Adrian came to see me about two weeks ago. He was 39 years old but a life of physical labor outdoors made him look older. He came with our mutual friend, Carlos, who was also his employer, and with his beautiful son. Adrian had been a rancher in Mexico but he needed equipment to produce enough to get by so, like many, he came to the U.S. to earn some money, planning to return to “my country” as soon as he had saved enough. But he married, had three citizen children and got a good job with my friend so dreams of “my country” started to fade.
You could see that Adrian had seen his share of manual labor. His hand, which shook mine firmly, was calloused. He wore the clothes of a man who works outdoors. He was short and compact. His 15-year-old son was already taller than he was. Adrian was smiling and his eyes looked directly into mine. His son looked at his dad with a son’s love. It was a proud day and he was there to witness it.
His boss is a contractor and Adrian, after supervising so many projects for him, was going to do his own first deal. He had saved money and had his down payment and the repair money, too. He had found a property to buy and rehab. My friend was happy and proud for his friend. His son was beaming. Adrian signed his papers with a firm hand. We were all so happy.
Then, last Sunday, a pain in his chest sent Adrian to his knees. His wife ran to the phone but he told her, “No.” It would pass. But it didn’t pass. By 3 a.m., Adrian was gone. He had insurance but he didn’t have “papers.” He and his wife knew they could face deportation if they called for help. So Adrian’s heart attack killed him at age 39.
They didn’t ask for his papers as they harvested his organs. He had checked that box on his driver’s license. They didn’t ask his wife for hers when they told her the body was missing many parts because Adrian was so young that all his organs, except his heart, were healthy. They would put marbles where his eyes had been, they said. And sew him up.
So now, three children have no father and a stay-at-home mother has to figure out a way to support them. There is that down payment money for now. The sale had not yet closed.
Would Adrian have let his wife call for help if Hillary had won the election instead of Trump? Maybe.
Would they have called if Bernie had won? My friend and I said in unison “Absolutely!”
RIP Adrian. Presente!
By Dorothy Reik