(note – just found this essay I wrote as a Facebook post 4 years ago in tribute to my Great-Uncle Ignacio “Nacho” Almaguer, who had died a few nights earlier. I’m not sure I want to go for 90 anymore, but 75 might be a good time to start listening to those records and farting with friends)
January 3, 2014 · Philadelphia, PA ·
Remembering my Great-Uncle Nacho. He was a pain in the ass, complicated, a hoarder, had delusions that the Russian Mob was after him. He died on New Year’s Eve after a year or so of being in and out of the hospital, always refusing to comply with the recommendations that his doctors would give. But – he was also a person who charmed my great-aunt Flora into marrying him, a guy who grew up with probably not a lot of money in Mexico and learned 5 languages and climbed rocks and mountains. (literally. like, there’s photos of him taking white guys on tours. Black and white photos, if that means anything.) His mom was supposedly a psychic.
Aunt Flora is also a complicated lady and I like her a lot despite her complications. She had a lot of rich and powerful friends when she was young, traveled the world, and now lives in Chicago where my mom and stepdad are trying to help her figure out what she pays for her apartment and whether or not she can afford it. She never dealt with the bills. It seems tough to keep up appearances as we get older and I’m thankful that someone somewhere taught me to be as o p e n as possible, warts and all, to everyone who really matters. There’s no reason to be ashamed when things get out of hand. Just ask for help, and fix it.
Nacho passed away on New Year’s Eve. The funeral’s tomorrow in the suburbs of Chicago. It’s just a one-day thing and I’m on shift this weekend for my job so I won’t be going. Talked to Flora today and she seemed tired – had a bunch of phone calls from friends, former co-workers, children of friends, etc, that she dealt with. She’s also dealing with her own health issues, being 84 (shh! don’t tell her I told you her age!).
My grandmother is still alive, but she has dementia and it’s hard to tell what her brain registers. She was in some good spirits when I saw her on my Chicagoland visit, but again, I’m not sure if she knows anyone around her now. She really seems to be calm and like the assisted living facility that she lives in though, and her caretakers are all great.
No one wants the inconvenience of getting old, or having older people in your family, but guess what! It happens to all of us. I hope that wherever I am at 90, it’s surrounded by good records, warm people who humor me, and cats. And I hope you’re there with me too. Because I’ll need someone to blame the farting on.