Fifteen days before his death, my father knew that he would soon be leaving us. And it’s strange, as his advanced Alzheimer’s did not prevent him from leaving his affairs in good order so that he could depart in peace. Like every other night he was put to bed by the nursing assistant next to the portrait of my mother, and I laid down beside him, as close to him as I could get, my eyes talking to his eyes in the semi-darkness of the room, while his fingers gently pushed aside any stray wisps of hair, tucking them behind my ear. Greater tenderness was impossible. Nor greater understanding, a pleasure imprinted on my very cells forever. A warmth in the very depths of my chest which would prevent me from shivering from cold. True communication, forged from absolute presence. And a few minutes may have passed, a few hours, when my father fell into what seemed to be a deep sleep judging by his breathing. I decided to stay a few minutes more to continue enjoying this time together. At that moment, my father opened his eyes, and with a clear and firm voice like his voice from the past, he said “We have to call your cousin”. The strength of his voice surprised me and obeying as I had done as a child, I said “Ok dad, what cousin do you want me to call and what shall I say? With the patience of a parent he replied: “Your cousin, so that he can take charge of the house and the family from now on.” With a knot in my throat, given that at that moment I knew for certain what was coming, I promised my father that I would do so: “Yes of course, I will call him. Don’t worry about a thing, he will take care of everything.” “That’s it, that’s it” said my father, while he put his arm round my neck and pulled me towards him to give me one of his sweetest kisses.”
And that is how I think my father, Facundo, was able to ready himself to depart in peace. Knowing that someone was going to replace him in the care of his legacy, his family, his home. That he could leave safe in the knowledge that what he had looked after with such care and devotion would remain in good hands.
Rest in peace, Dad.
Susana García, Moving your Soul