Saturday, April 3, 2010

His name was Juan

craving: to drive and drive and drive

His name was Juan: A little Mexican man from the south side of Del Rio, Texas. He came to my family's home one day as I was sitting outside talking to my friends. He was asking if we had work to be done to our yard. I answered, "You have to ask my parents." His smile was genuine and his walk was as if his body was frail and in some sort of discomfort. I looked over my shoulder as he walked by to ring our house door to see if he was going to the right door. He looked back and nodded, to assure me that he was.

As my mother answered the door, I could hear the mumbling of his voice and seen my mom nodding. I couldn't quite get what he was saying. All I knew from my mother's big smile was, she was happy to help him any way she could (that was my mom; helping anyone and trying to make their life easy). The next day I drove in our drive way and seen the little old man relaxing in the shade drinking a cold glass of lemonade. I knew he was now working for us as our long time gardener.  He waved and I waved back and asked him, "Como estas, Juan?" (How are you, Juan?). He knew no English and his voice was so hard  to understand at times. All I heard was a little voice reply and answer back with "Muy bien. Gracias". His smile told me everything was alright.

Juan became a part of our family, he always came every morning to beat the midday sun. It got very hot in Texas, and at that time everyone would run for the shade and take a siesta (nap) until after 5pm. As we got to know Juan a little more, we learned more about him. We would take him home to his lonely, humble house and watch him walk slowly up to it. My heart broke each time I saw him walking  alone. Most of the time he would stay at our home all day long and take his naps in our garden room, where my mom would make sure he was comfy. Over time, he became like a grandfather to me.

Mind  y'all, the work he was doing on our yard was really nothing. We would get a kick out of Juan, because most the time he would be chatting with the dogs and sitting down on the grass while watering it. We knew he just wanted to be a part of a family. He had no heavy labor. Why did he pick ours?  He always stayed for our evening meals and went back home with a nice meal for later that my mom would prepare for him. She would take no for an answer the first couple times he would refuse and be shy to take the food. After a while he would look forward to taking the food and hint to my mom, "You know your arroz con pollo ( rice with chicken) was very delicious." I knew he would eat alone at his little table late at night, when he wouldn't spend the evenings with our family. His son was all the way across the world and his daughter never kept in touch. He adopted us as his family and we took him in.

The day he came to our home looking for work was the start of a new life for Juan. The beginning of his new family.  I never knew a little Mexican man was gonna change the way I looked at life years later. He did. He changed the way I looked at life. He unknowingly did. But, I'll always be grateful that God send Juan in our lives.

On a cold spring day we went to pick him up at his home. We knew he wasn't gonna work on the yard. It was much to cool outside. It became a habit for us to just go everyday to pick him up. I'll never forget my mothers face when she walked out to the car. She was in shock and tears were streaming down her face.

I asked, "Mom, what's wrong?!" She said, "Juan passed away." Bless his heart. He passed away alone in his bed that night. We took care of everything. We had his little funeral and did everything we had to do, if one of our family members passed on. I have his face printed in my mind. I think of Juan from time to time and will never forget all the times he made me laugh and made my days so much more brighter.

I truly believe he didn't die sad. He had us to love and love him back. He was a ray of sunshine. He was our friend our family.

Final Whisper: It's never to late to say how much you care and love a person. Do it now, the impact it has on someone will last forever.


Texan Teen said...

What a sad story... but what a wonderful man he must have been.

MuslimFirst said...

Awww, what a sweet and touching story. Though he is no longer with you physically, that he's in your mind and heart, makes it a happy ending. I know it's a bit of a cliche, but its relationships, moments like this that make life so fulfilling, enriching, beautiful and hopeful, when we are surrounded by so much suffering and pain. Gave me that warm and fuzzy feeling inside. Thanks so much for sharing Sis.

Miss Dreamer said...

A very sad story indeed! I am so sorry for that sweetie, But U can see through your words that he meant a lot to you and your family. I am happy that he had you for a family back then.

If he were with you today, he would have a smile of genuine happiness on his face at knowing that he means this much to you still.

May Allah bless his soul


Umm Hamza said...

salam alaykum.
a sad but lovely heartfelt story mashallah

Mariam said...

This is really touching!! It brought tears to my eyes!

annfrendly said...

so sad..
your family are very kind hearted.
just like u.

OmAbdullah said...

Your mom sounds like she was an amazing woman by the way .... i would have loved to have met her sometime .. subhanaAllah !

OmAbdullah said...

That was a super touching story!! And I can't believe how he died, subhanaAllah! how amazing that he finally he had you all ... someone to love him! I am sure your family made his world so much brighter, subhanaAllah

Shirlzz said...

Very sad story indeed but you are right, I am sure Juan didnt die sad. Your mom is such a lovely woman! There is something about mexican moms...they are all so kind-hearted and always willing to help everyone and put a smile on their faces at all times.

Thanks for reading my blog :) I am hispanic indeed, born and raised in Los Angeles! My mother is mexican ad my dad argentinean.

I have been reading all your other blog entries and I loved the one in which you tell us how you met your in laws! so sweet!

take care missy and thanks for sharing ur experiences with us, reading you gives me hope that someday my father will accept my faith, Islam.

Norsiah Mohamed Asni said...

I;m crying here reading your post!

I have difficulties to express my love and concern to my loved ones openly through verbal and action.

How i wish I have the guts to say how much I love and care to my grandma and my parents.

Twizzle said...

as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah,

I am sitting in tears after reading this

MashaAllah how wonderful your mother was to be so generous to this man. How wonderful for him to have found a loving family he could call his own when he had been so lonely.

Although it is very sad he died alone in bed, at least he went to bed knowing he had a family to call his own. MashaAllah.


--working on 'that' post still-sorry total writer's block! but its coming along little by little. inshallah!

Elena Faletova said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zaher said...

Texan Girl in UAE. Thank you for all your comments on my blog. Wanted to drop you an email thanking you but didn't find your address any where on your page. I've just finished a tour around your blog and it's awesome. You just got a new dedicated follower.

Keep it up sister .

Amina said...

Asalamu aliaukam!

What a beautiful story!! Sometimes I find it very hard to comment on your blog because you just said it all-- so all I can say is thank you. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

If only we could all learn from it- whether by simply sharing our food with neighbors, security guards (for apartments/complexes/etc)-- more importantly, opening our hearts to strangers.

Wafa' said...

Can i say that i hate you for making me cry :(
I love you though and your lovely post. And love Juan , too .

i can not say more cuz such stories and great human connection leaves me speechless .

UmmKhaled said...

Awww what a sweet little man and lovely little story! I loved it. Your Mom was so special. You can't even imagine someone from HERE doing something so sweet and nice for others.

Xenia said...

Asalamu Alaykum. Beautiful post. Brought tears to my eyes. And you are so right. It is never too late. to tell you how much me and my daughet have got to love you and your posts.
Jzk and salaams

Texan in UAE said...

I would like to thank y'all for reading and following my blog. Everything that I write, comes from my heart. To the new followers. Y'all rock! Thanks! for making my day's brighter with y'all's blogs.. Keep them up! I love reading them.

Xenia, You very sweet and thank you. (((hugs)) to you and your sweet daughter.

wafa, love you, girlie! (((((hugs)))))

Amina, your sweet. But, please don't feel this way. Comment up a storm on my blog! I Love your comments.. (((hugs))))

OmAbdullah said...


I quote you "You can't even imagine someone from HERE doing something so sweet and nice for others"

I really think you need to re-think that statement. I can't imagine how many people you have just offended by those few words. I don't know what people you have met here, but all i know is i have met MANY wonderful people here. Many who would do something like this and more for people. Please don't group an entire population of people on the few you have met or interacted with.

Anonymous said...

God bless his soul

Anonymous said...

There are always some people who come into our lives by chance, that would leave such a great imprint so that we would never forget them. That's was such a sad, touching story. Your mother sounds like a really good sweet person.

May God forgive them and accept their good deeds ameen.

Because life is beautiful.


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