Yesterday marked my 2nd full week here in Bogotá, Colombia. It was the toughest day I’ve endured in what will be a 2-year stay here. Yesterday wasn’t tough because of the language barrier or the altitude or even me missing my wife and son: yesterday was tough because of loss. My wife’s aunt passed away yesterday after a courageous battle with cancer. I was so busy with work yesterday that I didn’t have an instant reaction when Mercedes broke the news to me. But when I had a chance to sit down and just take a breather, it hit me in a tender place that one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met is no longer here. It feels like a part of me was snatched away yesterday. In this week’s entry into the Flashback Friday series, I’m going to do something a little different. I’m going to write about what the late Terry Cobbs meant to me.
How I first came to meet Terry? I met Terry on June 24, 2016, at the rehearsal dinner for my wedding. She coordinated the event, selecting Olive Garden as the vendor to feed us. I remember her walking up to me and saying, “I’m Terry, Mercedes’ aunt. You can call me Aunt Terry”. She gave me this incredibly heartfelt hug…the kind that old school aunts give you at family reunions and holiday gatherings. She then told me how much it was a pleasure to finally meet me and she thanked me for the happiness that I brought into Mercedes’ life. She sat next to me at the table and that went just about as one would expect: she asked me all of the relevant questions an aunt asks of her niece’s suitor.
What it meant to me then? Simply put, she heavily influenced my perception of my wife’s family. She set the tone that they were great people to be around. She was definitely good peeps…always very kind and pleasant. I never experienced a moment of frustration or any kind of negative disposition from her. Above all, I thought she was a very interesting person. She had this spunk about her that was very lively. She didn’t mind being the center of attention and bringing you along for the ride. She was always excited…always had a smile on her face. She had a shoulder tattoo. She liked Beyoncé music and the stuff my wife listens to as well as the stuff my mother listens to like Frankie Beverly & Maze. She was logical…and I think that’s where we clicked the most. She seemed so in tune with the times. She was very easy to talk to and she checked up on me a lot. Whenever she and Mercedes were talking, I could hear her always say “how’s Juan doing”. She was just a fantastic person.
What it means to me now? For me, losing Aunt Terry definitely hurts. She was more of an aunt—by marriage—than my blood aunts over these past 5 years. I’ll miss her voice of reason. I’ll definitely miss her smile and I’ll miss her using the Love reaction on my Facebook posts and telling me that Ashton looks more like me than he does of his mother. I’ll miss the courage and strength she displayed over her war with cancer. She had an incredible will to live these last 4-5 months…so much so that she lived very free-spirited. She was determined not to let the terminal disease reduce her to nothingness. The world had its chance with her for 64 years and I hope it appreciated her while she was around. I only had the privilege of knowing her for 5 years. Such a short time but nevertheless it was a great time. I don’t think I’ll soon forget her impact.
Rest in Peace, Aunt Terry. We’ll all miss you.