We’re all part of a story. We’re descendants of people who lived several generations before ours. Life’s natural process is to escalate our own family tree. When we go up each branch we take the place of the person who was there before us and we welcome the ones who will now occupy that branch where we lived comfortably for so many years.
As I write this simple and logical description of how life ends, I can only ask myself: Why does it hurt so much? Of course I could write about absence, because it’s really hurtful when you see the empty branches your loved ones leave as they climb up to the next level of the tree. But I think it goes even further.
For over 40 years, I used to be on the lower branches, living comfortably under two generations. Cared for, protected and with only three little branches under me.
Suddenly it’s time to move, there’s no other way but up. I knew this time would come, but we’re never truly prepared. I went from having two generations above me, to just having one.
As I try to settle in this new branch, fear disappears. I notice that my view from up here is wider, spacious, and complete. It transforms my sadness into nostalgia and understanding. Understanding of so many advices, some not always welcomed, from that generation that is no longer with us.
Today we remember someone who climbed that tree called life like the great ones do. He truly enjoyed each level, each scenery and each branch. He lived his life with the same passion and intensity as the one he had when he recited each syllable of his beloved poems.
When I sat with him to play dominoes, the game always turned into a life lesson. Each Martini we shared was accompanied by the excitement of him telling me his stories. Now I understand that through those stories, he was remembering the ones who occupied the branches on top of his tree when he was climbing it.
He always told me that we were good friends. So this is how I say goodbye.
Dear friend: Nothing’s left for me to do except tell you goodbye with a grand applause, a standing ovation filled with love and admiration. I’ll make sure my kids and my kid’s kids and all the little persons that will get to occupy the lower branches will remember you forever.
In memory of my husband's beloved Grandfather, Don Manolo.