My dear Uncle Alfredo,
When I first met you as an adult May 30th 2008, it was at the Snowden family reunion in NJ. You extended your well defined veiny forearm out to mine to shake my hand. Though I professionally fight, my calloused enlarged hands simply disappeared when I placed them in your even bigger stronger hands. When you shook my hand, I thought the bones in my hand would turn to chalk!
All the Snowden pride I had in representing my father – your brother, oozed out of me like chocolate on a hot day. So much I wanted to ask, learn and understand…
In your eyes I not only saw the pain, history and strength within you, I felt it. I felt all of the surprise, inquiry and secrets that bubbled up in you when you saw me. I only wish we could have exchanged more of those moments.
A few weeks ago in the hospital I saw you cry as you watched your favorite war movie “the longest day” while your son played some of your favorite tunes on his phone. Briefly, I told you what I was doing, how old I was and that my daughter was born. You even rolled your eyes when I told you I professionally race and professionally fight…ha! Even in your weakest moment, I held your hand and the squeeze you imposed unto my hand was still uncanny – this time though, there were tears behind it.
You and your children went through old pics and had lots of laughs. I was eager to have some time with you but I stood out of the way and off to the side so I didn’t detract from their time with you – their one and only father.
Today, Wednesday at 1:40pm your body concluded it’s time and your spirit left this earth. So until next time mi tío dulce…
I’m not sure I’ll go to your funeral as I’d like to remember you alive. I have lit a candle for you, in your honor this evening and will let it burn out on its own.
Your loving nephew, Dimitri Alvaro Seneca Blackcloud Snowden