On Christmas day, My family went to the theater to watch Disney Pixar’s Coco. We were visiting for the holidays and into the theater all 10 of us, the Ruiz and Wright families sat to watch Coco. I brought tissues and passed them out because I expected to cry. Never did I think my Tata’s memory would be vividly pulling at me to keep his memory alive with every story, tradition, talent, and moment I shared and knew of him.
This my Tata, he was a man who went after his dreams, worked hard, and was always ahead of the game trying new things. He is the reason my family migrated to California. He was so proud of our culture and he wasn’t afraid to show it! He was also a man that took up a challenge and because of that, I think he dabbled in so many talents. He worked on farmland, construction, welding, and invented tools to make life easier and more fun. Those are the stories I want to tell my kids. Those are the stories that make me smile and miss him.
Much like the movie my life was filled with music. While my Tata wasn’t a performer for the masses he sang from his heart. He played his guitar proudly as he sang. I grew up listening to him play. He also loved video and audio recording and was always recording something! He never needed an occasion to sing so you know there were tons of video and audio recordings of just him and his guitar. He would set himself up and would gladly play his guitar and singalong and encourage us to sing too!
While I knew I’d relate to Coco so much because of my Mexican roots, I didn’t think it would hit me as hard as it did. The story of the forgotten and how our loved ones came back to visit felt more real than ever. All this from an animated film. The connection to iconic figures I once heard my Tata speak of being represented in this film only made his memory stronger.
The reminder that my grandparents have passed on was hard to relive. The message of the forgotten was hard to swallow. And when we exited the theater and my kids couldn’t understand why I was sobbing well, that only made it clear that I haven’t shared enough of who my grandparents are, especially my Tata and all his talents.
Coco was the reminder I needed to keep my grandparent’s memory alive and the reminder to always share stories past Dia de Muertos. It’s been 15 years that he’s been gone but his laugh, sayings, and memories are still a part of me. My kids need to know where they come from and Part of that is knowing why we are here. It was my Tata’s determination, hard work, and fearless attitude. He will never be forgotten but I will continue to miss him.
P.S. This song makes me cry all the time take a listen:
Coco Photos Courtesy of Disney Pixar