Watching him refuse the foods that had once brought him such joy shook me to my core. “T’es un gourmand?” I’d ask him, reminding him of his old nickname and hoping for a smile. Eventually, I broke it down for him: “You haven’t eaten in several weeks,” I said, trying to keep my voice steady, “and your body is going to start shutting down. And that’s okay, Papi, if that’s what you want.” He stared into my eyes, alert and clear. Then hissed.


Right before 2019 left us, I illustrated this phenomenal essay, “Gourmand,” for The Rumpus’ #FoodandFamily2019 series. You can read it here.