them, visit them as soon as you can because it can all change in the blink of an eye.
Good bye Jose. We love you and will miss you terribly.