We had a small family gathering last Sunday, December 16, to celebrate and commemorate, our father on what would have been his 89th birthday.It was a simple and informal gathering, which is the way my father would have preferred it.. It was a time to reflect not only on my father's life while he was alive but on all that has happened in our family since he has been gone. As you can imagine, in almost thirty-two years, as with any family, there is a lot that has happened and much that has changed.
First and foremost are his grandchildren. In the 1960's my sister Evelyn, and her then husband Fernando Loya, lost two children, Fernando Jr and Sandra Lisa,both of them to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Later, after my father's passing, my sister would remarry to Ruben Montes, and have two more children, Sunshine and Skye. Skye would live a month or two. Her daughter Sunshine, I'm happy to say is alive and well and living with her husband in Florida.
Our (Jeri and I), daughter, Meranda was just thirteen days shy of three years old when my father died. She was the only grandchild that he had a relationship with. Meranda is a single, hard working mother of three; my father's great grandchildren, Mariah, Nathan and Maddie. Nathan also passed away of SIDS, in 2001. Andrew and Savannah were born after my father died so they never had the chance to know him, though they may sometimes feel they do because we have all kept our father's memory alive through the years. Not in any morbid fashion but in the ways that we choose to remember him. Andrew, as you might have guessed was named after my father. Andrew lives in Seattle, Washington. He chose to stay there after leaving the Coast Guard in 2008. He is making his life there as a musician. Savannah was married this year to Josh Guerrero.Savannah recently received her cosmetic, beauty and hair certificate (not sure of the correct name) and will be taking the State board test and begin a career in beauty industry. They still live in southern California.
My brother Dennis and his wife Teri have a daughter, Samantha, who is 16 now.. Dennis was 16 when our father passed away. Our father never saw him as he grew into a man. They still live in Southern California. Dennis is a Community Service Officer for the Sheriff''s Department.
A lot has also happened in my mother Anita's life. My mother has had a good life but at 83 her memories have been turning back to what she remembers as the best years of her life, her life with my father. So these are some of the things he missed and some of the things we talked about. We had a few laughs at both my mother and my father's expense, looking back at some of the unintentionally funny things they've done over the years. It was a good day.
The above photo is from my brother's photo album. The photo was taken in 1975 at my wife Jeri's suggestion. This is, I'm sorry to say, the only photograph ever taken of our complete family. In all the years, with countless pictures taken, this is the only one with the five of us all together. I'm grateful my wife took that photo.
So we continue to be the De La O family, adding branches to our family tree, and we continue to keep on keeping on. Our father would be pleased.
A Photo Slideshow