Growing things

My dear son,

There are days – and today is one of them – when you never leave my mind. It seems that, no matter what I’m doing, thoughts of you overtake me, memories of you are crowded in my brain.

Today, for some reason I am remembering you and gardening. It’s funny, isn’t it? You were never the kind of person I thought of as a gardener, and were far more likely to have grease on your hands than dirt.

But I remember that day in late spring or early summer of 2018 when you were living in your motor home on Division St. You’d spent several days painting your lot number on the cement pylon, carefully getting it just right. You came over to the house with a package of assorted flower seeds to ask my advice on how to plant them. You wanted to make your home attractive and a pleasant place to be. I remember how excited you were, asking how to prepare the soil, did I think you’d gotten the right seeds, how long would it take for them to grow and bloom… oh, you were full of questions for me.

I gave you all of the information I could, you borrowed a few tools for planting, and off you went. From that day forward, you let me know almost every day how they were doing. You’d show me pictures on your phone of the tiny shoots erupting through the soil, and ask my advice on whether each one was a flower or a weed. And then one day, with the excitement of a small boy, you told me that some of them were blooming. A few days later you brought a photo as proof. You were so incredibly proud of them – and you knew for the first time, the real joy there is in seeing something you’d planted and tended bring a bit of color and beauty to your home.

I think that place and that time was the happiest you’d been in a long time. You felt independent and free. I was happy for you and thankful at the pride you were taking in the place you lived.

I’ve also been remembering how hard you worked, and how we worked so well together, to build my raised planters. Over the years you’d made things for me and helped with repairs, but when I asked you about building the planters I’d designed, I wasn’t sure you’d want to undertake the job. You weren’t only willing, you were eager! We spent untold hours at hardware stores and looking online for the things we needed, and when we finally had them all together, you carefully measured and cut the wood, and then produced your impact driver to put them together.

As you know, they work wonderfully well, and I love to tell people how I designed them and you built them. Despite your prediction – which came to pass – that the bottom wouldn’t bear the weight of the soil, we were very proud of the finished product. After the bottom did fall out of one of them and I’d gotten more lumber to brace the screening, you fortified them and we were back in business. I never look at them without remembering those days. Ben has promised to keep and use them after I’m no longer here. That’s just one of many ways you live on in this world. I am grateful for those tangible things you’ve left for me.

Thank you, my son, for these precious memories. Despite our arguments and our difficulties living together, you were always willing to help with my projects. I know we saw the worst in each other all too often, but we also had many times that we gave each other our best selves. I miss you so much and am thankful always that I am your mom.

I love you.
xoxo

Published on FB January 2, 2022


Shared with Public

One year ago today, my first-born left his earthly life behind to begin anew in the mystery we call “death.” My faith assures me that all is well, even as I grieve, even as I know none of us has the answer to what lies in the Beyond.

Perhaps, as some believe, there is nothing. Or perhaps Martin has already been reborn as someone else, to work through previous incarnations. Perhaps even as I labored to bring him into this world, another mother somewhere was grieving his death. The answer is, We just don’t know.

And so I rely on my faith, on the knowledge that each of us is unique, and my belief that our uniqueness is purposeful, and that it transcends death. I believe that somewhere, in some way, Martin exists. And I also believe – maybe “hope” is a better word – that when my time comes to leave this Earth, I will find him waiting, ready to show me around the Afterlife. He was always a wonderful tour guide, after all.

In the meantime, I console myself with the knowledge that molecules of Martin surround me. He’s in the air that I breathe and the water I drink. He isn’t gone completely away. And, of course, he lives forever in my heart and mind.

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As I write these words, I’ve just hung up the phone with the wife of a man I’ve known since he was a small child. He’ not related by blood, but by marriage, and he’s actively dying. He’s in his early 50s – a contemporary of Martin’s, and was his friend

This young man is actively dying of cancer – hours or days, but not weeks. So, even as I grieve my own child, another mom is looking down that dark road, a woman I know is trying to prepare herself for the unimaginable. A wife, a child, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends – all are facing the loss of someone dear to them.

Men, please take care of your health. Regular doctor visits are imperative. Women get into that routine early in life; men tend to put it off. Don’t do that. Have a thorough physical once a year. See your doctor about unexplained pains, or anything that seems unusual. Cancer is an insidious disease, but most can be treated if caught early enough. Not all of them, but most.

Don’t put your parents, your spouse, children, relatives, friends, through this grief. Love them enough to take care of yourself. You don’t realize how much they’ll suffer if the worst happens. You aren’t bullet-proof. None of us is.

I know.

Published on FB on 12/31/2021


Shared with Public
There is nearly always a bittersweet feeling about the end of a year. We recall the good and the bad, and if we’re a bit lucky, the good memories dominate.

I think we can all agree that none of us was really sorry a year ago to see the end of 2020. Between the pandemic, the last administration’s mishandling of it – the lies, the subterfuge, the daily death count – and the unnecessary confusion surrounding the election, it was a very bad year, indeed. It was hard to find or remember the times that gave us joy and a sense of well-being.

For my family, that was all overshadowed by the terminal illness of my oldest child, Martin. In the same year that we celebrated his 50th birthday with joy, we also observed the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with full knowledge of his impending death.
I consigned 2020 to the trash bin with a sense of relief.

On January 2, 2021, Martin left this earthly realm after three very hard days when he was in great pain, despite the heavy sedation being administered by hospice. His brothers and I kept vigil at his bedside, and were there when he opened his eyes and truly saw each of us just before he took his final breaths.

We were still deep in our grief when the trump-generated attack on the US Capitol took place. Such an unprecedented event turned our attention once again to the deep divisions within this nation. Even throughout those dark days, I missed Martin. I knew that he would have been next to me as we witnessed a history neither of us could have dreamed of.

I know in my heart that Martin would have struggled more than most with the ups and downs of pandemic restrictions/relief that were the hallmark of this year now ending. He was faithful to wear his mask during the early days, but as it dragged on, as the conventions changed almost daily, I’m not sure how compliant he would have been.

But there are also good things to recall about 2021.

Holding a place in my joyful memories is surprising Jason on his 50th birthday by showing up unannounced to everyone (except Lisa Cerezo – I know better than to pay a surprise visit to a daughter-in-law, especially when planning a week-long stay!). The look of surprise on Jason’s face when I walked in the door is forever imprinted on my mind’s eye! Even having to cut my visit short due to several of us contracting COVID-19 can’t erase that joy.

I was also thrilled to be able to resume some limited activities at my church, along with some dear friends (all of us vaccinated), and then – finally! – to be able to resume services in the church instead of on Zoom, in November. True friendships are a precious gift, and I’ve made several during the almost three years I’ve worshiped at St. Aidan’s.
Also in November I made yet another plane trip to Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with Jason, Lisa, and the boys. It was the first time in the 25 years of their marriage that I’d spent a holiday with them in their home. It was a delightful time – we made cookies, memories, and Thanksgiving dinner – and is a highlight of 2021 for me.

And now, as 2021 winds down, I have managed to get through the first anniversary of Martin’s last celebrations: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and, soon, New Year’s Eve. This will be a hard one. He always called me, wherever in the world he was, to wish me a Happy New Year – both in his time zone and in mine. It was a moment we shared for more than 30 years and I cherished it. Last year, he slept through it all as I sat at his bedside and held his hand. This year, I will be at Ben and Briana’s home, saying goodbye to the old year with them.

In 1992, my family endured the wrath of Hurricane Andrew, holding shut our front doors as the storm decimated the neighborhood. Yet, as I told several people, it wasn’t the worst thing that happened to me that year; it was also the year my mother died and that was far worse than a hurricane.

This year just ending certainly had more than its share of awfulness, but Martin’s death put all of it in perspective for me. I expect there are more dark days to come; humankind always seems to find ways to grab disruption and discontent from the jaws of joy. It’s our nature, I think.

And yet I am choosing to look for the joy. I am ever-mindful of my loss and at times I am almost overwhelmed by grief. But I also know that I am blessed. Blessed with good friends, with two amazing sons who grieve with me and look to my well-being. I’m blessed with two amazing daughters-in-law whom I cherish, and with five grandchildren who are the light of my life. I’m blessed with a sister and brother-in-law who, though far away, are still connected to my heartstrings; with a niece, nephew, extended family, and those who I call my “shirttail relatives” – not related by blood, but by choice. And I’m blessed by you, my Facebook friends. Some of you, I know, some I’ve briefly met, some I know only through your words on this medium. You bring joy to my day, even if I don’t always comment on it.

So, 2021, I bid you farewell. You delivered more than your share of pain and sorrow, but you were also a year that managed to bring joy to my world. For that, for so many things, I am thankful.

As 2021 wanes and we look forward to a new year, I say this to you, my friends: Look for the joy. There is always joy to be found, there is always hope. Sometimes you have to look really hard, but if you do, you’ll find it.

Happy New Year!
“Illegitimi non carborundum.” 😉

On Friends and Memories

Dear Martin,

Ron came over tonight. He’s been a good friend to me, and will indulge my need to remember and to talk – to a point. Tonight was one of those nights that we reminisced and even shed a tear or two. Even Ron.
A few months back, he told me that you “might” have asked him to check on me from time to time, and that he “might” have agreed. He’s been good about doing that, and it warms my heart to know that you were thinking about me even in the midst of your anguish over leaving this life. I love you

.

I’m in the hard days now, son. Your last New Year’s Eve with me, you last New Year’s Day – dates you weren’t even conscious of. I do like to think that somehow you knew, though. Not consciously, but maybe in the very deep heart part of you, the part that loved to call me, to welcome a new year with me; the part that knew I needed to be with you one last time as an old year ended and a new one began. I like to believe that. I need to believe that.


Instead of spending these last nights of 2021 by your bedside, holding your hand, anticipating the loss that we both faced, I’ll spend them remembering. I can’t seem to stop crying. I’ll never stop missing you. Did you know I was there? Could you feel how much I’ve always loved you? Could you still feel that connection? I pray that you did and that in some way you were comforted by it.

Thank you for being my son, for being concerned about me even beyond this life. For asking Ron, your friend, to look in on me. I think you knew that simple act would warm my heart.

Wherever you are, wherever death has taken you, know that my heart is there, too, and that the day will come when I will be with you once again. That someday we can be mother and son in a realm that is beyond my understanding, but which my faith and my love for you tells me must exist.

My love for you lives throughout eternity.

mom
xoxo

Thanksgiving memories

Dearest Martin,

It’s a double whammy day for me today – it’s not only your half-birthday, it’s also Thanksgiving Eve. Just a year ago, I was at home with you, cooking, preparing, working in the kitchen to prepare for what we knew would be your last Thanksgiving with us.

This year I’m in Illinois with Jason, Lisa, and the boys, preparing, cooking, and working in the kitchen, getting ready to share the food and the day with them tomorrow.

But, oh, my Marty, my boy! I’m missing you so much! These days are getting harder and harder for me. I do try to keep a happy face, but when I’m by myself, I just can’t hold back the tears. It’s hard right now to even look at pictures of you, knowing that I can’t be with you, can’t hug you or rub your shoulders; can’t laugh or argue, can’t hear your voice.

It’s awfully hard, honey, to be approaching these days of celebration, joy, and family time together, knowing that there will forever be an empty chair at my table, knowing that despite the love of your brothers, your sisters-in-law, your nephews and niece – despite all that, my first-born is gone from my sight and from my hearing.

I’m thankful to have family, and I know they miss you, too, but the emptiness in my heart and in my life is the void left by your death, and one that remains empty, even in the midst of love, laughter, and thanksgiving.

I pray that you are at peace, wherever death has taken you. I pray that love is there and that my love for you is somehow present, that you have an awareness of how much you’re missed. Not in a sad way; I don’t want you to be sad. But in a way that always lets you know how much your mom loves you, and that, despite our struggles with each other, you were always loved.

So this Thanksgiving, even as I miss you and weep for the hole that will forever be in my life, know that I will give thanks always for having given birth to you, for have shared your years, your dreams, your struggles.

I miss you, my son. I love you always.

Mom

Sweet memories

Dear Martin,

This past weekend I tackled the garage – again. I’ve been living with, pushing aside, stepping over, the remainders and reminders of your automotive obsession for almost a year now, and I needed to reclaim the space.

I’ve put together a decent set of tools for myself from all the ones I found; I’ve cleaned and sorted the hundreds of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers that you had bought, used, and misplaced over the years; and I’ve saved those things that I’m not emotionally ready to let go of yet, even though I know I’ll never use them. But this week, it was time to actually donate some things that others will be able to use and appreciate. So I packed things up, and Addison came over to lift and carry, and off we went to ReStore. They were happy to have everything we delivered, and I’m happy to have some space in the garage.

I have one box that I intend to drop off in the dead of night at AutoZone with a big “FREE” sign on it – car parts and automotive tools that none of us can use, but someone can, I’m sure. And free is always a good price!

I actually handled it all pretty well until I got to the two big boxes of nuts, bolts, screws, and washers, and then I lost it. I could see you, sitting on the floor of the garage, sorting and organizing, each kind in its own compartment. There were so many different sizes and shapes; you could have put together anything at all! I kept the washers – I’m always looking for a washer for something – but the screws, nuts, bolts, all went into a box to be given away. It made me sad to think of you sitting and sorting and then never having the chance to use them.

While I was doing all of this cleaning out and organizing, I was remembering you and recalling all of the words that you added to our family’s vocabulary. Why was that what came to mind? I don’t know. It’s funny the things I think of, the odd little things I remember at odd times, so I will remind you and anyone who might read this of the small ways you changed us and the words we use all these years later.

French fries were “sa-sas,” later changed by Jason to “rah-rahs.” Peep-bo-be for peanut butter; an elevator was avivila; Winnie-the-Pooh was Wee-po-po – which led to your dad’s nickname for you of “Wee-po.” Jason and I have laughed over “berry bows” (who knows where that came from!), and “buh-lup buh-lup” for the toll booth. And, of course, there’s your famous swear word “Sandana,” said with feeling, and which we finally translated as son of a bitch. We just let you say it since only we knew and it seemed to ease your frustrations. Perhaps, though, my favorite memory of that type was you listening to your dad speaking Spanish to Grandma Ana on the phone, and mimicking him by saying “bleeka-bleeka-bleeka,” quite convinced you were speaking Spanish, too!

I love you, honey, and I love the memories I have of you. I’m just so sorry we didn’t have time to make more of them.

Love,
Mom

When lying is loving

October 20, 2021

Dear Martin,

I’ve remembered a few things that I want to write to you before I forget them! I think about you every day, and I miss you. Sometimes I will do something, or hear something, or a memory of you will just pop up in my mind. Last night, it was the hot tub.

Before bed, I decided to soak in it for a short while. My back was hurting, and I knew the warmth of the water and the force of the jets would give me some relief. As I sat there, I remembered how badly you wanted me to have it fixed during that last couple of months of your earthly time. The heater wasn’t working, and I had ordered a repair. It seemed that was all you could think about – getting it fixed. You wanted to sit in its warmth and relax, and imagined the relief it would bring. I spoke to the hospice nurse about it, and she wanted you to first be assessed by an occupational therapist, since your balance had gotten so bad. With high hopes, you readily agreed to the assessment, even though you hated having people come into the house and “handle” you. The potential of the hot tub overcame whatever resistance you normally had.

Within a few days, the OT arrived. She first wanted to put a gait belt on you so that she could help you if you became too unsteady on your feet. You vehemently refused, saying that your walking was fine. It was obvious that it wasn’t, but her job wasn’t to argue with you, so she deferred to your wish. She followed you closely as you made your way outside to the deck. The hot tub sat empty of water, and the therapist stood by as you made your way up the two steps and climbed in. It was clear even to my untrained eye that you were too unstable to get in and out of it safely. She seemed sad as she delivered the news that you didn’t want to hear, and you responded in anger that you could be safe – if I’d just get it repaired.

The repairman had called me just a couple of days before to tell me the part had arrived, and to schedule an appointment to install it. I called them back the day of your OT assessment to tell them to hold off, and that i’d call them when I was ready to schedule. Pulling myself together, I then told you that the part wasn’t currently available, it was on backorder, and they didn’t know when it would arrive. You angrily insisted that someone, somewhere, must have it, and that I should call around until I could find someone who did. It was a hard conversation. I hated lying to you, especially since I knew how badly you wanted to immerse your poor aching body in the comfort of warm water. (As I write this, it has occurred to me that perhaps it was a subconscious desire to be in a womb-like environment, safely, comfortably cradled in warmth and safety. A fanciful thought.)

For the remainder of your lucid days, you yearned for the hot tub. It was the longest lie I’d ever sustained, and I hated every minute of it. It was something that was in my power to give to you, and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep you safe if I had it repaired, and your safety was paramount.

I’m so sorry, honey. You couldn’t understand my fear and you didn’t think I understood your yearning, so the lie was necessary. It’s still a painful memory, and one that returns each time I seek the healing power of that warm water. Just know that lying to you was an act of love, not malice.

Love always,
mom

Remembering

October 2, 2021

My dear son Martin,

Nine months ago today, you left this world and moved into another. I wish I could say that writing this on the nine-month anniversary of your death was something I had planned, but it isn’t; it was purely coincidental or serendipitous. I seldom mark the 2nd day of any month, usually realizing a day or two later that it has come and gone. But today was different. The realization of the date, and the significance of nine months came as I was preparing a cup of tea. The fact that this realization was also within 20 minutes of the time of your death also seems odd; perhaps it’s all more than a coincidence. I don’t know. And, really, it doesn’t matter.

What matters is this: For the past nine months I’ve been promising myself that i would write your story, but I’ve never known exactly how to start. I thought I might do it as a series of letters, and that might be the best, perhaps the only, way I can do it. It only matters that I do it. And maybe it only matters to me, but I have a strong determination that you be remembered. I will write your story, Martin. As l carried you in my body for nine months, as I have carried my grief for nine months, I will carry you to the world for as long as I live, and I will leave a legacy of words that tell of you – the real you, not a faultless, glorified version, but a real human being. Someone who loved and is loved, someone who could leave me exhausted and exasperated; but also someone who could make me laugh and who was never embarrassed to show love for me and for all of his family.

As I wrote that last sentence, I remembered this about you: When you and Jason were in high school, I drove you there each day. As the two of you got out of the car, you never failed to give me a kiss and say, “I love you.” At a time of life when most kids are embarrassed to even admit they have parents, you didn’t care who saw you kiss your mom as you began your day. I’ve always treasured that long-ago memory.

I will close this, my first letter to you in many years, with that precious memory. I love you, son, and I hold you in my heart.

Mom

To Martin on Mother’s Day

When the time was right,

You emerged from the safety of my womb

And began your journey.

 

When the time was right,

You left the safety of my arms,

And began to discover your world.

 

When the time was right,

You rushed from the safety of our home,

To find your own path, your own destiny.

 

But time turned against you, against me,

There was no safety.

And you stepped out of this world.

 

Out of time, out of order,

I hold only memories, safely and forever,

In my anguished heart.

Homecoming

 

On May 27, 1970, I brought Martin home for the very first time. As his father drove, I carried my precious bundle in my arms, excited and happy – and a little nervous – to begin my career as his mom.

On January 21, 2021, I brought Martin home for the very last time. As his baby brother drove, I carried my precious boy’s ashes in my lap, sad and tearful, missing him, but still his mom, still loving him, knowing that there’s little left for me to do.

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December 30-31, 2020

After Martin’s bad fall on December 30th, I was afraid for him to be by himself, afraid that he’d call for me in the night and I wouldn’t hear him. I slept directly across the hall in the family room so I could get to him quickly if he needed me. He was on full time oxygen at this point, but he was prone to take it off if it became bothersome. I slept poorly for about 4 hours. When I got up, he was groaning with every exhale, so I called hospice for direction. We increased his pain medication, and I called Ben to let him know that I needed him there. He arrived, followed soon after by Briana and the kids.

Martin on New Year’s Eve, drawn by his brother, Ben.

We also called Jason to let him know that Martin was not going to be with us much longer. Soon after, Jason emailed his flight itinerary to me, and I was relieved and thankful that he’d join us at Marty’s bedside on New Year’s Day. I prayed he wouldn’t be too late.

Briana and the children spent the day cleaning, doing laundry, and preparing meals for us. It was such a comfort to have all of them there, to know that I could stay by Martin’s side and not worry if something was needed – that loving, willing hands would take care of it all.

After dinner, Briana and the kids left to prepare for a New Year’s Eve observance with close friends, and a couple of hours later, I sent Ben on his way to be with his wife and children as we all said goodbye to 2020. I had a strong feeling that Martin wouldn’t leave me until the New Year. Ever since he had joined the Navy in 1989, he had called me from wherever he was in the world – both at midnight in his time zone and again at midnight in mine – to welcome the New Year. He would hold on, I was certain. I tuned his television to CNN and, as the ball dropped in Times Square, I welcomed the East Coast New Year with my boy, missing his ability to share it with me.

Wanting to be closer, but fearful that he’d fall on me if he tried to get up, I made a bed of sofa cushions and slept on the floor outside his room. I was close enough to respond immediately if he needed me, but at a safe enough distance that he wouldn’t fall on me if he tried to get out of bed.By that time, it was a new year on the West Coast as well, and I was thankful to know he had survived the most awful year I’ve ever known.

January 1, 2021

I knew upon waking that he wasn’t going to last much longer. Jason’s flight from Illinois was delayed due to weather, and all I could do was pray that he’d arrive in time. Ben and his family arrived later that morning, and we once again took up our vigil, interrupted only by text updates on Jason’s travel progress.

The hospice nurse arrived in the afternoon to assess him. When we discovered that he hadn’t voided his bladder since the previous day, she began to probe his abdomen. With a heartbreaking moan of pain, Martin rose to almost a sitting position and a few minutes later, we discovered that he had emptied his bladder. Although it was obvious it hurt him when the nurse probed, he seemed to relax more in his sleep. Briana, who had been cleaning, cooking, and making sure we all knew when food was ready, left those duties to join the nurse and me to help with personal care for him. He seemed much more comfortable, though his breathing was still labored despite the oxygen. Via telephone, hospice continued to coach me on administering his pain medication and clearing his mouth of secretions.

Finally, Jason’s flight arrived and Ben left to pick him up. He stopped at Ben’s to shower prior to coming to the house, in case he had any COVID contamination from his flight. I was so thankful to have all three of my boys together, especially knowing that it was for the last time.

Jason had brought his old Navy uniform, since it was our plan to bathe and dress Martin following his death and before the funeral home arrived. I appreciated Jason’s thoughtfulness; he knew what it would mean to his brother to once again, and for the final time, wear the uniform of the Navy that he had loved.

Not wanting to sleep on the floor again, but wanting to be close to him, I moved a small recliner into his room – possibly the most uncomfortable recliner I’ve ever tried to sleep in! Nevertheless, I managed to sleep for a couple of hours, holding his hand throughout the night.

January 2, 2021

I can’t really say I woke up because I hadn’t really slept, but the morning found Martin’s condition unchanged. I must have made coffee at some point, and I think I took a shower and changed my clothes. I know I’d been wearing the same clothes for a couple of days.

The house felt full of love with Jason, Ben, Briana, Addison, and Drew there to wait and watch with me. We had another visit from the hospice nurse to evaluate his condition, reaffirm that I was giving his meds properly, and to tell us what would likely happen as he approached death.

I’m sure we ate, drank, talked, and prayed, but so much is a blur to me. Late in the afternoon, I told Jason and Ben that we needed to make a list of who would need to be called – his dad and other family members and friends, and who would call each one. We decided to sit at his bedside as we made our lists, and we pulled our chairs to his bedside – Jason on one side of me and Ben on the other. As we talked and planned, Martin suddenly opened his eyes – the first time in two days – and looked at each of us in turn. It was obvious that he saw us, that he knew we were there, that he knew he was loved. He then closed his eyes and took four more breaths before going into eternity and becoming a beloved memory.

After calling hospice, I called my priest who said she would come right away. We made our other calls, and by the time Mother Esme arrived to anoint him and administer last rites, we had bathed and dressed Martin. We took turns sitting with him until the funeral home arrived and we could begin to wrap our minds around the hole that he left in our lives.

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This has been painful to write, but necessary for me as I process a month – and the rest of my life – without my oldest child. I’m grateful to all of you who have traveled this journey through my writing, and appreciate your expressions of love and kindness.

When a loved one dies, we often make the mistake of whitewashing their lives and elevating them to some kind of sainthood. Martin was no saint; there’s not a person in this family who would ever attempt to paint him as one, nor would he want to be remembered that way. He was a human being. He made mistakes. He fought and argued with me, his dad, his brothers – but we all love him and we know he loved us. We remember him as he was. The most important thing is that he be remembered. He leaves behind no children, so it’s up to us who knew him in life to carry his memory forward, to tell people that Martin Jacinto Cerezo lived, that once he touched our lives and our hearts.