Rita Mendez

Issue No. 18 • Spring 2017

The story I most want to tell right now is about my son. He died on Christmas morning, you know, and I haven't been the same since. I know he's with the lord now, but I miss him every day, it's hard not to. And he was different, he was slower than the rest of us, but he had a good heart, and I think that's all that matters, that he had a good heart. I am grateful that he is out of pain now, and I wish more people knew how good he was. He didn't have a lot of friends, because he was slower, you know, but I lived with him for 53 years and he was the best son. I just want people to know what a nice person he was, and that he always cared so much, even if he couldn't show it. And I go to my women's club and I get Pat to drive me to Publix, and your mother is living with me now, so I'm fine, I'm really fine, but the house feels so empty. What I remember most about him was how he would make the coffee every morning, but in the end, I think that's what killed him. Every morning he would wake up at 4am, because you know he had trouble sleeping, and he would make the coffee for us in the coffee maker, and then he would get dressed and sit in his chair and watch TV until it was light outside, and then he would get the newspaper, and then he would bring that to me, and we would read it together. I miss waking up and smelling that coffee and hearing his sneakers at 4:30 in the morning. On the morning he died, he woke up to make the coffee, and he took a cup to his room, where he got dressed, like always. And he sat down in his chair to watch TV, wearing his nice Christmas outfit. He was planning to go somewhere, like he was planning to go out. He died with his sneakers on, sitting right in that chair, coffee drunk. The doctors in the ambulance didn't tell us what caused his death, but it was probably a heart attack. His heart just gave out, after all of the surgeries and with the weight and the high blood pressure and the diabetes. I'm sad about it, but I'm also matter of fact. He was taken from me in the best way possible, and with his conditions, I always wanted to bury him so that I knew he would be safe before I went. I didn't want to leave him alone on this earth, and thank God I didn't have to.