Thursday, May 1, 2008
i spoke with tia elenita. she tried being very brave at the beginning of our conversation, but then she couldn't hold it back. for my part, i was a blithering mess from the outset, sorry to say.
they'd gone out to brunch to celebrate their 47th(!!!) wedding anniversary and then stopped to pick up her car from ana catalina's house (my cousin, their daughter). tio arnoldo was only a few minutes ahead; tia elenita was close behind.
he made it all the way home, drove up into the house, opened the gate, parked the car, closed the gate, and then collapsed and died.
he was 74.
i told my cousin that we ought to thank god for two things in particular. first, he got home and then had the heart attack. can you imagine it having happened while he was still driving? he might have taken someone else with him! and secondly, at least they had him for a long time; i had my dad for less than 10 years.
while tragic, at least tio arnoldo got to see my cousins grow up, get married, and have kids. blessed be god.
everything my brothers and i do, have done . . . every great moment or triumph in our lives has been tempered by our father's absence. there's never been a major milestone in my life during which i haven't thought, "where's papi? i wish he were here to see this."
for all our bravado, we're so fucking fragile. all of us. so mortal.
anyhow, i told my aunt that i would pray for her. "voy a pedirle a dios que me los cuide." will i? i don't know.
i mean, i do. i do pray. i just don't know if i'm being heard.
i also thanked her. i thanked her for taking care of my uncle and giving him a beautiful life.
and i thought, that's beautiful, isn't it . . . spending your life making other people's lives richer, happier, fuller? that must be of some comfort, some consolation, right?
after we hung up, i called back my mom and told her she was the greatest person i'd ever known. she is. then i called my brothers and told them that even though they were (acute) pains in the ass, that i'd never want to do without them. you know, just in case i'm next.
it's weird, but here i am reminded of winnie the pooh, when he says to piglet, "if you live to be a hundred, i want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so i never have to live without you."
but maybe mr. c said it best . . . i'll paraphrase: it's the rain that makes the sunshine feel good.