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This is a 3-part series of articles I’ll be making, starting from December 3rd of 2020 until September 3rd of 2021. In exactly nine months, I lost three very close family members. Two of which were unexpected, and I wish I could have one last conversation with them. I still think about all of them nearly every day, so I thought making an article reflecting on my life with each of them would maybe help me cope with them being gone.

On December 3rd, 2020, I lost my Uncle Fred, my mom’s little brother, and only sibling. I was in the car with her when we found out, and never in my life will I be able to get the sounds of my mother’s cries out of my mind. He was only 44 years old and just one month away from being a grandpa for the second time. My uncle died of natural causes, but at the time of his passing, he was depressed. He’s gotten help throughout the years, but sometimes it’s just out of anyone’s control. I wish more than anything to have helped him more than I did, but I know there was nothing more any of us could do. I just wish he felt happy again like he used to, which kills me inside every time I think of him.

He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and was raised in East Chicago, Indiana. So, he was a midwest kid, but for anyone who met him, you would swear he was from the west coast. He was a typical Cholo, tattoos everywhere, goatee, big baggy clothes, only wore Cortez shoes, he was tall and skinny and was known everywhere as “Flaco.” And I mean, everywhere I posted a picture of him on Instagram once, and at the time, I had about 18 thousand followers and had two people message me asking if that was Flaco or how do I know him. I was amused; even people that were following me knew him. My uncle was without a doubt the life of the party everywhere; He made everything so funny and my family had the craziest stories about him growing up as they spent almost every summer in Mexico that I wish I could share with you reading this because the stories are honestly pure gold. My grandma would have dinner every Monday while I was growing up, so I was very close with him and his family since I was a baby. His oldest daughter and I were stuck to the hip growing up and even had a joint quinceañera.

It will be a year this December, and I still think about him all the time; it still feels surreal. I remember the first week of his passing; I didn’t cry because I just thought they made a mistake. Though it was extremely unlikely, I just couldn’t shake that feeling; that maybe he’s lost in a hospital somewhere because he can’t be gone. I love nothing more than my family, and I know he felt the same way. I hope that he’s still with us in a way, watching my cousin’s kids grow up and is finally happy knowing how much he is loved and missed.

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