Like every New Year’s Eve, we gather around our loved ones, stay up until midnight and make resolutions for the next 12 months. The new year is supposed to bring us hope, joy and memories. This year on NYE I gathered with my wife, son, niece, nephew, brother-in-law, sister-in-law and close friends. Less than two hours away my mother-in-law and father-in-law have their own tradition in the Bay Area. They gather with their close friends and ring in the new year as they have since 2009. Little did we all know that this would be the last “traditional” New Year’s Eve for all of us.
My father-in-law, Louis Silvia, fell ill over the holiday but that did not stop him and my mother-in-law (Lynda) from celebrating the new year. On New Year’s Day, the two went to Monterey together. It was an annual trip that two have made to celebrate their anniversary. Upon arrival Louis began to fill chills and not feeling himself. The two checked into their hotel and the next day he was feeling well enough to visit local missions and attempted to finish the trip. Later that day he was not feeling well at all and the two decided to cut their trip short. They checked into the hospital where his condition worsened and he was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit on Jan. 6.
Tuesday, Jan. 8 was the day his fight ended. We were all there at the hospital and though it seemed grim, I had hope that his condition would take a turn for the better. Louis was a fighter; he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in November and was scheduled to have it removed in February. However, around 8:40 p.m. the terrifying alert was announced “Code Blue in room 234”. They performed CPR on him for close to a half hour and around 9:26 p.m. he had passed.
That was not the way I want to remember him; tubes down his throat and up his noise. For me, Louis was a gentle, fun loving guy. His personality and laugh was very infectious. He loved to laugh, he loved the Lord and more so; he loved his family.
The first time I ever met him, I very nervous. I was between jobs; and the first time I saw him was after he got home from a long day and night at work. He worked in the Bay Area and came home around 10:30 p.m. I got off the couch and shook his hand and introduced myself. He looked at me and said “Hello”. From that moment on he welcomed me and later that week I came over for Thanksgiving. That was in 2011.
Some of my favorite memories of him included the time we went to go pick up my wife’s engagement ring. It was just the two of us in the car and to be honest it was a little intimidating for me. I had not spent much time alone with him at that point and the car ride was rather quiet early. However, we began talking about music and other interests. It was our first bonding moment where it was just the two of us. The car ride home he said: “The tiny box represents so much. It is more than just a ring, but it is a promise; and a symbol of your love and bond to my daughter.” I’m not sure I ever shared that until now, but I will never forget that.
His love for Lynda was unlike any other. The two were married for 47 years and they acted like newlyweds every time you saw them together. I want to live my life like Louis did. He had faith in the Lord, a hard worker, an honest man and a family man. I miss him every day but I want to live by his example, and teach my son as much as I can and keep his memory alive. Louis may be gone, but his values and laughter will live on forever. Through his family and friends.
Dennis D. Cruz is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.