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A Voice in the Wilderness

As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness. -- William O. Douglas

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Prayer - on the anniversary of his death


Thank you for all that you did. Thank you for all that you were. Thank you for all that you are. May your loyalty and sense of justice abide in our hearts. The world has few too many people who lived a life of such integrity and principal. May our lives always be a testimony of what a great man you were. May we honor you in all those we meet and in everything we do.

I love you and I miss you,

The Prayer
Celine Dion & Andrea Bocelli

I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go.
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know

Let this be our prayer, when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe

La luce che tu dai
(the light that you give)
I pray we'll find your light
nel cuore restera
(in our hour hearts it will rest)
and hold it in our hearts.
a ricordarci te
(to remember you)
When stars go out each night,
eterna stella seiNella mia preghiera
Let this be our prayer
quanta fede c'e(How much faith there is)
when shadows fill our dayLead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe

Sognamo un mondo senza piu violenza(We dream a world without violence)
un mondo di giustizia e di speranza(a world of justice and faith)
Ognuno dia la mano al suo vicino(Everyone gives the hand to his neighbors)
Simbolo di pace, di fraternita(Symbol of peace, of fraternity)

La forza che ci da
We ask that life be kind
e il desiderio che
and watch us from above
ognuno trovi amor
We hope each soul will find
intorno e dentro se
another soul to love

The force his gives us
We ask that life be kind
is wish that
and watch us from above
everyone finds love
We hope each soul will find
around and inside
another soul to love
Let this be our prayer
Let this be our prayer, just like every child

Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe
Need to find a place, guide us with your grace
Give us faith so we'll be safe

E la fede che(It's the faith )
hai acceso in noi,(you light in us )
sento che ci salvera(I feel it will save us)

Matthew's Eulogy for Grandpa Joe
On behalf of our family, I offer you our deep gratitude for your demonstration of kindness in joining us as we celebrate my Grandpa, Jose Abran’s life this morning. We take comfort in knowing he is with his parents, Adelina and Pedro. His brother Bernabel, sister Zenaida and a host of other loved ones in the presence of, ‘Tata Dios’ as he called our creator.
Depending on who knew him, Grandpa was called; ‘Abran’ by his parents, siblings and cousins; ‘Joe’ by his co-workers, dear friends and other associates, ‘Abie’ by his wife and her family, ‘Daddy’ and ‘Grandpa.’
Regardless of what name people knew him by, there is no doubt he left a strong impression wherever he went. He was a man of fierce loyalty and integrity the likes of which is sorely lacking in public service nowadays.
Words that carried weight with my grandpa included integrity, honor and respect. While he never had a formal education beyond the third grade level, there is no doubt he was a brilliant man. Regardless of whatever issue arose, you could rest assured Grandpa would be standing up on behalf of those less fortunate – those without a voice. His experiences in the Thirties and Forties had a profound influence on his perspectives and advocacy for Collective bargaining. He committed his entire life to seeing the cause advanced even when his stances were unpopular among those who promoted themselves at the expense of their brothers in the union. Many were the times when he would come home bloodied from standing down those who sought to weaken the Union’s collective bargaining position. For any of you Ironworkers who happen to be at this gathering today, thank you for coming. Your presence means a lot to him. You are a breed of special men. He loved the union and all it stood for and he carried the same philosophy for his family as he did for his union brotherhood.
Grandpa was a tough man who gave as good as he got. Yet, despite his toughness, he was always willing to listen to an opposing argument and he would even change his position provided the alternative was logical and made sense. Grandpa invited disagreement but never tolerated intolerance. He was not a bigot and he offered all that he had either by way of talent or assistance to anyone who needed it. Grandpa was hard, but he was kind.
Three weeks ago, my Dad, Abran Jr., sat down for a lengthy discussion with Grandpa. In that time, Grandpa reminisced about his life, he reflected on those important to him and he managed to touch upon just about everyone. He spoke about friends, his brothers and sisters, cousins, nephews and nieces. He spoke about those who had already passed away and those who are still alive. He really didn’t leave anyone out. He spoke about the goodness in the world and his hope for the future. He expressed his pride in his people and his love of a kind, embracing God.
He talked about my Grandma Cila and how he appreciated all she had done for him in the time they had been both together and apart. Concluding it was time to heal the bitter wounds of a divorce that took place nearly 25 years ago, they were married in a simple but nonetheless touching ceremony. Grandpa’s foremost concern was that my Grandma be taken care of in his absence. He wanted to ensure that she would be provided for after his passing. By re-marrying her, he accomplished that. Nevertheless, I believe his desire to be re-married before he died was because he wanted to enter into eternity still married to the woman who bore his children – the woman whom he still loves very deeply.
Grandpa was a man who often expressed his deep regret at never having received a formal education. Despite having been forced to quit school in the third grade because his backbone bore more value than his mind as often is the case with poor families who eek out a living from subsistence-level farming which they relied upon to survive, Grandpa finally realized his dream because he learned how to read and write at the age of fifty-four. This accomplishment was no small feat and he showed us all the value of an education.
Grandpa also loved to hike and he had several close friends from a couple of different senior centers who he gathered with until quite recently for day trips. He hiked many trails with those friends throughout the state and the accomplishment brought him great joy was well.
As time passed, his various friends and family members died and their passing affected him deeply but he also accepted their fate as an integral part of life. As each of those family and friends died, he came closer to the realization that he too would some day die. In the end, grandpa’s cause of death was Cancer – the same illness that took his father’s, his brother’s and his sister’s lives. Grandpa suffered tremendously but through it all, he did so without any pain medication. He refused to relinquish any more power over his life to that cruel disease. According to the Hospice Care representative who helped us get through the final part of Grandpa’s ordeal, Cancer of the stomach is one of the worst in the kind of suffering it causes and the intensity of pain it brings. “Stomach Cancer,” she said, “takes no prisoners.” Never the less, Grandpa was not one to complain about it directly and even as he neared his final hours, he told my auntie Pragua about how he only asked that Tata Dios would bring his suffering to an end. He longed to be with his mother, father, brother and sister.
In their conversation, Grandpa also touched upon each of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren taking great care to detail his affection and appreciation for the light that each of them had brought into his life. He made no distinction between in-laws, their significant others and his own children. In striking detail and with great clarity, he expressed not only his pride but his concern for each and every one of them from his oldest daughter to her grandchild – the youngest member of the family. Grandpa asked my Dad to convey to each of you just how much he loved you and how incredibly proud he was of all that each of you had become. He took great joy in witnessing his family’s unity and genuine displays of mutual respect they have for one other. Because of that, he felt great relief and knew that his imminent death would not signify the end of the deep abiding love that exists between us all.
He always said,
‘You've gotta stick together.’
‘Don’t you ever let anything come between you.’
‘All you’ve got is each other and that is a beautiful thing.’



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