Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Para Mi Tio: Jesus Manuel "Papo" Guerra

On December 25th, 1953, Jesus Manuel Guerra was born.

The last of the Guerra-Parrilla clan, he entered screaming into the hostile circumstances that was that family's life.

He was my uncle, on my mother's side. A little after 5p today, he had passed on. He was diabetic, and had been on dialysis for the last few years. One of the medications they'd placed him on while on dialysis exarcebated the possibility of internal bleeding, and it was due to complications related to this that led to the coma he lapsed into starting last Saturday. He was taken off of life support today, he died within a half hour of that event.

Typically, this happened amidst a string of good news he'd been receiving lately: The ability to climb stairs without the aid of a walker, a more chipper disposition, and more energy than anyone in his family had seen in some time.

He was my uncle. And more, much more.

My first memory of interacting with him stems from early childhood. He was introduced to me, and, he had a large physique. Being a mere sprat, and not knowing better, I compared him to some pachyderm, elephant or hippo, I don't remember. He laughed ruefully, and said "yeah, you wait and see." He was right.

Not much stands out from the period where my mother, my two younger brothers and I lived with him, in Denver, after leaving PR and before heading to Germany.

No, the important stuff happened when I returned, and flawed as he was, as selfish and misguided as he could be, he still recognized something within me. It's likely that mom let him know of events in Germany, or he'd asked what my shiner was about, who knows? All I know is that he immediately took me under his wing, and for the next seven years he provided an emotional and literal respite from life in Colorado Springs.

He was the first to encourage my creative side. He was the one who made sure that my foundation in music appreciation was built upon properly. He was the one who made ridiculous home made movies featuring asinine and sophomoric humor (I remember yelling "my testes! my testes!" and holding up some silly putty at one point, I forget if there was a context or not). He was the first non-nuclear family member of the TBO Fan Club.

He was also the kind of uncle who'd introduce you to porn, made insane mixed tapes, gave lascivious advice in how to please women. He didn't really talk about more than that, because deep down, he was just as insecure, awkward, Catholic guilt ridden, self defeatist and pleasure denying as his teenaged nephew. He told awful jokes, gloried in puns, overexplained punchlines, and believed that he could turn a party around through his sheer exuberance. Yeah, was that uncle.

He was no saint, merely human, and because of that the unconditional love he had for me and my siblings felt all the more genuine.

And I loved him back, in all of his imperfections, his frugal nature, his plain old goofy glory. I miss him terribly.

He was my uncle. He was 53 years old.


At 9:35 AM, Blogger Joe said...

Really sorry to hear about this, Beigey. Hope you're dealing well. Love and good thoughts.

At 11:15 AM, Blogger thelyamhound said...

I'll just echo Joe, here, because really, what else can I do? Sorry to hear this.

You know where to find us.

At 3:25 PM, Anonymous ~A~ said...

I'm sorry too. :(


At 4:26 PM, Blogger rob said...


His name is Jesus, He was born on 12/25 and He spurred your creative side which causes you to write metaphysical drivel?

He'll be fine in a few of days, man. Just you see. He'll be fine.

Assholery aside, RIP, mate. This was a fantastic eulogy and you did well by Him with it. He's somewhere looking at you, thinking, "seriously...was it a pachyderm, an elephant or a hippo? What was i- Fuck it...either way, my boy Jose made out alright. But he really like Briana Banks!"

RIP, Jesus. Muchas respecto.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger Stine said...

Thank you Rob for the little bit of humorous respite.

My condolences Beigey. I will send some d's your family's way.

At 8:04 PM, Blogger mynx said...

sounds like just that uncle. the kind i would have loved to have.

i'm sorry for your loss, j. my condolences to your family.

thanks for sharing a bit of him with us.

At 3:06 PM, Blogger JJisafool said...

Most excellent eulogy of a model for uncledom.

Right proper uncles wouldn't be such without a little knuckleheadedness.

Which means no disrespect, Jesus. I'm a knucklehead myself.

At 9:47 AM, Blogger PJoyLynn said...

sending my love your way


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