Aunt Sarah and Uncle Lewis. Coupled. That's the only way I've known them... coupled as one. These days we like to combine names to identify those couples we are supposed to be enamored with because Hollywood says so. We had Bennifer, Brangelina and many others. I wonder what combo name we should've given them because they are most definitely a combination to be admired. Saralew? Lewrah? Haha.
In all the years of my life; I've 95% of the time referred to them as AuntSarahAndUncleLewis as one whole name because they were rarely without the other. Just as one instead of two separate individuals. Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis.
The thought of marriage and the belief that you become as one could sometimes make the independent part of me uneasy. But I remembered a poem that eloquently describes dying into something as a transformation instead of the permanence of it's ending as we've been conditioned to believe. In John 12:24 it says "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit." I believe this is the basis of what we've come to know and love about Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis. They died into one another many years ago creating a life that has and continues to bear fruit with their legacy of love and the mere mention of Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis.
My earliest memories are of going to the country to Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis' farm. Oh how exciting that whole experience was. The cousins would ride in the back of grandpas truck fighting to sit on the edge and feel all the pricklies of the fierce wind that came with his over-the-speed limit driving. Once we saw the dirt road we knew we were getting closer. It was a build up of excitement to get there. Once there, we would be greeted by our three fostered cousins. I was always curious about the how and why they were a part of our family. No one else had this dynamic and it made Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis that much more unique and special to me as a young child. To love and care for children who didn't come from your body...what an amazing gift. I watched enough Little House on the Prairie to know it was a beautiful thing. Our cousins were crazy, hyper and funny except Rosie. She was a sweet spirit. I always thought she had to for sure be their biological child because that's how they were...a loving sweet couple. Always smiling, kind, never mean or loud when any of us were misbehaving. But then it all changed during one visit.
Uncle Lewis was showing me around to all the animals but with a chuckle said "they dont have names" after I had asked. I didn't understand. In his raspy sweet voice he says "it's because we will eat them". Oh the pain in my young heart. Uncle Lewis doing his best to explain bacon and hamburgers was now the meanest man on the planet. I still remember him asking Aunt Sarah to explain it to me. Who are these people? They were just my most loving aunt and uncle and now they are killers. Haha. But their spirits are so genuine and pure that I forgave them quickly but I wasn't interested in visiting their breakfast and dinner anymore...haha.
I remember I didn't see my Perez family much but I could always walk into HEB and get quickly reminded of my family. Nine out of ten times Uncle Lewis would be right around the corner with a huge grin. In my young mind he was Mr. HEB. I was pretty sure he was the man in charge over everything because he just looked important or maybe it's because he was important to me. He was the one family member I could be sure to run into on a regular basis and those small frequent encounters meant so much to a little girl who didnt spend much time with that side of the family as a child.
The other opportunity was at the Flea Market. I'd get my full dose of Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis as well as grandma and grandpa. These four people together were nothing short of love and laughter. Grandpa pretending he was in charge while grandma reminded him he wasn't and the Salazars always having something to smile about while offering a prayer if things were tough in your own life.
Aunt Sarah and Uncle Lewis were the epitome of Christianity. They walked the walk. They never pushed their beliefs on anyone. They just led by example day in and day out. They were and are a faithful family. They always put God first which shined throughout their life together.
Marriage isn't easy no matter how many years you put on the books but they made it known that love was real. Their simplistic style and quiet honor for eachother was and is very loud. I don't know if either of them know how much their relationship was admired by others. You have Aunt Sarah, who although is loving and kind, can be a little crazy and energetic. You have Uncle Lewis, who although didn't always say much or slept through conversations, could be full of jokes, sarcasm, a willingness to be embarrassed and an all around funny guy. Their existence didn't appear grand in the noisy world we live in but they were quietly loud in all they did.
Their marriage is solid. I don't remember a time when they didn't part ways lovingly even if going to the store. I cannot think of an argument ever witnessed between them...it was always a seemless compromise between the two. They did their best with their fostered children before having two of their own. I remember our entire family being so excited for little Luis' arrival...then BAM...another one...my Sasa...Samantha Salazar. Their family was/is blessed as are we that have had the opportunity to witness their journey.
They are the reminder of what God's love is. It's pure, disciplined, intentional, forgiving, gracious, faithful and abundant no matter the circumstance. They are giants; not in size but in action. They have been living and leaving a legacy for each of us who know and love them.
It is with great sadness that their time on earth as one has come to pass but we know this earthly death is just another transformation.
Aunt Sarah And Uncle Lewis may no longer appear the same in the days/years ahead but their example is forever embedded for generations to come. I pray that Aunt Sarah, lil Luis and Sam are comforted by all the beautiful memories without any regret. He wouldn't want it any other way.
We will miss his ease, his soft raspy voice, his midget pregnant wobble walk (haha-my opinion anyway), him falling asleep even when the entire crew in the house is loud and his silliest of moments. We will miss his young at heart attitude and all around loving sweet soul. He was and is an amazing gift that we are honored to have been given.
Fly high Uncle Lewis, we are lesser without you but greater for knowing you. We will forever celebrate all that you are!