Happy in Heaven: A grandson’s tribute

Photo Manny B. Sandoval: Gilbert "PeeWee" Lopez pictured with his beloved grandchildren Ashley Gallardo and Manny Sandoval.
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I write this dedication in memory of my Grandpa, Gilbert “PeeWee” Lopez, 86, a native of San Bernardino (September 17, 1934 – March 23, 2021).

Although family and friends are the heart of you, I know you’re happy in heaven.

You put so much in my heart, from childhood to adulthood, that I couldn’t ask for more.

All of the memories, the good, the bad, the funny, the happy, the sad; are forever engrained to my core.

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Family is home…and you will always be home to me.

Grandparents are forever, and I will forever remember the times we spent together; like visiting the Chino auction, experiencing my first Pow wow…simple things, like going along for the ride while you and Grandma paid the bills and being in the way, thinking I was helping in the kitchen while you were cooking or that time we were sitting in your living room and you told me that you used to pick apples at Los Rios Rancho in Oak Glen…I am grateful for these memories.

For eternity, I will remember your voice and all the Grandpa PeeWee phrases you used to say, like anytime you called me or I called you and you’d answer by saying, “Hola Hola” and when we’d hang up you’d sign off by saying “Alrighto Fido.”

Grandpa, you were the original prankster and I already miss the playful and sarcastic banter we shared together over the years. Like when you’d always tell me, “Somebody needs a haircut,” but then I got older, I caught on and started telling you, “Somebody needs a haircut”…when I was lucky enough to catch you with long hair.

Before you left, I know life was tough, especially due to the frustration you felt not being able to move around freely.

Since you went to heaven, you’ve visited me in my dreams and in my dream when I was helping you get into bed, as we’ve done before, “You looked at me and said, “Look mijo, I can move my legs now.”

That brought me peace, knowing you’re able to move freely again in heaven.

For the rest of my life, I’ll keep a piece of you in my heart; along with a special name you gave me when I was just a baby…PELOS (which means hair).

All of my cousins know exactly what I’m talking about, as we all have a personalized nickname that is attributed to a distinguishing feature or quality that stood out to him. If you were dark, you’re nickname became “Darkie” or if you had big ears your name became “Orejone”…I guess for me, it meant that I had big wild hair. But it was always in good fun and my cousins and I will forever bond over our nicknames and laugh amongst one another. So for that, thank you, grandpa.

Life goes by so fast and over the past couple of months, like many of you, I spent much time reflecting.

I understand that family will always be my #1 and is more important to me than a job, money, education, and anything else; and I happily attribute that quality to my grandparents for fostering a grateful, tight-knit family who is there for one another, time after time. All of us are forever connected because of you.

Grandpa, out of all the experiences I’ve had in this life, the best ones have been with family, so I want to thank you for giving me the best gift I could have ever asked for…the love of my parents, brothers, my aunts and uncles, godparents and my cousins and of course yourself; I am forever grateful as none of this would have been possible without you or grandma.

As we close this chapter with you here on earth, I want you to know I will carry you in my heart, forever and every time I’m surrounded by nature, I’ll be thinking of you.

I’m forever appreciative to have shared life with you and look forward to connecting again someday.

You’re home now, in the hands of God. Happy in Heaven.

I love you, Grandpa.

For more information and to leave a memory, visit https://bit.ly/3bST9Ed.

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