I will always remember you...

My Viejita lived a very long life, one totaling 94 years. She lived a full life with no regrets, and was fully engaged until the very end.

Some days even ten months since her passing are tougher than others. What I miss the most is hearing her humorous but optimistic reflections of the world.

I also miss the companionship and our friendship and not being able to share our thoughts and dreams. I will forever be grateful for her influence and the time we had.

You can only imagine all of the many wonderful and crazy memories we created when we were back home in the village. From our horseback riding adventures into the sierras ( yes, she was still riding into her 87 birthday ), to cane pole fishing, old fashion river bank cook-outs and even surviving our getting lost late one night with little over head moon light in a huge pasture… she was as a tough and fearless 110lbs. 4' 8" woman.

As I was doing my morning prayer and meditation, I also began thinking about the other important people in my life. Whose influence over the years have served to shape who I am today.

I started with My Viejita - for her unconditional love, devotion and steadfast support throughout my life. The person who also taught me to pray, to believe, have Faith, laugh and always show kindness.

My Father - his tough and formal German exterior was balanced by his quiet wisdom and caring nature. Working along side him I also came to appreciate his more subtle strengths of resourcefulness and purpose.

Tio Roberto - he was a Consul General and a high level politico in Mexico. I spent three summers at his home in Mexico City growing up and he opened my eyes to a whole new world.  He taught me about keeping up with current events, the newspaper, and engaged my intellect and interest in philosophy and politics. He taught me the importance of integrity, servant leadership and patriotism.

Maria - she gave a kid an opportunity to make enough money to bring home two beef burritos home each evening, one for my Viejita and one for me. She taught me about unconditional service to others and whose own tragic life story (she was a double amputee) made me want to pursue a career in health care.

Tia Julia - she was Tio Roberto's better half, and she gave me the opportunity to experience a few of the finer things in life, while schooling me in proper etiquette and being the perfect gentleman. She also taught me about music and dancing... and told me that all women loved to dance and if I wanted to be a great catch one day...  I needed to learn how to cumbia, corrida, salsa, waltz and foxtrot.

Antonio - my older brother and someone who was a quiet but important presence in my life. He taught me about dependability and work ethic. He also taught me about taking pride in everything one did, being persistant and developing trust.

Roberto  - my music teacher for over six years who taught me to read music, and play several brass instruments; coronet, trumpet, baritone, valve trombone and the upright euphonium. He also taught me about team work and self confidence. 

Colonel Daniels - who was the toughest but most fair minded man I ever trained with and worked for. He taught me to have the perseverance to accomplish any goal, regardless of the seemingly insurmountable obstacles. To always be honest, fair minded, and inspiring to my troops. He also taught me the importantance of leading and how a true leader always led by example. How there was a distinct difference between managing and leading. Managers he often said; were individuals who did things right, but leaders were people who did the right thing.

Rev. CT - a giant of a man I met while developing a diversity program for a fortune 500 company. His inspirational life story taught me about justice, fairness and humility. Our chance encounter and personal relationship over the last 20 years have also taught me about generosity, faith and living a spiritual life.

I hope that one day I will be able to repay others with the precious gifts I've been given. That their lessons' keep me on a path that rekindles positive influence in others.

I plan on finishing my list and then writing and thanking as many people on that list as I can. This is a great project - who would you list?

Make it a great dia!

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