Miguel Manuel San Miguel

I don’t want to just state the facts of Manolito’s (that is how his family call him, but you can call him Manny) life. I want to share a few thoughts from someone who loved him and one he loved.

Like all things on this blessed earth that we walk on, Manolito had a beginning on May 27th of 1955. His mother; Nydia and his father; Manuel among other things were the soloists of the University of Puerto Rico Choir so Manolito grew up in a very artistic and bohemian environment in San Juan, PR.

Through life, Manolito will face many health challenges. The first of which being that at the age of 5 he contracted poliomielitis, an illness that would shape the rest of his life. His passion, like his father’s, was in arts and music but he decided to pursue a more “practical” career and following his thirst for justice he became a lawyer (although never barred) in May of 1983 when he graduated.

Love found him for the first time at a young age and he married Lissette, an amazing young woman with whom he shared the joy of his first son Felix. You could say that Manolito and Felix grew together; Manolito as a father and Felix as his best friend and accomplice of many adventures. Lately you could have found them talking for hours on the phone.

But life never goes on a straight line and a career change brought Manolito to work with people with disabilities as a coordinator for adapted recreational activities. He made this his mission in life. Advocating for the deaf, blind, wheelchair bound, mentally disabled providing them with the chance to learn to swim, fish, camp out and to “live la vida loca” a little. One of his clients was his Brother-in-law to be. I will be eternally in debt to my brother Josue – at the time just a mere boy with “Down” Syndrome- because he brought us together. So like that, another chapter started in Manolito’s life.

His knowledge of law and justice never left him but he couldn’t see how humans could ever accomplish justice and righteousness. In the summer of 1988 he attended a JW convention with the theme “Divine Justice”. Alas! Here is the answer. With that he became an avid Bible student and in March of 1989 he dedicated his life as one of Jehovah’s people. His faith in Jehovah’s promise of a new world of justice and no sickness will become his “North Star” till the day he dies.

Shortly after, Manolito and I vowed to spend our lives together. The union of two very imperfect people that shared a common faith and love. We weren’t strangers to struggles and want…. Isn’t that the case for many of us? So naturally, we sought the wisdom needed through God’s written word, the Bible.

Love is patient, kind, does not keep account of injury, bears all things. From that love we grew a family with our two daughters Anna and Sara. Our family, now complete with them oh …. and the constant parade of pets.

Love is a dynamic force and it takes different shapes during the course of the life of a couple. If I was to color it I would say that love goes from red to a deep blue and purple like a sunset then it turns yellow and is warm like the morning. For 33 years we shared happiness, sorrows, hopes…

You are here with us because you too met Manolito. Your stories are part of a quilt of memories that we are going to use to cover ourselves whenever his name is mentioned.

What will I remember the most about Manolito? ……. I choose to remember watching the sun go down from our living room sliding doors. How silly we got after a cup of sweet wine. How the four of us will burst out singing as we rode down the road. The laborious hours in the kitchen cooking one of his complicated recipes that will culminate in an amazing dinner.

I will remember his eyes, kind and deep, the soft touch of his hand in mine. How I got annoyed at his silly jokes. His company when we spent hours watching TCM or F1 or NFL or NBA. Dozing off in the middle of a movie. I will miss him calling me when he needed help…..

Today my heart (and probably yours too) breaks and rejoices in one confusing moment but one thing is for sure..I am very proud that he kept his faith strong till the end when he told me “Don’t worry, our hope is strong”.

We will be ready to receive him, walking with others that had just woken up from death and inviting them to drink coffee at home.

I am looking forward to that day, aren’t you?

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