Tag Archives: legacy

He was a Great Man

This upcoming Memorial Day as I remember Florentino Mendez, my mind goes back to when I was a little girl sitting at my grandpa’s feet.

I sat Indian-style and watched him scatter newspapers on the floor, laying out the shoes in a neat row and placing an old wooden box beside them. Inside the box, he kept brushes, old socks, rags, and cans of black polish.

“Do you know what I’m getting ready to do, young lady?” Grandpa asked.  great grandpa

“You gonna spit and shine shoes,” I squealed.

With one hand in a shoe and the other in an old sock, Grandpa rubbed the wax back and forth, polishing the leather. I never tired from following his hands, moving like flashes of lightning.

He always rose before dawn and believed in the saying, “The early bird catches the worm.” He prided himself on discipline, stemming from his years in the military. On a weekly basis, he cleaned our shoes, the way he said he had learned in the Army.

He walked me to school and back, logging in about a mile and a half each way. Rain or shine, I counted on his presence waiting for me after class.

I loved him dearly. Always clean-shaven, he smelled like Mennen Skin Bracer and Vitalis. He was average in stature, had fair skin, gray hair, and quick eyes with a broad smile and a jolly laugh that made his belly jiggle.

Years later as an adult, I would never forget how an unsettling aura of death struck me when I first walked into the hospital room. I shuddered and gingerly approached the form buried under layers of covers. The head of his bed was raised, the profile barely recognizable to me.

“Grandpa…?”

A pale, thin face moved; eyes hardly opened. Those eyes, once sharp, were feeble and dull. Yellow paper skin hung loosely from bones. Large purple veins ran up and down his hands like a roadmap. Those hands, once strong and beefy, quick and nimble, felt cold, boney and fragile. The same hands once steady in his military days, guided, and comforted me in my youth, were the same ones I tenderly held now.

I struggled to keep my composure. I knew he was weary. To see him lose his dignity pained me, lying there so helpless, a prisoner in his own body.

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My 19-year-old grandpa, Florentino Mendez – 1916

Lost in my thoughts, my eyes roamed and paused on Grandpa’s wristwatch on the bedside table.

Time. I picked up the watch and held it. Tick-tock. Precious time. Tick-tock. Running out. As Grandpa dozed off, I sat at his bedside, praying for God to hush the raging of my heart.

Two months after his eighty-fourth birthday, my beloved grandpa sadly passed away.

Today, I remember Florentino Mendez: veteran, brother, husband, father, grandpa, uncle, friend – he was a great man – I honor his life.

© M.A. Perez 2017, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Legacy, Memoir, Memorial Day tribute, veteran

Crossing Over

Our dear Elizabeth crossed over to the other side this morning. Even though you try to prepare yourself for the inevitable, reality in losing a loved one and having to say goodbye, still has a way of slapping you in the face! Never mind that she was 105-years young, it was hard to see her go.

Many of you know that Elizabeth was not my mother but a dear, precious friend of some 30+ years; however, I realize that many of you don’t know that. I got to know her intimately these past few years while my husband, daughter and I cared for her around the clock. She was like a grandmother to me, but she was more like a mother to my husband (he had lost his own mother at age 15). The picture I have of my husband saying goodbye to Elizabeth this morning, I will never forget. I love the way he loved her!

Elizabeth’s feistiness, wit and humor held her in good stead for all these many years. She was easy to love, a precious gem to all who knew her. She loved life, she loved people, and she loved her God.

In the days ahead, much preparation needs to be done. We are also planning a Memorial Service at our church next week. Elizabeth’s funeral will be held in Tulsa as she wished.

I thank everyone for their love and support extended our way. I thank God for the Blessed Hope that one day we shall see our loved ones again that went on ahead to glory! Imagine the grand reunion Elizabeth is having with her Savior, family and friends!

I have blogged about Elizabeth several times. Here is one of my post about her.

So long for now Elizabeth. May you rest in peace with no more pain, dancing with your Father God in fields of grace. Until we meet again.

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Bronze sculpture in the Spilsbury Mortuary in St. George, UT

In Loving Memory …

Elizabeth Bearden

January 6, 1911 – August 12, 2016

 

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Filed under Blessed Hope, In Loving Memory, Loss of a Loved One

Circle of Life

Once upon a time there lived a lonely girl. Intimately acquainted with an empty stomach, she carried hunger in her heart, starving for love.

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In spite of her destitute and inner turmoil, she grew up and broke away, searching for love. Eventually she’d marry and have a family of her own, never dreaming how they’d fill the void in her heart.

 

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In the circle of life, her little ones grew to have little ones of their own.

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She felt young at heart again, and couldn’t imagine life without them.

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And the not-so-little-girl wasn’t lonely anymore.

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The end.

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Filed under Life, musing

Oh, Those Golden, Centenarian Years!

I told this story before and it bears repeating.

The lessons in life with its many twists and turns has been an amazing journey. I often think: What legacy will I leave behind when I’m finished with this race? What I do today, will it count for something tomorrow? When I’m long gone, will I merely be a faded memory, or burn in someone’s heart? Will my deeds be forgotten? Lost? Or buried?

I’ve read about some incredible women. These women did not allow age, status, limitations, or even imprisonment to keep them from their destiny. As fleeting as it is, they knew their self-worth and value in this life. Women like Mother Teresa who gave 50 years of service to the poor, the sick, the orphans, and the dying in Calcutta India. Women like Corrie ten Boom who spent 10 months in a concentration camp, who at the age of 53 began a worldwide ministry that took her into more than 60 countries in the next 33 years of her life. I didn’t know them personally, but they were admirable, inspirational women.

They made a difference.

Many endearing women have come into my life, not only as friends, but as mothers, sisters, and grandmothers. While each embodies unique gifting, each holds a special place in my heart.

One such individual is Elizabeth. She loves people. She is full of life, charm and wit. She believes in having a 90% attitude and 10% circumstance. She loves to laugh, crack a joke, watch the Kentucky Derby, share about her travels around the world, read anything that takes her miles away, watch The Lawrence Welk Show, and go right on dancing if only she could.

I’ve known her for over thirty years, but within the past couple of years, she’s been unable to use her walker. She cannot walk anymore, nor can she read as once before. Yes, she sometimes forgets, yet her mind is still intact; her wits still sharp, as well as her tongue. My husband, daughter and I take care of her. We have a care provider that also comes in. While we attend to Elizabeth’s daily needs, she is teaching us all about life.

And did I mention a horse and buggy rushed her to the hospital and that she was one-years-old during the Titanic? That’s right, Elizabeth was born in 1911. You do the math.

To know Elizabeth is to have your life enriched.

As I age, may I emulate her love and passion for living.

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Bind us together, Lord …

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Aging, Golden Years