My Abuelito, My Abuelito Querido

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  Lelo, who is always working at the hospital or at the farm.  Lelo, who at 81 years still does surgeries, every week.  Lelo, who have had three open-heart surgeries in 80 years.  Lelo, who still refuses to stop driving, unless he is going to the farm.  Lelo, who works from Monday to Friday, and spends his weekends at the farm, every single weekend, no exception.  Lelo, who now walks slowly, and still gets tired.

     “Estoy en el hospital con Lelo, está enfermo,” my mom texted me, while I was at school. “Pero que le paso?” I texted my mom and dad.  

     Lelo, who raised my father and uncle alone, because my grandma died when he was 37.  My father was three, and my uncle was four.  Because losing my grandmother wasn’t enough, he had to get open – heart surgery when my dad and uncle were young, probably teenagers.

     Lelo, who entered with my mom to the operating room when I was about to be born.  Lelo, who was the first person to carry me, because my dad was in Chile.  Lelo, who a few months after I was born, his heart stopped again; taking him to have  second open – heart surgery.  

     Lelo, who was in a very important hospital for me, and my family.  The hospital in which there is a conference room with the name of my grandmother, to honor her.  Lelo, who after attending a patient in the Hospital Santo Tomas, his heart missed again.  By this time, a third open – heart surgery, my brave, hard worker abuelo, with three open heart surgeries.

     Lelo, who was going to travel with me for carnivals.  Lelo, whose heart held him back again when we were going to travel.  Lelo, who now has a major heart structure deteriorated, my abuelo, with a heart structure deteriorated, even that sounds alarming. I can remember this moment perfectly, it was a normal Thursday night, or so I thought. My dad was doing a surgery, I texted him: “Puedo ir a casa de Maria Jose mañana?,” I asked.  He answered immediately, “No.”  Just like that, with no explanation. I couldn’t understand why?, what was the problem?.  The next morning, while I was getting ready for school, I asked him again: “Puedo ir a casa de Maria Jose.” Same answer: “No…”  Then he explained: “quiero que vayas a pasar tiempo con Lelo.”  I knew Lelo was at the hospital, but I didn’t knew why was my Dad so desperate.  “Lelo tiene una estructura importante del corazón muy deteriorada, pero que podemos hacer, ya está mayor, con tres cirugías de corazón abierto,” my dad said, with watery, red eyes.  “Y no se puede hacer alguna cirugía o tratamiento?” I asked.  My dad explained to me, there’s no medicine, surgery, or treatment to fix my abuelito’s heart.  “Quiero que pases todo el tiempo posible con Lelo, en cualquier momento se nos va.”  That was all I needed to start crying, crying like a river without control.

     “Ahora viviré hasta los 105 años,” mi abuelito querido used to say after his third open- heart surgery.  Now I notice, that since the moment my dad told him that he had a major heart structure deteriorated, I had never heard him say it again.