Four weeks later

I was in Wal-Mart near my parents’ house when a man stopped me.

“Mija, how is your grandpa doing?”

I tried to place him. He wasn’t a neighbor. Could he have been someone my parents know from church? Maybe I did know him and just didn’t recognize him as he had aged. My parents go to weekly Mass with my grandparents and surely their friends at church knew about Papá Chepe’s condition.

I didn’t know what to say so I just said he was doing a little better, he was stable.

Still, it was weird.


It’s been 4 weeks since Papá Chepe’s stroke and heart attack. His condition has improved somewhat. After a week he was moved from the ICU to another floor where patients were in less critical condition. The following week he was moved to another hospital in the area and handled the move well. The group text message updates from my dad go from daily to once every few days as there’s less pressing news on his condition.

We try to visit on the weekends. Every visit feels like a mini family reunion which is bittersweet. For the past ten years, we’ve been gathering every last weekend in January to celebrate the grandparents’ sixty-somethingth anniversary. This year was 71.

Whenever we visit, there’s no shortage of aunts, uncles and cousins in the waiting room to watch Xavi as Sean and I go to visit my grandpa. He looks less startling than he did in those first few visits. His arms are no longer bruised from the IV needles and there are less machines humming and beeping around him. He still holds our hands and if awake, he’ll stir and acknowledge our presence. Last time, while showing him pictures of Xavi on my phone, he took the phone from me and then placed it against his chest.

Mom: Do you want to cry?
Me: Huh?
Mom: I was showing Papá Chepe the calendar and saying, “es muy bonito el niño, no?” (The boy is really cute, no?) And he would nod, “yes.” Then he took the calendar from my hands and brought it closer to his face so he could see better. Then he placed the calendar over his heart and left it there.

Sometimes he’s cuddling a “get well” teddy bear at his side and it reminds me of the stuffed snake and mongoose he used to place beneath the rear window of his old car. He liked his odd, creepy animals.


Mamá Toni is mainly in good spirits, especially when Xavi is around. She asks for him as soon as he wakes up and dances/bounces him until her arms tire.


Thanks to all who offered kind words, thoughts and prayers. We really appreciate it.


4 thoughts on “Four weeks later

  1. Hey Cindy, I know this is a late comment, but I hope your Papá Chepe is doing much better. It can be confusing and scary when a family member or loved one suffers a trauma like that. It sounds like he has an amazing support system with your family. I hope he recovers quickly. Your family is in my prayers.

  2. Thanks so much. He’s actually doing much, much better and they’re even allowing him to come home. It’ll be different, obviously, but this seemed like such a longshot just 6 weeks ago.

  3. VJ Rabuy says:

    Hi Cindy,

    I revisited your blog today and was happy to discover you had posted several entries.

    I was saddened to hear about the recent trauma suffered by your Abuelo (?) Papá Chepe in the early part of this year and I will pray for him and his rehabilitation. If I am able to rise early enough tomorrow, I will ask for prayers from those at the morning mass. When you had mentioned your family’s yearly celebration of your grandparents’ anniversary, I was impressed to learn they had celebrated 71. What a blessing! I hope you continue to make fond memories for years to come. Keep up the bloggin’!


    VJ Rabuy
    (sister of Cynthia Rabuy)

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