I think a lot about family these days; I used to say ‘blood comes first’ and I have come to learn that the shared journeys with the people we love, are way above that.
When my dad was seventeen years old, he met a friend and they both joined the army together. As years went by, they both got married: his friend had two children – my cousins Mari and Leo – and my parents got me :); that friend, became my godfather, and my father became Leo’s godfather.
Life is what turned us into a family, life and tons of unconditional love.
As I told you before, my parents and I moved to the south of Argentina when I was five years old; my godfather and his family moved even southern (150 miles away from our city), a couple of years later.
We used to visit them traveling in a small plane with a capacity for fifteen people or so. Their city’s airport, was actually a little building at the top of a mountain… Pretty scary I must say… The first time we arrived there, I saw like five men running towards the plane with ropes in their hands… I freaked out! What was happening? There were no terrorism back then, so what on earth were they doing? … They were coming to tie up the plane… Yup… Just like you tie your dog to your chair at Starbucks; and they did that because the wind was so strong, that it could have taken the plane away…
Freaky… Just so you know, on an average day, the wind blows at 112 miles/h… Even so, my cousins and I… we had a blast growing up there…
Before they moved, my godfather went to Comodoro Rivadavia, for a quick stop before moving on to his destination: ‘Rio Mayo City’. We went to the beach with my dad and another friend of them, and while they were in the sea, my godfather asked me:
– María Laura, can you bring me my sneakers?
I went running towards the sneakers, jumping over the waves, struggling with the sand, and when I got to them and I reached out my hand, I saw this huge (super astronomically huge!) crayfish over them. I yelled like hell:
And he came to me running…
That’s all I can think of, since he passed away weeks ago.
I originally wrote this post for a discovery challenge, but I didn’t have the strength to finish it and post it on time. Before my godfather passed, I was happy as a clam planning my trip to New York… I had everything booked (flights, hotels…), except for the broken heart that – later – I carried with me.
Today, September 18, it would have been his birthday, and I couldn’t let this day pass without honoring him.
He had been ill for some years… He wanted to see me these past months, but I was still struggling with my panic attacks and my “depression-get-the-f*ck-of-here” … I was going to visit him before my trip to NYC; I wanted to tell him “I’m ok, I’m moving on, don’t worry about me”… But instead, I had to whisper it to his ear while he was lying in a hospital bed. He smiled; he couldn’t speak anymore… A tear ran through his cheek… I dried it with my hand and repeated, “I’m ok; we are all ok; I love you”.
I told my cousin Mari, that I told him nonsense that day; she smiled and said ‘He wouldn’t have expected less from her niece’… But the truth is, I couldn’t tell her that I had to said goodbye… How can you say goodbye when is for real, when it’s forever? … It wasn’t an ‘I’ll see you soon’… It was a goodbye, a farewell for good…
When we take a trip and meet new people, we exchange numbers and say ‘I’ll call you’… We never do… Do you? … We go back to our work, to our ‘have to do lists’, and we let the time go by…
We shouldn’t do the same with this journey we share with the ones we love.
I miss his voice… His words, “María Laura I love you, we love you, you belong to us”, keeps playing in my head on a loop. For a catholic, a godfather is like a second father; for one who is adopted, a godfather is that other dad that keeps teaching you that family goes way beyond blood.
Rest in peace, tío. Our shared journey was one the best ones I had.
PS: Ok.. yes… I’m wondering if angels know how to play the “Argentinean truco” , happy now? 😉
Featured image is from that day at the beach: Me trying to play tennis… (sorry I couldn’t do that, daddy!)…and my godfather, walking away…