Ana Medina, Staff Writer

“My name is Basilio Medina. I am 50 years old. I am a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I closed my watering eyes and turned away from the TV screen as I realized that was the first time I heard his voice in nearly five years. The last time I heard that sweet, calming voice was in the parking lot of my elementary school, and a 12 year old girl had to say goodbye to her grandpa, her hero, her best friend.

Memories began to pour back into my mind as I relived the events that led to this moment. When I was 11, my grandpa was diagnosed with brain cancer, and my whole world was flipped on its head. I spent my summer at M.D. Anderson holding Grandpa’s hand before his appointments, playing on my Nintendo DS in the waiting room, teaching and beating my little brother at card games as the hours went by, and giving directions to the new families.

During the day, I was a scared girl who would put on a brave mask for her younger brother and pull him close when things turned grim, but I faced the horrors head on.

However at night, the demons toyed with my breaking heart and terrorized my sleep with nightmares.

Our final conversation was rushed and hard since I would be hours away from him. Although I can’t remember half the things I said, I am haunted by all things I didn’t. Weeks came and left and Grandpa would not let go as if he was holding on for something, or someone. After a six hour drive, I was given the opportunity to say a proper farewell while he slept, and heaven received a great man the next morning.

I open my eyes and I am back in my childhood living room. Everyone seems to disappear and I am left alone with my beloved grandpa. Holding on to the stories he recorded in 1991, I let the tears fall and touch the corners of a bittersweet smile.

I cried tears of joy and grief and smiled at the memories I was lucky to have. Stories I had heard countless times were renewed and were that much more magical coming from Grandpa. His struggles as a child once again filled me with inspiration and perseverance. The dark tale of his poverty-struck childhood, traveling through Mexico by foot, how he meet my grandma, how he knew in that moment he was going to marry her, and others that I never heard before. The one that stood out the most was his testimony on how the Lord had changed his life and made him a man worthy of love. His message shook me to the core as I recalled he was the one who taught me what it meant to be loved.

After 30 beautiful, yet short minutes, I was forced to say goodbye once more. This time I had something to remember him by, his life story.

I took one more look around the room while the screen faded to black and could not find a single dry eye. The space next to my grandma grew wider and carried a heavy weight, so I moved to sit with her. No words needed to be spoken because our faces said it all. The time for grieving was coming to a close, so it was time to move on and create new memories in honor of him.

And with a sigh, my soul finally found closure.