BY MARIA LUISA SALCINES
Last week, a dear friend lost her father to Alzheimer’s disease. He was the soul mate of his life partner, a beloved father, grandfather, great-grandfather and a member of the Cuban community that has been in the Rio Grande Valley since the early 1970s.
In those days, there were only a few Cuban families in the Valley, and our parents formed the Cuban-American Foundation to make sure those who had come from the island nation as children or born here, would not forget our roots.
Through events planned by our parents, we learned about the traditions of our heritage. If you were a child of one of these families, you never missed a Cuban party. We became family.
Last week, we said goodbye to yet another member of this group. It’s difficult to believe that we were once the young children of the group and now some of us are grandparents, burying our beloved parents.
These moments of grieving allow you to understand that the only thing that matters at the end of your life is how many people loved you for who you were.
At the end of the day, it’s not about how much money you had or the awards that hang on your wall, but more about how many hearts you touched with your love. A life well-lived is one in which you share your gifts and inspire those around you.
We enter the world with nothing, and leave with nothing, so the “stuff” does not define the worth of the person.
Life is about enjoying every moment. It’s about family gatherings and listening to the countless tales from the past that make you laugh.
When you are gone, all you leave behind are the memories that those you love hold dear in their hearts.
Life has its ups and downs, and when joyous moments arise, you have to savor them, because life is too short not to be happy.
Alzheimer’s was not able to rob my friend’s father of his Cuban chispa and sense of humor. I will always remember him happy, dancing salsa with his daughters and belting out old Cuban ballads. His family will always carry memories of his unforgettable hugs and the love and kindness he shared with them.