United by tragedy

By Perly Viasmensky
Today I want to share with everyone my long-term relationship with a family I have known my entire life. It is very difficult to suffer the death of a mother, I know because I have been there, but the harrowing pain of a mother who has lost a son cannot be described. When a mother loses a child, her heart is dead
forever.
I learned just yesterday of the violent killing of a young man, who I knew since he was four years old. Raul Moran Galvez, “Raulito,” as he was known since he was a little boy, was taken away from his mother too soon, I believe. He was the grandson of my good friend, Tony Galvez, a man who was not only an
institution on our native island of Cuba but also here in the United States. Tony Galvez represented Cuba as a swimmer in the Olympics, but he was also a political prisoner.
The Galvez Zaldivar family had been friends with my family long before I was born. This was a friendship that carried over from generation to generation.
Tony was only 21 years old when he married the love of his life, Nena (as he always claimed), and they had three children — Esther, Maria, and Antonio — and during the years those children became known as Esthercita, Merita, and Tonito. Esther Zaldivar (Tony’s mother) was my teacher trying to show me the
best way to sew a button hole (what did I care about buttonholes? I told her many times, but she was persistent and never gave up until I presented to her a perfect buttonhole). The truth of the matter is that never in my entire life did I try to make another buttonhole; in fact, what was the purpose when I could buy my clothes ready-to-wear?
Very unfortunately, Tonito passed away long before his time, but I still remember when my mother lived in Houston, Texas, where he was also living at the time. He used to go to my mother’s home around 3:00 in the afternoon asking, “Where is my coffee?” He meant our Cuban coffee. Nothing my mother loved more than to see him coming to her front door. When Tonito died I was in Venezuela and there is nothing I regret more than not having had the opportunity to say good-bye to him.
Merita got married very young and had two children, Cristina and Raulito. Raulito was always a character since he was a little boy; a beautiful little boy.
As happens many times in life, even if living in the same town, we might not get to see our friends. I was never in contact with Merita or her children. I knew about them through Tony, the father, because we were always in contact. For Tony Galvez, the best topic of conversation was to tell about his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
At this time of profound sorrow, I am in deep heart connection with Merita for the loss of her young son and pray to the Good Lord to bring peace to her heart.
* * * * *
Perly Viasmensky is the General Manager of the Las Vegas Tribune. She writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Perly Viasmensky, email her at pviasmensky@lasvegas tribune.com.

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