The best decision in my life so far has been to cancel the cruise, the celebration my school classmates had organized to commemorate our 40TH graduation anniversary. I decided to go to Colombia instead and spend that week with my family. That was the last time I saw my dad.
We had such a great time, reading poetry, listening to music, remembering his friends. His mind was so bright even on his last day.
He was very ill, he had kidney failure and had decided not to do dialysis. He had managed to live his life without spending one single night in a hospital. Anytime the doctors had suggested an overnight stay, he simply stood up, put his shirt on and walked away!
It still makes me laugh to remember his determination and the doctor’s face.
So, in his critical condition he decided to stay home, patiently waiting.
It was a waiting game and the uncertainty was difficult to deal with. We did not know if he would lose consciousness, if he was going to experience a lot of pain, and if that were the case. What would we do?
The other question was the timing, life is always full of events and two of my brothers were taking their children to Europe for college, one to France and the other to Germany. My sister was having a civil ceremony for her daughter getting married. I had friends coming to visit and had planned a trip to New Orleans.
I kept asking all my friends how their parents had died. For me this was a first, and I wanted to make sure I was prepared to face that situation.
Some people mentioned long periods of agony with the person being bed ridden for months, even years.
But my father was different, or lucky because he did not get to that point. He left before he was a burden to his family and he waited for everyone to be back from their trips.
There was no pain, no fear , he just let go as if merging himself with the Universe. He waited for my mother to arrive; he granted her the blessing of being with him at the moment of his ascension.
After he passed I stayed in Cali for two weeks to help my mother with the transition. I went through his filing cabinet and found a packet of old pictures of him, from the time he was single. I also found a handwritten envelope with the names of three children he loved with some money. Everything had been planned to the smallest detail.
What surprised me the most was to find his two lucky charms. One was a tiny piece in yellow plastic he always carried in his wallet. About 15 years ago I got a magnifying glass and saw that they were the three wise monkeys “see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil”. He never told us where or when he got it, but the philosophy of the three wise monkeys seemed to be engraved on his behavior. He was such a great man, always doing good to those in need, always kind, never complaining or talking bad about others.
To my surprise, the second charm was a tiny Buda. He, who had not participated in any religious activities lately or had any religious affiliation, had carried a Buda with him.
The day after the cremation and the mass, we took his ashes to the place he loved the most “La Buitrera” where he had spent time and time again, climbing the mountains, meditating, contemplating nature.
There is a lot of construction going on right now, so we had to park the cars a mile away from the house and walk, carrying our belongings until we got to the farm.
It reminded me of a pilgrimage, we all siblings, my mother, my daughter nieces and nephews, bringing him back to the place he loved.
In this day and age when we depend so much on technology, it was great to see that there was no Internet Connection, everybody was dedicated, concentrated, meditating, on life, death, and the importance of elaborating , mourning, letting go.
In the days that followed, I helped my mother go through his belongings. We only came up with 7 bags, that is all he had. I confirmed my idea that he lived in a monastic way, only having the bare minimum for him.
He was so generous with us all, and everybody he encountered.
It is hard to think that he is living now only in our memories, the body is no longer here. That is the reason why I write, so that I do not forget.
I want to remember all his gestures of love
His positive mind
His sensitivity and alertness to the needs of others
How his friends valued his friendship
His love for nature
Our unspoken communication
His business advice
The pandebono He bought for me every morning
He lives in each one of us and I Thank God for having experienced life with him.
May he rest in peace ❤