Of Sorrow and Gratitude

Four years ago, on another hot day of August, my father passed away, deciding to move his kind soul and loving heart towards eternity.

I am not sure what my first memory of my father is but it might be this one: standing with both my child feet on his forefeet; he was walking with me standing like that, while holding both my hands to prevent an eventual fall. I felt a lot of joy in that movement that for me was backwards, but I also enjoyed the closeness to the giant protector of mine. At that age, my father was the strongest human I ever knew, the smartest one and the most skillful one to exist on Earth.

As I was growing up that image of him did not fade. Instead, it only enhanced. Being raised by two angels, my mother and my father, was the greatest privilege I could ever have. They laid the brick of morality, conscience and knowledge that built my character, I only had to add mortar.

One of the biggest shocks of my childhood existence was to realize that death was not just a real thing but also an undoubtable certainty. It was hard to accept those truths. From then on, my only religious experience was based on the hope that my parents are immortal, and I tried hard to keep that faith. Rationality convinced every time that such hopes are not realizable.

Rocketing through my teenage hood towards adulthood, I spent so many precious moments together with my father, in the woods, in the meadows, in the valleys and on the peaks, strolling my birth mountain, learning to love every piece of it, every living or non-living thing. For a while afterwards, I looked at those years as being wasted. I hope Dad forgave that blasphemy of mine. Because I was so wrong! Those were the years that finished the smooth wall of my character and I did not appreciate them enough because I was shooting up to the future. Lucky enough I was to find the perfect landing.

Four years might seem like a long time, but compared to the eternity they are not even a grain of sand. The Universe is complex and long ago I gave up on trying to comprehend it, but I still hope that somewhere, within that infinity, the heaven exists, and that heaven is a mountain. A green and sometimes a white mountain, with crispy mornings and warm evenings, with pure air and fragrances of fir tree and spruce.

I can say that this is a very similar image of a very earthly place, the one in which I grew up protected by the most beautiful man. But I am afraid to talk about the tears I struggled to stop when I saw that huge open wound that is now that place. For a while I tried to believe Dad took all those trees, all the waters and the humble animals to join him in the eternity, but I know it is impossible, because he was the kindest, the less inclined to possession and the most empathetic one. I wonder where he found all that goodness of his and how he kept it amongst all the evils of the world. Did he take from the spruce that stood stubbornly to face all the winds and all the colds, was it from the mountain that faced the world with imperturbable patience, did he learn it from the birds that flew against the sky, did he see it in the peaceful stare of a wild thing?

It is August 11, 2022, four years after he passed away, in a restless state that we could not understand. For the eighty-three years in which he blessed us, there are not enough moments to dedicate to his memory but they have to be saved for that invisible eternity. There is so much inevitable sorrow but there should be much more gratitude for all the years we had him.

The memories of him we have, preserve and revere are the first proof of the eternity we don’t see. The legacy and the bricks of our character is what should move us forward.

Wind is howling; creek is singing; sun is shining; stars are watching. There river of sorrows melts into the sea of gratitude.

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