A month ago a very special soul went to heaven. His name was Rene and he was my uncle. Durning the Viewing they held a Mass, where some of my cousins went up to speak about Tito Rene. I was outside and wasn’t there for that part of the viewing, and I wish I was. I have so much to say about my Uncle and how much he affected my life, and gave Camille, his only daughter and I the best childhood a girl could ask for.
May 14, 1988 was when two families became one. Tito Rene just married my Aunt after meeting her through my mom! He was my uncle through marriage but blood doesn’t mean family. Tito Rene always had a smile on his face, and really was the life of the party. Growing up I remember him being with all the other uncles outside smoking a cigarette and having everyone around him laughing.
One of the best parts of growing up is that Camille and I are practically the same age, and since Tito Rene was an epic dad who encouraged his kids to live life to the fullest, he supported our teen girl band boy craze and took us to our first show to see O-Town at the Brea Mall.
At one point in our childhood we all lived under one roof. Camille and her family, My dad, and my dads other sister. It was AMAZING! I wasn’t living there but I would stay with my dad on the weekends and that was the best! I was practically living with my best friend! Tito Rene would take us to the arcade and take us walking everywhere. My dad wasn’t the outdoorsy going out type, so it was cool that I was able to experience that life as a kid thanks to my uncle.
The best part of Tito Rene was that he was apart of this beautiful family, The Infante’s! To this day I will always have so much respect for the Infante Family. Not only was Tito Rene my uncle through marriage but his Brother my Tito Danny is also my God Father. My mom was very close with the Infante’s so it really gave me a chance to integrate with his family. I remember one time when we were young I told Camille, that Patricia her cousin from her dad’s side was my God-Sister and Camille cried so much that her mom told me to tell her that I was her God-Sister too!
Camilles aunts would buy me matching gifts that they would also buy Camille. Once her aunt gave me a bag with a J and Camille had a C! stuff like that I will never forget.
When I moved to the Philippines at the age of 14, away from my family, I went with my Tito Rene’s parents on the airplane.
So its safe to say that the Infante family had a big affect on my life and childhood, and what a family to really look up to. Tito Rene’s family had such a tight bond and they always had each others back through thick and thin. It’s truly a beautiful sight to see. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous of Camille and Gabe’s Dad side of the family, but really how could I cause they always welcomed me into their family with open arms.
A few years ago when my dads health got really bad and my siblings and I felt isolated from the family, Tito Rene was one of the first of the uncles who really made an effort to talk to my siblings and check up on us during a time when we felt like we lost our family. I was locked out of dads apartment and Tito Rene would always tell me to sleep there at their house. Which was already a second home to me!
At Tito Rene’s Funeral and Viewing I was put in a situation where I was surround by some people who played a big role in me feeling of isolation from the family. It was hard and difficult for me to see them, a few days prior to the funeral I had anxiety and all the memories of that time in my life came back. But no matter what I knew that I was gonna have to face my fears and go. Because its Tito Rene! I wasn’t gonna let anyone stop me from being there for him, his family and siblings. Just the way they have always been there for me, and when I hugged Camille while tears ran down her face. Nothing else mattered. All my fear and anxiety went away.
Life is full of crazy, stupid things. We all get bullied, we all put money over morals, people lie, spread rumors, we fight, people who we love will betray us, and when your down in the dirt some people will just look at you and not help you up because they don’t want to get dirty. But its up to us on how we use that energy and transmute it to something beautiful. Tito really knew how to lighten up a heart that was full of anger and pain.
I want to Thank Tito Rene for sharing his life with us, and for teaching me, even after his return to heaven that family is everything, that life is short, and that even though we have to battle with our demons everyday, we still have to harness love of the people around us to fuel our hearts, have smile on our face and to truly live life to the fullest.
Tito Rene, you will forever be one of the coolest uncles I ever had.