My first encounter with death was when my grandpa died. I was almost four. I kept on asking my mom (her dad) if I could see him one more time promising not to talk to him. I guess in tears, my mother explained once and again that it was not an option. I chose at an early age, my grandmother and leaving the other one to be shared by my two brothers. All changed when my grandma fell ill, her first time in bed after having children. I was seven and clearly remember the last time I saw her, the dialogue of my parents in the car, the sadness of my mom, my dad’s angrer. She died a few days later, and I was left with no grandma. I couldn’t stop crying, didn’t want to eat and was not sleeping. My pediatrician advised to give me a quarter of Valium -it was the seventies. I had an adverse reaction and barely steleped for two days. I talked a lot with my dad, he told me stories about her and I felt a little better every time, but I missed taking a nap on her belly, making copper jewelry and our long chats in her garden.
But when death really hit me, was when my favorite aunt, an almost PhD, university professor disapeared when I was 13. In the mid-seventies Argentina, between the guerrilla and the military coup, you could smell death. Talking about her was not an option so we all kept our memories and pain silent. And then It was my uncle, who taught me about the world and computers. I started to attempt to heal making for me a world in which I spoke about how much I loved them, how much they taught me, how they opened a world that was foreign to me and they became my guides.
But when my dad died suddenly, my world crumbled. My dad was my rock to fight, to love, to discover, he was my mirror, and as much as we fought, we deeply loved each other. He taught me about reading, books, writing, critical thinking, courage of being oneself, to be happy, to believe in second chances. The pain was so unbearable that I started drinking a little and then too much, until a dear friend suggested that it was time to stop and care for my wounded self. She was sweet but decisive and I understood the message: what I was doing was hurting me more. I started to carry a notebook everywhere and filed pages and pages of tears, anger, love, longing, memories, laughter, dreams. I took on psychoanalysis to talk out my pain. I went deep into meditation, discovering me, understanding Buddhists views, and as I healed, my believes changed and I made my own understandings and philosophy of life and death.
For a great pain, work and time. Work will keep your mind from getting lost in pain. Time will help you understand and heal. – Chinese Proverb
I learnt that the body of my loved ones was not there, but the love, joy, teachings, fights would always remain with me and I decided to celebrate their lives, with all their virtues and failures.
People are in our lives a bit of time, and then the bodies are gone and we remain here, to keep evolving, with many of the seeds they planted on us.
We continue our journey honoring them with a full life experience and the certitude that ours, is also finite and, that everything is a continuous path to discovering and being who we really are.