My father passed away November 11th, 2016. It was sudden and unexpected; an inexplicable dead for those of us that loved and admired him. At the same time, a death that he definitely had wished for. He passed away on his terms: no illness, no fragility, and no burden for his beloved children, just a quick blow to his heart. Sometimes I think his heart exploded out of happiness.
If there was ever someone more ready to take that infinite journey, it was him. He lived his life with emotion. No matter if it was grief, fear or joy, he will embrace life to the fullest. You would not hear him speaking much about it though; that was the beauty of it. He will not judge you, he will not lecture you; he was just that ever present figure of completeness and security.
He came to this world in thunderous times. Last to eight children, before he could speak or walk, he had already lost his father. From that point on, he embarked into a journey against time and odds. He will learn as he grew that he needed to take risks. From success, in time, he will learn to be humble, from failure he will learn to be calm and persistent. He will pass on the lessons to his children, at heart he was a teacher.
It is difficult to describe the emptiness that comes when you lose someone so pivotal in your life. Imagine centering your life on the idea of wanting to make your father proud and then, as his final lesson, or perhaps challenge, he decides to suddenly leave this earth, so that you figure out what is your true purpose, so that you learn to face adversity on your own, take responsibility for the wellbeing of your family and, more importantly, learn to be happy without him.
Two years and some months have passed since his death and no clear answer has been revealed. There was of course immediate sadness after his departure. There was anger for not having him next to me when my child was born. There has also been joy by remembering our time together and of course peace on knowing that, no matter what, we loved each other deeply and that not him, not me, left anything pending to say or do.
So, what are these lines for? The last two years I have felt I am in a dense forest, following a trail of crumbs that will show me the way out of mourning, that will help me decipher who he was and how he became the person I came to know. The clues in this quest come from my own recollection of what he told me or from what I saw he did, and from what others share about him. These are precious memories that I do not want to get lost, and which I believe are worth sharing. After all, there is definitely much to learn from the life of a man who was born an orphan in rural Mexico, lost his first child, dealt with his darkest self and yet remain joyful, sincere and deeply spiritual.
I have tried to decipher him through his rituals. Morning Sunday mass was one of them. He will always be there at 7:00 a.m. on Sunday mass, with one of his children or alone, it did not matter, he will be there. If you do this in his home town, in the church of his beloved saint, you will see a gorgeous mountain amidst clear blue skies when walking out of the mass. Was this it? This basic beauty, the simplicity of life when you contemplated these monuments of nature which were, in one way or another, the witnesses of your life? I do not think so. You deeply believed in something higher, something beyond you. And you trusted that belief. This is why you would always follow your luck wherever it lead you, with no remorse and no regrets. But there is more to it, I know there is more.
These lines are for you, and for me. I will write to you, and about you, to feel you closer and, at the same time, to let you go in peace. I know one day we will be able to go over these papers together and amend these properly.