If anybody asks me, I will tell them that Gregorio Montalvo was my grandfather. He was actually my great-grandfather, but I was raised with him being the closest thing to a real grandfather I’ve ever had. That man was there when I was born. He was there when I needed him. He was there when I turned 15. He was always there and he never thought twice about it. He may not have always been there physically, but he was always just a phone call away. Now, he isn’t here physically. I can’t see him or touch him, but he’s still here with me. I always think about him and I will always love him. He will always be in my heart and that is something that will never change.
My grandfather is one of the men that I look up to the most and I feel so honored to have been able to spend nearly 17 years of my life with him. He was a man who fought in WWII, in the Korean War, and against cancer, surviving all three. He was a man who had to see the lives of his son and grandson end. He was a man full of pride and strength, but he always had more love in him than anything else. He lived a good, long life and I should be grateful for having been able to know him so well… and I am. It hurts that he’s no longer here, but I can’t be selfish. He needed to rest and he needed to be ok. He is now and I’m thankful for that. Like I said, it hurts to not have him here and it hurts to know that his big hugs won’t be felt again, but I know he’s watching over me. He wouldn’t want to see me crying or sad because he’s gone, but sometimes I just can’t help it. It will always hurt, even though I know he’s right here with me.
I’ll never forget his infinite love for pancakes. I’ll never forget his endless bickering with my Mami Tita that simply made us all burst into laughter. I’ll never forget his cheerful whistling or his infamous turkey gobble. I can still see him with an old wife beater, some shorts, and sandals, sitting on his couch watching TV. I can still hear his deep voice dandome la bendicion. I can still feel his big arms wrapped around me, giving me a hug. Those are things that I’ll never forget because those are all a part of him. I will never forget him, my beloved grandfather, my beloved Papito. The only thing I can say now is that I love him so much and I look forward to being able to hug him again.