Tuesday, January 31, 2006


Last night at about 11:35, the phone rang in the darkness and I struggled to reach over the baby before the ringing woke her, while also trying not to wake her myself. I wondered briefly as I stared at the letters UNKNOWN CALLER flashing on the face of the phone if the culprit for this late night call was perhaps another customer on the West coast, forgetting that because it was 8:30 pm his time, this did not mean it was still 8:30 pm here on the East coast. I clicked the answer button, and heard a male voice just trailing off with my nineteen old son answering; “Un momento “. I then heard his foot steps heavy on the stairs, our door open and saw his shadow begin to pass me a second phone.

Realizing this was likely a call from Argentina, the one we have been expecting and dreading for months, Hugo took the phone instead. It was his brother-in-law David who, after announcing who was calling, said to Hugo:

“Don Erico no es con nostros nada mass.”

Don was a title of respect reserved within the family for only Hugo’s father and was used by much of the community whether talking to, or speaking of him. He was a man who commanded respect and was, if not loved by all, deeply cherished. His loss will be sorely felt, and I suspect his funeral well attended. Sadly Hugo will not be able to return to Argentina for it, and it is in this regard that we grieve most for Hugo while he grieves alone without the comfort and support of his 6 siblings and mother. They will have each other to share the memories and stories of Abuelo and the familiarity of the daily routine without his presence t0 acclimatize them to their loss. Hugo will not.

We did not have the fortune of meeting Abuelo due to the distance and expense of traveling with such a large family. We have spoken to our family in Argentina by phone, exchanged emails lately, as well as letters and photos but we have come to know Abuelo more though Hugo’s memories and stories than by correspondence.

Don Erico Teodoro Luis was the husband of Lidia for over 50 years, the father of 8 children, 7 surviving. He was the grandfather of 29 grandchildren and I am uncertain of how many great grand children. He was a tower of strength and worked hard providing for his family until his very last years. And in those last years, he suffered much, but silently, an example to all. I will be forever sad not to have been able to meet him in person in this life time.

My one comfort that I hope to be able to share with our children is that with his passing on, we can now speak to him all the time, at any time. We may not be able to hear his reply, but we can be assured of his hearing us and praying for us. In this way, he is more present to us now than he was in life. God rest his soul.

Don Erico Teodoro Luis ..... November 8, 1915 - January 30, 2006

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