Dear Grandpa by Promise Laino

Joaquin

I was born and raised in the beautiful country of Spain in the small town of Alba de Yeltes. I had 4 siblings, two sisters and two brothers, and only my mother after my dad sadly passed away from cancer when I was 14. I had always been a hard worker, spending my days in the field from childhood to adulthood. At the age of 20, I made the decision to travel to the United States with a work Visa and see what the American Dream was like. I worked caring for sheep while I was in the process of being able to become a Citizen of the United States. I had met and married a beautiful woman. We had two beautiful children, and we were very lucky to have bought 28 acres of land, where I later built our home with my own two hands sitting on top of a boulder. It was in a place called Rist Canyon, in Bellvue, CO. We lived there for a long time while I worked for Larimer County road and Bridge. I worked hard to take care of my family and maintain a good work ethic and reputation, never missing one day, for 35 years I might add. 

With the expansion of our family on my son’s side, my wife became concerned with the safety of the mountains and our granddaughter. My first granddaughter Promise spent days and hours with me in the mountains. We tended to the sheep together; we grabbed the eggs from the pen together. I walked her up the mountain top to show her my peach and plum trees, and although I wasn’t her grandpa by blood I loved her as if she were my own anyhow. 

Our sheep had had mountain lion attacks and bear attacks before, but we noticed they had been coming closer to our home. During a family gathering one day, all of us adults ran outside with guns and shot and killed a mountain lion that had been too close to our home for comfort. After having the poor animal picked up, I remember my granddaughter Promise wanting to pet it as it lay in the back of the truck. They allowed her to, and while she was fascinated by it, I couldn’t help but think what might’ve happened if she had been outside. I also had been expecting another new grandbaby and with this all happening, my wife and I made the decision to sell our home and move down the canyon about an hour away to Pierce, CO.  We bought 42 acres of land and knew that this was a much safer place. We had been lucky because years down the road our home up in the canyon had unfortunately burned down in a mountain fire. 

In our new home, on our new land, we expanded our agriculture, our livestock, and our family. I now had 4 granddaughters from my son and at some points when they struggled they lived with us and so I built onto my home, a section for them to live comfortably. I made it my priority to take care of my land, my animals, and my family so that when I was gone one day they would have everything I left behind for them. 

I had never been sick before. I drank 3 small glasses of red wine for my heart daily and I ate well. I went to the doctors as needed, and my daughter-in-law had worked in the medical field and tended to me anytime I needed. Over the years, even when I was dying, doctors had always told me I was built like a Cadillac. Then the year 2019 rolled around. I began to notice that I wasn’t myself any longer. I used to spend my whole day outside from sunup to sundown. I birthed sheep, I bottle fed animals, I grew vegetables, and so much more. Things were changing though. I began to run out of energy quickly throughout the day and began sleeping in later and going inside sooner. My wife and daughter-in-law suggested I go see my doctor and so that’s what I did. 

Everything happened so quickly. One moment I was fine, the next my heart was failing and I knew I wouldn’t be here much longer. All of my family, especially mis hijas, were going to hurt and I knew that. Promise had been expecting a baby within the next month and I was eager to meet her, but I would never get the opportunity. Trinity was growing into a beautiful young woman and getting ready to start driving. I had taught Promise and would’ve loved to have taught her. Tess was entering high school and I knew she’d have rough days where she’d want to just talk to me. Luci was the baby of the family and loved talking to me about all things farm and horse-related. I had been so proud of them all.

I made my decision when given two options to say goodbye to everyone. I knew they were all hurting, I knew I had another option, but I would’ve suffered more that way. I had established everything I needed to for them all to be okay and take care of one another. I was a simple poor man from Spain, and I made a story for myself that my family can now remember. I said goodbye on October 22nd and with my passing, I left all of my family with good memories and happy stories. 

Promise

Dear Grandpa,

It has been well over a year since I last heard your voice, saw your smile, and held your hand. I often find myself still crying, sometimes tears of sadness and other times tears of joy as I reminisce about the time we spent together. I was so blessed to have had you in my life even when you did not have to be. You took me under your wing and guided me through life. I want you to know that I am not angry with the decision you made. I am so fortunate to have had you as my grandfather and to have created memories with you. Your great grand baby’s name is EmberLei Fuentes, and while I may have never had the opportunity to have your last name I made sure that she got it. You created a life for all of us and left behind your legacy. I promise that your family will carry that on and honor you each day of our lives. With that being said, grandpa, we love you, I love you, and I miss you so much.

P.S. We are taking very good care of grandma.