My dad has five brothers. I knew four of them as Tío Cheo, Tío Sami, Tío German, and Tío Heri. But only one was ever simply called Tío. That was Ramón. For the longest time, I thought his name was actually Tío, and I remember my surprise when I learned that Tío was also the Spanish word for uncle! Tío always greeted me with a "¿Como 'stas? Dame un besito." Give me a little kiss. Always sharply dressed, a smile spread across his face, there was no way you could refuse.
Tío was technically my father's uncle. My grandmother raised him with her own children after their parents died. She was very much his mother. And he was very much a big brother to my father. My Tío.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, I will be at Tío's funeral. I don't know if it has sunk in yet that I won't see him anymore. He's kind of like a Cheshire Cat. His smile lingers on. I can see it in the faces of my family.
picture by Lisa
Te amo, Tío. Muchos besitos para ti.