May 10, 2009

In Memoriam - A Sad Reminder

Today I got the sad news that a friend of mine passed away this weekend after enduring months in a hospital with inoperable brain tumors. His name was Maxi, he was less than 40 years old and basically a very good person. I haven't seen him in years but we always knew a bit about each other's life through a common friend and he had a place in my heart.

When I was a kid, Amparito -a woman from Spain that used to work for my grandmother for more than 40 years-, used to tell me bedtime stories each time I spent the night at my grandparents house. One that stuck with me forever is one that many "sensitive" people may find disturbing to tell a kid.

Here is how her story goes: In Spanish, "Death" is "Muerte". From time to time she would pick up my hand, palm up, and slighlty move my fingers forward. Then she would show me the big "M" in the middle of the palm and say: "That M that you see there is in any hand in the world. In some cases is more noticeable, in some cases is almost invisible, but it is always there and there is a reason to it. It's a reminder for us that the only sure thing in life is death".

This story never creep me out nor gave me nightmares. On the contrary, I was fascinated by it and looking back I think it was pretty liberating. It made me realized at a young age that no matter what, there is an end to our experience in this world and that it was up to me to make that experience a good, valid one.

So death was never an issue for me. In theory it was the most equalizing thing in the world: poor or rich, famous or anonymous, good or evil, death will arrive to all of us. I cried for my grandparents when they passed away but I was okey with it because they both live long and fulfilled lives.

This time was different though. I cried a lot, overpowered by a feeling of impotence. Because death is the end of the journey for all of us but when someone dies at a young age inevitably we feel it is unfair.

The M in my hand reminds me daily that death will arrive at some point, for sure.

Maxi's death was a different type of reminder: a very sad reminder that death may arrive sooner than later. If there is one quality that life and death do share is that neither one is necessarily fair.

I didn't really need this reminder but I am sharing my sadness with you because I do hope we could all remember that we have one take at this life and that it may be shorter than we want it to be. So it is up to us to take on new challenges, conquer our fears and explore our options. Is up to us to help when we can and to ask for help when we need it.

Maxi, R.I.P. You touched my life as well as the lives of a lot of people around you. I am just terrible sad that your time end up being so terribly short.


Oscar said...

Me hiciste llorar a gritos Sandy, no puedo dejar de llorar a Maxi. Yo lo quería mucho...

Anonymous said...

I am very sorry for your lost, Sandy and Oscar. I did not know Maxi, but I do know the sorrow through which Oscar is going on, now that Maxi is far, far away, beyond us. I'd like to share with you guys my deepest hug and symphaty.