Have you ever sat in silence? Absolute silence? Yeah, me neither, but that's what I've been learning to do over the last few weeks. 2013 has most definitely been off to a bit of a rough start.  There's only one event of 2013 that has really shaken me to the core. . .

For years, my grandparents were absent in my life.  For whatever the reasons, I never had the picturesque relationship with either side.  Now, that's not to say that I didn't have some kind of relationship with them, but it wasn't what I had always yearned for while I was growing up.  With that being said, I did have some amazing men in my life who might as well have been my grandfathers.

One was John Cortez.

He was like a father to my parents.  He was one of the strongest Christian men I ever had the opportunity to meet.  I remember many times that he would hug me as if I was his own blood.  He passed away years ago, but he's still on my mind and he still shapes my life.  A few years ago, in a creative writing course at Florida Southern College I was asked to write down an object that reminded me of someone that had passed away.  I remembered a customized lawn chair that had John woven through the back of the seat.  What I would give to be able to sit by him again on a lawn chair and just watch the old neighborhood turn dark as the sun set.

The other was Josue Sanchez.

Again, he was like a father to my parents.  He was your typical Cuban gentleman.  He said what he believed and he made sure you knew how much he cared for you.  He passed away just a couple of weeks ago.  He said the prayer at my quinceanera and I had always assumed that he would be there to say the prayer at my wedding.  I can't remember the last time that I saw him.  Maybe four years ago. . .maybe more. . .I wish that I had an opportunity to just feel one of his hugs that felt like the sun enveloping me on a warm summer day.

I didn't have the chance to say goodbye to either, so dealing with this loss has brought on some excruciating pain.

So, as I sit here. . .taking in an unusually warm sunny day in Charleston in the middle of winter. . .I say adios y te amo to two of the most gentle, handsome men of my life.