By Helena Rodriguez: Local Columnist
I ran into my comadre Connie Pacheco recently, and Connie, my daughter Laura’s godmother, told us to visit her. I planned to, but I kept putting it off. I finally went last Friday, only it was for her husband’s funeral.
My daughter’s godfather, Robert Pacheco Sr., passed away after a sudden heart attack a few weeks ago. All I kept thinking as I sat through his rosary and funeral mass is how my daughter Laura never really got a chance to get to know her godfather because I kept telling her, “We’ll go see them tomorrow.”
Tomorrow never came.
Robert and Connie, both good friends of my parents, Julio and Katie, offered to be godparents for my daughter Laura’s baptism when I was pregnant in 1990. They even purchased Laura’s baby bed and Connie threw me a baby shower at her home. After Laura was born and dunked, we stayed in close contact with the Pachecos for a few years. Robert and Connie would often visit my parents and would bring Laura gifts. In turn, we took them a fruit basket. I remember Robert being a constant jokester like my dad.
Then in 1995, Laura and I moved to Hobbs and we lost contact with Connie and Robert until this past October, when we ran into Connie at a community meeting at the Memorial Building in Portales. I hadn’t seen her in years. We hugged and she commented on how Laura was growing into a beautiful young lady.
She then told us to go visit her and Robert and we promised we would. Then a few weeks ago, I got a call from my mom telling me that Robert had died on New Year’s Day. It was even more sad because Connie had just lost her only son, Robert Jr., a few months before that.
So I finally did take Laura to see her godfather, but not in the way I would have liked.
The morale of this story is obvious. Don’t put off until tomorrow because tomorrow may never come. But even more importantly, I say, we need to slow down more so that we can make time for things we think we don’t have time for. We’ve become so busy in this fast-paced world that we tend to become absorbed in our own little worlds and lose focus with what’s really important. We lose focus with our friends and family, or in this case, extended family.
Isn’t it sad that so many family reunions occur these days at funerals?
I am glad I took Laura to the funeral though. That’s the first thing my dad told me. He said, “You need to go see Connie,” and he also said that I should let Laura miss school to go to the funeral, and so we went. I hate for Laura to miss school, but this was one of those exceptions because the way I was raised, godparents are considered family.
Also, I’ve become a little concerned in recent years over comments I’ve heard from some youth who say they would not go to a funeral. There seems to be this distance nowadays among youth when it comes to the subject of death and I don’t think that’s good. I think children need to be taught to enjoy life to the fullest, but also be taught to accept death as a natural part of that process, too. For us Christians, it’s really not death anyway.
Children need to witness the sorrows as well as joys in life and so I’m glad Laura went. At the rosary, Laura got an opportunity to learn more about the godfather she never really knew. Adam Pacheco shared some special stories about Robert and I watched Laura listen with interest. Of course it’s not the same thing as having known him in person, but I know she got a good feel for who her godfather was.
From now on though, I’m going to have to start trying to taking action today instead of saying “tomorrow,” because only God knows what the next rising of the sun holds.
Helena Rodriguez is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org