Thursday, December 22, 2016

Te Amo

My Tio. My Luis

The reason this blog exists and someone that allowed me space to be and figure things out. I spent two months in Spain with family I hardly knew at the time.

Made a special trip up to see him this fall cause he had a stroke and wasn't doing so well. He was now 99. 

The first day, I retraced all the places I spent walking over and over including his favorite pastry shop. Hoping he would be glad to see pastries and me but he didn't recognize me or the baked goods. Didn't matter, I just wanted to see him. 

Now confined to a chair, it was a shade of what I remembered and heartbreaking cause he never liked to sit still. 

I looked into his eyes and smiled. Stroking his arm and asking if he remembered me. "It's Penelope. te recuerdas?" A blank stare was returned and I knew he didn't. 

But I kept kissing him on the check, smiling looking in his eyes. Before I left with the last kiss I saw a half smile start to form on his face. Maybe he does...

The next day as, I was requested to come for lunch with the family, his amazing caretaker told me he remembered and had been bossing her around all morning to get ready for my arrival. 

This time he was there. I could see him and he could see me. I had to run to the bathroom quickly so he couldn't see me cry. 

He was fed in the chair while we ate in the kitchen. His caretaker helping communicate between us because my Spanish is so awful and the stroke has hindered his speaking. 

After we finish lunch, I sat next to him doing what I did the day before but this time he's with us. 

My Spanish is shit so all I can do his hold his hand, stroking his arm looking into his eyes saying "Te Amo. Te Amo" over and over again. Cause its the only thing I can express clearly.

His eyes well up with tears and I lose it. 

I told myself I wouldn't cry because its so selfish but can't help it. I run into the kitchen so he can't see me cry, but the caretaker is telling me his grumbly voice is asking for me. She's trying to keep it together too.

I go back and wipe my tears. Put on a smile and hold his hand a little longer. There he is. There he is. In a body that no longer serves him. I'm here. I'm here for you.

As its time to say goodbye, I look back knowing this is the last time I'll see him. Multiple kisses including some blown from the door. He starts to speak. His words may not be there anymore but the tone of his voice is. 

His caretaker tells me what he's saying in English 

"He saying that your visit means more to him than you know." 

I see her tears and can feel mine surfacing again. I blow one more kiss and get safely out the door before I lose it completely. 

I walk back to the place I'm staying at in sobs and can't stop crying all day. I go back to Barcelona and light candles for him in every church I feel something in.

The best one being the crypt of la Sagrada Familia. As I light the candle for him I ask that he can be released by the time it burns out. 

And as much as I want him to stay, I pray he can leave and be free again.

So he leaves on the winter solstice. The darkest day of the whole year and it feels like it. 

There is a sadness for his passing but a celebration too. He's free from pain and can roam again. 

I hope to see him again someday. I know I will. 

Te Amo

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