Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Loss for our Family: The Passing of Enrique Rosas

Death is never a welcome stranger in any house of any family and for our family we are no exception. Yesterday, I got word that my dear long ailing uncle Enrique Rosas had succumbed to his condition and passed away at 10:00 AM in San Diego California. It wasn't so unexpected. His blood pressure was dropping so low during dialysis it was now only a matter of time. So when I got the news, I spent a part of the day reciting the Sutras and offering candles and incense which I will continue on with today at the Buddhist Temple in his honor as his ashes are cremated today. As a Catholic, it was not his way but he knew this was my way to pray and would take comfort that I did indeed thought of him throughout his decline and crossing over the Sea to the Shores of Liberation and beyond to a heaven he will find awaiting him.

My uncle Enrique was many things, A loving father, husband, my dad's younger brother, my godfather, and would be second father to me. A complicated man who for over forty years would have a complicated relationship with. A complex man with rather simple principles when it came to family. His love for such exceeded his own ego and personality. He was in some respects a man of mystery who never revealed quite how he truly made his money, yet always provided for his loving wife Lucha and three children Pilar, Marisol, & Enrique Jr. Unlike my own little family, Enrique made sure his family never knew a day without food or being without lights, or to go without money. Somewhat strange for a man who left the impression that he never left his house. But in the end, none of that really mattered. What mattered was he was always able to provide for his family which he loved so much.

Enrique could tell you some fantastic stories. Some of which you were never too sure if they involved truth but that being my uncle, I always gave him the benefit of a doubt. For example during the 1970's he once told me a wild story about his alleged involvement in diamond smuggling in Europe but with him you could never be sure if it was just a story or did he really make a fortune in some illicit business. In the 1980's I got into an argument with him because he promised me help to stave off an eviction but then forced me to go through some shady contact to get only half the money I needed. In the 1990's he talked much about owning a vast fishing fleet which I never saw. In fact that is the basis of my current dispute with his stubborn two younger children over some stupid boats. What they don't get is that I like boats. Hell, I watch Deadliest Catch & Wicked Tuna for fuck's sake so what's the big fucking deal? No they won't even talk to me about this like reasonable adults, just cut me off without saying a word. Rude! The whole family has been saying this past year how they are very sensitive and can't say anything to them. Really? What are they five years old? They are almost 40! Seriously, I would have liked to see a picture of one of these boats. Hell, he once offered me a job on one of them with as he put it “with cousins I never knew existed” which I reluctantly passed on in my youth long before I knew what kind of money was involved with them. But to my cousins, they will always see me as nothing more than an opportunist shaking him down for money and then accusing him of being a liar thus taking offense. What they will never understand is that from age 5 all the way until I turned 40, he always told me if I needed help to please come to him first and no one else. TRUTH! But hey, such is family bullshit and because of such I have not been welcome to visit my uncle in his last year of life. This falls on his two youngest children and that is all I will say on it until I can find peace and let it go.

My uncle was no different than the other of the Rosas men who are ruled by their passions and often their tempers. For much of my life he was either estranged with my grandfather, or my own father, (and sometimes his drama prone sister Rosa Mendoza), or with even myself. He prided himself that he could care for his family and often mocked my father's hard fought achievements with a degree of jealousy yet at the same time loved my dad. He had many strong opinions and yet compassion for my struggles which led him to often defend me more than so often when I became estranged from my own father. With my uncle, no matter how much I pissed him off his door was always open to me and I always had a family in Tijuana. Now that door is closed. I will miss mi' Padrino. He always wished he could have raised me and offered to do so many times throughout my life. While in life he could not understand who I was, he could recognize after so many years of hardship where I was going and expressed pride and comfort that I would indeed find my way. While his guidance was rare and often useless, his heart was always in the right place. In my life he made me over 100 promises and only kept three of them. But one thing he never waivered on was his love for his quasai-tragic nephew who writes to you today.

I will miss my Uncle. I miss him already. I will miss the sound of his deep voice much like the smell of his old pipe he used to smoke out of in my youth which he had long given up before succumbing to the deteriorating effects of diabetes and the daily rigors of dialysis. Much like his father before him who was in and out of hospitals for the last four years of his life, he too suffered a great deal. He had often talked about losing his mother at the age of seven and how it affected him. How he had been so angry with my father for bringing her ashes to be with my grandfather so they could be together for once and all. Now, that is immaterial. He is with his parents now. I could see him for a moment being that seven year old boy returning home to his beautiful mother Rosa Blanca who died from Lou Gehrig's Disease at the young age of 33. I can see him jumping into her arms and my dear grandfather smiling from a backlit door frame. Their suffering is now over. I will miss my uncle, mi' Tio' Enrique, Mi Pardino. I extend my condolences to mi' Tia' Lucha, mi' prima Pilar, and to her siblings Marisol & Enrique Jr. As my own parents get older and health become questionable, I feel for their loss and that of my dear father's as I deal with my own. Vaya con dios Tio'. I will see you again.

Enrique Rosas
Via con dios Tio'.

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