In my post “Angry with the Gods,” I wrote that the Gods had disappointed me greatly. In the Letter of the Year done by the IFA masters, it was said that Obatala and Ochun would reign. And myself and many others in my community figured that meant this year would be way better than 2019. That 2019 was the worst and that finally, we would see good things. So when 2020 ended up being the worst of the years I have ever lived, I began to grow angry and bitter.
My faith was shaken. I started to wonder “What the hell is this?” If our Gods love us so much then why are they letting this happen? And then after my grandpa died of the Coronavirus I really questioned the hell out of everything. Then reading someone else’s blog on Santeria I realized something : the Letter of the year never said that this year would be better. That was just the assumption we made because Obatala and Oshun reign. And because this year there wasn’t a laundry list of maladies people were suffering from like the 2019 Letter of the Year.
Instead there was only one malady that was listed : Disease. I had completely overlooked that. I figured it would just be diseases in general being strong this year. It never crossed any of our minds that a pandemic was coming. So the Orishas had indeed warned us.
And then I started to realize something else, the Earth is regenerating during the pandemic. The largest ozone layer in recorded history was sealed shut again by a polar vortex. Water and air is starting to become cleaner too. It was even reported that the air hasn’t been this clean since World War II. I also forgot that the practitioners of Quimbanda had said that while Obatala and Oshun were partially ruling in their system, Xango (Shango) was in charge with others.
And that this year, justice would be done against injustices. That Xango would execute his justice. Humanity has been ruining the Earth for a very long time. And now the Earth is finally fighting back. Simply I didn’t want to hear all of that.
I was and am like everyone else, tired of living in constant stress and conflict. I have even wondered sometimes about just being a hermit and letting the world burn. Then I realized how selfish that would be. Every Santero and indeed everyone who comes from an ancient belief, are supposed to defend and protect the Earth.
You can’t do that if you’re sitting somewhere far away, without a care in the world as to what is happening in the planet or current events. But I am overstimulated. Just like everyone else. And just once I hoped we could be given something on a silver plate. Just once I wished manna would fall from heaven.
But sadly it doesn’t work like that. Everything has a price and a counter balance. And in this case, the price is that humanity needed a major wake up call. Because if we didn’t, we would all march into oblivion in a straight, neat little line. Now I am not sure that this is the work of the Gods.
I personally believe that this is nature in the scientific sense, fighting back. And negative spirits. It’s my belief based on Divination that this plague of death is a result of souls not in rest. But regardless, these lockdowns are a wake up call to what will happen if we do not change. For example, people are reevaluating their lives.
We now know that having a job or a nice car isn’t going to do shit when it comes to a Real Emergency. So all those mid life crisis be damned. You can’t eat money. And having a million degrees and being successful is virtually useless when in the face of something like this. We all need to be more practical.
We are now seeing that we have the means to end pollution. We don’t need advanced technology, we just need common sense. Contrary to that idiotic “Paris accords” which was nothing but politics. All it was, was creating a time table to make a time table o end pollution because by that time we would “have the technology to do it,”. What we needed was to not go out so much.
To not engage in wasteful activities. To stay home more often and at this point, we even have fewer Earthquakes now because of decreased activity. Heck, maybe even the face masks we are wearing are probably decreasing pollution. You never know. So I must once again humble myself before the Creators.
And admit that I was wrong. This is the best of the years….for the Earth. For balance to come, disbalance comes first. Just another version of “things get worse before they get better,”. In my humanity, I did not stop to see how what is good for humans is bad for Earth.
And vice versa. Again I am brought to my senses by the Wisdom of the Gods. And again, as in my last post, I have come to realize the truth. That even with truth presented to my face, I am unable to direct my own steps. And I need the Gods in my life just to be able to walk, let alone run.
Lately in my day to day quarantine at home life I have come across a lot of strange phenomenon being reported back to me. Old Spirits returning after having been called and beckoned to by humanity to return. People reporting that paranormal activity that had once been dormant has started back up. Others are experiencing strange dreams and visions (like myself). And still more we now have the odd case of the Coronavirus Plague Doctor!
Yes you heard me, some weirdo is walking around a community in a full plague doctor costume. Putting a panic to the residents. So that being said, here are some of today’s random links of the day.
How to Quarantine in a Ghost Town (With actual Ghosts!) The town of Cerro Gordo.
Note* this is the same place that Zak Baggins and his friends visited in an episode of Ghost Adventures. Of course what makes this man’s account more credible, is that he was a skeptic prior to seeing the activity he has seen there. Even now he is so stubborn that rather than be a believer, he’s shifted to agnostic. The article on Baggin’s at Cerro Negro is here.
Eco-Ramadan : A Traditional Doctor in Indonesia is now quarantining himself in the Forrests in a Tent. How cool is that? He’s also spending time cleaning the river plus building a bridge for people to use and reading the Koran! Kudos to Dr. Abdullah Al-Mabrur.
Many of you have already read my post on my Grandfather departing from this world. I had promised you I would give you an account of what had taken place on Saint Mark’s Vigil. And how this was the night of the year where people would see the spectre’s of those who would die before the year ended. As a Necromancer, I have a professional use for this. I would copy the energies of those who were to depart and I would ask for people to either be protected, or crossed over at the moment of their deaths.
But personally, I had a child-like awe of seeing this strange yet solemn procession. Like my Grandfather before me, I was always fascinated with the spirits. With places of rest and with the Occult. Although he would pretend to be an atheist or an agnostic. I don’t think I entirely appreciated the severity of what I was seeing all these years.
That these weren’t just “ghosts”, these were the doppelgängers of living, breathing people who were going to die. Not those who were already dead. And while I do all that I can to try and change fate, I know there were will be a large group that my rituals cannot save. I would go to my local Catholic Cemetery, I won’t reveal the location as I have had to sneak onto the property to perform this vigil now. In the old days, there was a Catholic Priest who sympathized with my Paganism.
Since I am a Christo-Pagan and believe in Jesus, he saw me as one of his flock. And I loved him for it. He was supposed to help me get baptized, but passed away before I could. He would wait with me on the vigil. He never told me if he believed in my visions or not.
I suspect he just wanted to keep me company. And he was just supporting me in my faith. When I called him “Father” I truly meant it. As he was my friend and mentor. And like my grandfather, was one of the few good male influences I had in my life.
The new administration wasn’t quite so liberal minded however. And while they didn’t out right say I was unwelcome, they didn’t allow me to get baptized possibly for my beliefs. Something that goes against Catholic Law because the Church recognizes Santeros as members of their faith. And they have people of various faiths get baptized. There is even a branch of Catholicism called Buddhist Catholicism.
Because of the Quarantine, I couldn’t head to the Church. Number 1, because breaking quarantine in the middle of a Pandemic for religious rituals is beyond stupid. Like all these idiots in Texas who refuse to close their churches for the pandemic. And by idiots I also include the Baptist Pastors who don’t organize or prepare like the Catholic Church did. Right now the Catholics won’t even give out communion to avoid spreading the infections.
My own Greek Pagan Temple, is doing rituals via Zoom. Santeros are even more flexible because we can also do things on Zoom and each Santero is trained to do magic or religious observances in our own homes. Say what you will about the Catholics, the corruption of their system that functions almost as a monarchy, or the other filthier things they have done. Since after Jesus’ death, they have known how to deal with persecutions and pandemics. During the Black Plague, Pope Clement VI was working with doctors of his time to figure out how to stop the plague.
He even surrounded his own abode in the Vatican with candles to purify the room. It was a precaution against whatever unseen pathogens which may have been in the air. A precaution that even in modern times is done. He also gave mass remission of sins for all who died during the plague. As a way to ensure that the many victims would make it to Heaven.
He also wrote edicts against the persecution of Jews. At the time people thought Jews were poisoning wells which led to the plague. He’s one of the few Popes I do more or less like despite the persecution of Pagans like myself. And these were the people that lived in the underground cities of the dead in Ancient Rome when they were persecuted. They know emergencies and how to deal with them very well.
Heck, even the Jehovah’s Witnesses closed their churches down and have all their meetings via Zoom now. Why these fools in that state are ready to sacrifice their lives needlessly is beyond my understanding. I can only call it madness and fanaticism. But I digress. I could not make it to the church for this reason.
And, there is also a curfew at 10pm where I am. Which means I could not go there regardless. It would be useless because the ghostly procession appears at midnight onward. So I had to improvise. Instead I called on St. Mark the Evangelist and the Gods of the Dead as well as other Saints involved with the dead.
And I did a good old fashioned Bone Casting session. I asked the Gods and Saints to empower the bones to tell the truth and only the truth. I also called the Fates and Healer Gods and all other Gods who protect (Apotropai) from evil. This is what I do to try and save those who can be saved even through a small changing of fate. Once this was done, I called the Gods to see the procession.
I waited a few minutes. And then when this was done, I asked a question.
“Can you see clearly, those who will depart Divine Ones?”
They said, “Yes,”
“Will anyone I know perish among this year’s dead?”
Again they said, “Yes”
My body suddenly tightened. In the past I have seen a few Phantoms of people I knew. But I always knew ahead of time. Sometimes years ahead of time, when death was coming for them. This time, I truly had no notion of anyone’s death.
And I suddenly felt cold deep within myself. It was a glacier like chill and a panic that suddenly rose in me. I suspended the session, calmed myself, grounded and centered, and I asked the question I did not want to ask. There was only one person I knew who was near death. Despite the assurances of the Doctors that it was only pneumonia and not coronavirus.
My grandfather Juan. My family worried it was the virus. His symptoms mirrored the virus. And moreover he lost his appetite. Let me tell you something : before he had Alzheimer’s he barely ate anything.
Unless he was really hungry. But Post Alzheimer’s he gained a whole new gusto for food. Possibly because sometimes he would forget he ate anything. But he had an insatiable hunger and loved his food. So when he got really sick and wouldn’t eat we knew we had to worry.
He also had issues breathing and slept a lot more than before. Finally, his Alzheimer’s got worse. And soon he forgot my mother’s face. At this time we were still waiting for him to get his Covid test. So I asked the inevitable question,
“Is it my grandfather?,”
And the Bones said “Yes,”
I was in total shock. As if someone had paralyzed me. I had no idea what to feel. Suddenly I snapped out of it and did some Ave Marias and Padre Nuestros and rebuked whatever foul spirit could be lying to me. I had convinced myself it was something nasty fucking with me.
It couldn’t be real right? And this time the Bones said no. You see, that’s the problem with magic. We have more control than we think. I closed myself off to the possibility that perhaps he was going to die. And because of that, I biased my own reading.
When I asked again the Bones said no. And I had relief. Of course he’d be fine. The whole place is shut down. Only doctors and nurses are getting in or out.
It will all be fine I assured myself. I even did more biased readings to make myself feel better. Something I thought I had learned never to do again. I had done things like that before in my novice years. I thought I learned my lesson.
But in less than a few minutes all my years of training fled me. And I was again a novice. And so, time passed after that and my grandpa was ‘supposedly’ tested as you all know. And then we were told it came out as negative. In the time that St. Mark’s Vigil passed, I had done rituals to keep death away from him.
I had sent him healing spirits and all manner of magics. Even an experimental magic I developed that saved others in the past. So when these people from the home claimed he tested negative, my Mom sighed in relief. And I finally thought I could take a break. “I’ll watch him,” I said to myself. “I’ll track his progress, he’ll be fine,”.
I fooled myself into thinking I had succeeded. That I had saved him. Now I just had to keep him safe. And you know the rest. The next day, my Mom got the call that he had died.
I should have heard the truth the Gods had shown me. That the Saints had shown me. Maybe then instead of trying to keep him alive in his mortal coil, I would have prepared a funeral mass for him so that when he died he would instantly cross. But I did not do that. And so you see, even witches, versed as we are in the secret and arcane knowledge of the Gods and their spirits can be wrong too.
I should have listened. But I let myself get too close to this. I should have asked my spiritual teachers and masters. They would have told me if the first reading was right and the subsequent readings were wrong. Even my mother dreamt omens of his death.
All the signs were there and I didn’t want to see them. Why? Because I was blind. Why didn’t I listen to them? Why did I just deceive myself? Because in the end, I am bitch slapped with the same goddamn karmic lesson. I am not superman. I am just a man.
I get so caught up in my work that I forget that. I want so badly to change the world for the better, to save people. And it has consistently been my downfall no matter what. And here, in the face of this great change, I thank the Gods. They tried to tell me.
They helped me even when they knew my magic wouldn’t be enough to save him. That the medical care wouldn’t be enough. Though truth be told, the medical care was shitty as hell. Thank you my Gods and Holy St. Mark the Evangelist. Thank you for once again showing me your power to see the unseen and lift the veil from my eyes.
So that I could see truth. Even though I immediately blinded myself the moment I received said truth. I learned once more that we are our own worst enemy sometimes. Even with the knowledge and the resources, what is meant to be is meant to be.
“Yahuah, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his own steps,” – Jeremiah 10:23
This is truth, even for those with the sight. Even for those who know what the truth is. I still couldn’t face it. I should have known better. Another painful lesson learned for my journey in this life.
There’s a Santero meme on the internet in Spanish. It shows a creepy man with his eyes rolled to the back of his head and it goes,
“The dead man says,
‘I will open your eyes. But I can’t respond for what you will see,’ ”
Many in my personal life who read this blog are already aware of this. But last Tuesday my grandfather Juan had passed away. My grandfather did not have an easy life. He had a life marked by pain and by isolation. John Donne said that man is not an island. But with respect, he never met my grandfather.
And while his poem praised human unity, very few humans ever lent him a hand. He was born out of wedlock to a Babalawo and to a white woman of Spanish blood. A woman with a deep interest in the Occult. She loved her Babalawo despite the fact that he was a married man. The two conceived my Abuelo Juan.
His uncles hated him. Because his father was biracial, they told him he wasn’t really a part of their family. Instead he was a “negro they found in a hill somewhere and took pity on”. This was Cuba before the Revolution. My great grandmother had to hide him on that farm with her uncles and mother.
A child born out of wedlock and born of two ethnically different parents. It was a scandal and a shame for the family. And especially for early Cuba. My grandpa had to go through beatings and emotional abuse until he became an adult. His grandmother to her credit, loved him.
And didn’t care that he was mixed. She loved him and took care of him and defended him from his uncles. And was always making sure that he was alright. His mother would visit him on the weekends. He always blamed his father for everything.
Said his father was too much of a coward to tell him who he really was. My family said that his mother kept his existence a secret. She was afraid to ruin his father’s life. My grandfather spent a lot of time alone. He had his friends but he loved his solitude.
He absorbed himself in books, in poetry, in history and politics, and in writing. He was a bit of a ladies man and seduced many woman. He even warned me to be careful with any Cuban girls I date. Because they could accidentally be related to me. Which would put a dent in my dating life to be sure.
But despite all the womanizing he did, there was one person he seemed fixated on since his early years : my grandmother. In his youth, he fell in love with her. She was 17 and he was 14. And while she didn’t pay attention to him at the time, he always vowed that one day she would be his wife. She married a violent and corrupt Batistiano Captain of the police.
He beat my grandmother and was responsible for war crimes against the people before and during the Revolution. My grandfather was a soldier of lower rank under this man. He waited for the bastard to drink himself to death so that he could approach my grandmother and propose to her. And she said yes. Something I don’t think she ever thought she would do because of the age difference.
They were both involved in the failed Counterrevolution on the island and ultimately divorced. But he still loved my grandma. So much that before she died he almost seemed to sense it. And he said to my mother,
“Hija, if one day your Mother should die, please don’t tell me. Because I know I’ll fall apart if I know. Just tell me she’s still alive,”
Unfortunately, he did find out and he went into a state of shock. Which led to him having two strokes and developing Alzheimer’s. Just as he told us, my grandmother’s death undid him. He seemed to go into an accelerated physical and cognitive decline in just months. He was rapidly turning into someone else.
Each month was like a decade for him, and soon the man who helped raise me as a child was disappearing before me. When I was a boy, my grandpa was one of the best and greatest people in my life. He defended me from my father when he got abusive. And asked my mother what the hell was going on and what she planned to do about it. He warned me about the dangers of cult brainwashing.
You see I was raised in a Fundamentalist church and he didn’t want me to blindly follow the doctrines of men, disguised as ‘divinity’. He claimed to be an agnostic, and once said that he believed,
“In the God who created Heaven and Earth. But I don’t know who the fuck this Jesus guy was. He was probably a delinquent and that’s why they crucified him,”
To my very Christian and very horrified mother. He also “shit on the Seven African Powers” and “Shit on every Saint in Heaven!” whenever he was angry. I always laughed and he couldn’t help but laugh with me. He would also write vulgar poems about Christian people, including a certain sect that knocks on doors to preach the good news.
“The Jehovah’s Witnesses say that soon Armageddon will come, but I laugh, I dance, and I shit on the Mother of God,”
I remember that when he took me out to eat at a Cuban diner. It was the very first memory of him I have. I think it was our first outing. He gave me an unlit cigarette and put it in my mouth and said,
“There, now you’re a man damn it!”
I think I was 6 or 7 at the time. My Mom went apeshit when she found out. It was awesome! Since that time we would go together to Little Havana where we would hang out with his friends on the side walk. Where we would work together on the farms with the animals. We would even make deliveries to places of bird food and sometimes the unsavory deliveries of animals to be sacrificed by Santeros.
Something I vehemently oppose to this day despite being a Santero myself. I would actually wake up at 5am on Saturdays to go with him to have a good breakfast and to plan out our day. We’d go to a Santero Botanica where I would go to help him bring in merchandise. We’d go see old friends of his, which included a couple that got married thanks to him (long story). Other times we would meet random strangers and talk over cortaditos about random things.
Oh, and then there was the Cuban-Chinese Restaurant. He’d go there not to eat Chinese food. He went there because they had “the best rice and stake he’d ever eaten,”. My mom used to tease him about it. “What? It’s true,” he’d say.
Mostly it was the solitude we both enjoyed. I loved talking to my grandpa about everything. We had no secrets. He quickly learned that he wasn’t so happy by himself after all. I was his partner.
I remember spending an hour eating cold pizza in his old truck. The windows down, the breeze of a nice day. The grey skies that promised a dark and stormy day. Oh how we both loved that kind of weather. Or at least I do.
Maybe he just enjoyed it because he knew I did. I remember when he bought me my first black leather jacket for the cold. I wore it even until the leather went bad and when I was hot. People thought I was crazy or that I was trying to be a punk rocker or something. But really I just enjoyed it.
When it was cold and early in the morning we would go to a diner and have a good breakfast. Then just enjoy the cold weather with a hot cafe con leche and eggs and ham. I knew all of his friends and they knew me. But despite that, he was silent as a tomb about his most private affairs. I dare say I probably know more about some of the things he went through or experienced than most people.
Only my mother knows more.
As a teenager, he loved the cemetery for example. He would spend hours immersed in the silence and the solitude. He’d even go there after school to do his homework. It was also one of the few places where he felt truly at peace. Death didn’t really scare him.
I’m sure like a normal man he feared the pain. But the act of being freed from this world did not bother him. What he feared if anything, was a life un-lived. That gusto for lifetook the form of travel, strange adventures with friends, the occasional brawl (even with younger men, he always won), affairs with younger and older women, and a lot of laughter. He even had an affair with his land lord’s wife.
I remember facepalming myself and going “Ay Abuelo tu eres tremendo,” (Oh Grandpa, you’re something else). I figured he’d end up having to find a new home. But as it turns out that is not what happened at all. He discovered that the man was beating his wife. So one day in their kitchen with both present he promptly said,
“She and I are together now. So, I don’t give a fuck if she’s married to you. She’s not your property. If you touch her again, I am going to crack your skull open and you’ll have a closed casket funeral,”
He said this nonchalantly while both the man and his wife where in the room. The story was told to me by her. That’s how I even know it happened. My grandpa had many flaws, but he loved you and was loyal to you. And he defended you with no care to what would happen to him.
Needless to say, while they were together the beatings stopped. I remember how bizzare that relationship was. That this guy had a tenant he knew was sleeping with his wife. And that the wife treated my grandpa like her husband instead of him. She even cooked breakfast or special foods for him.
My grandpa really seemed to like her. He once told me that talking to her he felt better than if “he fucked the princess of Spain!”. And he meant it too. Which made it funnier. This man could write poems in old Spanish verse yet that’s how he described his personal life.
One time, after he was already sick and looking like a corpse, my mother was “dating” some asshat that had a reputation for hitting women. She didn’t know that when she decided to give him a chance. But grandpa sure did. He sized this guy up, literally looked him up and down. So he looks at my Mom and says,
“Hija what is your size and weight?”
She replied and he said,
“Good! If some piece of shit ever lays a hand on you, you take your fist and you hit him as hard as you can under his chin and fuck up his jaw. He’ll live to regret it,”
The guy laughed nervously. He knew my old man had him pegged nice and good. And even while he was so weakened from his first stroke, that one hard gaze was enough to make even a younger man think twice. This was my second father. In many ways my real father, as he had influenced me in ways that my own could never do.
I remember visiting him at the retirement home for the first time. I took a Lyft to travel from Sweetwater to Miami Springs. I remember it was a beautiful sunny day and I actually enjoyed the little trip. But no one told me, no one warned me about what I would find when I got there. I liked the building, I thought it looked nice from the outside.
I searched for his room in the hallway. That rancid smell hit me all at once. That smell that lets you know there are elders who have not bathed yet. Like a smell of dust accumulating. People who can no longer move on their own.
Who need constant supervision. Then I found his room. He was sharing it with three other people. How can I describe seeing him turn from a strong man, despite his age, into a living corpse? I was shocked to say the least. Holding my emotions in was no easy task
That first day when I got to the Home he had to be placed in and saw him in that bed I hardly recognized him. I’m not exaggerating when I say he looked like death itself. He had lost so much weight, his skin grew so pale as if no blood flowed through his veins. And to make it worse, he couldn’t even stand up anymore. Now he required a wheel chair and a diaper.
Most of his friends weren’t around. He had fallen out of touch with all of them by this time. But not me, I’m your partner remember grandpa? Till the end. I stayed with him all day as he slept. I only left to eat in some little Restaurant around the corner.
I came back and I stayed until 5 or maybe 5:30pm. I knew it was late because night was breaking through. I took another Lyft home and felt mixed up inside. Confused. So, so confused.
I took pictures of him and shared it with my uncle and with my sister. For three years almost without fail myself, my mother, and my sister visited grandpa every weekend. We would bring him Cuban cafe, and chocolate pudding. Sometimes jello. He would devour it and then sing lewd songs aloud.
Mostly he would change the lyrics of Guantanamera to “Juan Cagalera” (Juan Shits alot). He would also sing about a man taking a shit. And that he saw that he had a small gun and a sack with two bullets. My mom was trapped between being embarrassed and laughing at the same time. I’m pretty sure he did it to piss off all of those old society ladies in the home.
The ones who wore fancy pearls and thought they were Spanish aristocrats. One of them was named Daisy. She came up to us to try and complain about my grandpa. My mom quickly defused the situation.
“My what nice pearls you have Daisy!”
“Why thank you child, I’ve had them since I was a little girl,”
Then my grandpa said,
“Coño (damn) they must be over a 100 yrs old. Quick! Run to an Antique Dealer, you’ll be a millionaire!”
My mom, sister, and I tried so hard not to laugh. We went red in the face. And Daisy walked off so pissed we thought she’d have a stroke herself. Gradually, this became the new normal. And my mother said seeing him like this was even worse than watching my grandmother die.
We never thought this would happen to him. We never thought he would end up in a home. We are a family that takes care of our elders. All my other grandparents lived with the family. With their children and grandchildren.
We wanted Abuelo Juan to live with us too. But he was so stubborn. He didn’t want to be a burden on us. He lived on his own and had his own place. But with his cognitive decline, the owners of his building began to tell us that he was falling asleep in the hallways and forgetting where his apartment was.
We never thought a retirement home was where he would end up. It was unheard of in our family. But with each stroke and the growing Alzheimers he needed help only professionals could give him. He’d more or less become accustomed to his new surroundings. He believed it was a new apartment building.
He’d talk with other people but it was just small talk. The only people he really talked to were younger, attractive nurses. He would hit on them and make them laugh with his jokes. And would speak gibberish that he claimed was Arabic or Russian. But he only really came alive when he saw us.
“Pepito Carajo! Que bueno verte,”
(Pepito Goddamn it! It’s great to see you).
He was the only one I allowed to call me that. Pepe is my father. And I hate being seen as similar to him in any way. But somehow my grandpa changed the meaning of the name for me. The last peaceful memory I have of my grandfather was the last time me and my mom visited him.
My sister had already moved to another state. It was a calm Sunday afternoon. Sunny outside and the light coming from the window cast shadows that made it look as if the room were under water. You know what I mean? Like the reflection of water from a pool. He was already almost immobile by this point.
He never wanted to get out of bed now. Although he seemed more alert and happy strangely. He stayed awake talking to us for a bit and asking me how old I was now. And as usual, when I said 33 he would be shocked. He remembered me as I was in my teenage years.
He thought I was 15 again. He started drifting to sleep. And then we left. And that was the last time I saw my grandpa alive. Because then the pandemic hit.
And his retirement home was shut down. My uncle and mom were able to see him through the window and talk to him. Or sometimes talk to him through the phone. He started developing a cough and we began to get worried. We suspected it was the Coronavirus right away.
But they assured us it was a case of pneumonia. Nothing more. They took forever to test him, if that is what they actually did. And claimed he tested negative for the virus. My mom breathed a sigh of relief for the first time that day.
So imagine what it was like the next day to be ordering dinner and finding out that he passed away. My mom said she had felt a heaviness in her heart. That she knew something was going to happen but not what. She had left work earlier that day to give him a visit but no one answered from his room when she called out. Not even a nurse.
Not his usual protests of “shut the fuck I’m trying to sleep!”. Nothing. The nurses claimed they came in with his food and found him dead at 5:30pm. I had to be the one to break the news to his friend from his old job that he possibly died of Coronavirus. The assisted living facility we took him to, had apparently had 106 cases of Covid 19.
We learned about all these cases nearly a week after he died. We were starting to get grounded. We were starting to come to terms with what had happened. Only to watch Univision at 11pm for one of their daily Coronavirus reports and see this.
— Adventures of a Mage in Miami (@MiamiMagus) May 2, 2020
My rage, my pain, my anger. So much hurt in so little time. This had to be the shittiest week of my life. Nothing else could ever compare to this. I used to think my ex leaving me was bad.
I wanted to marry her and have a family. But this was far worse. In fact it set the bar for just how much worse something could be instead of a breakup. Someone you dated leaves you? Big Deal. There’s someone out there for everyone.
You just have to go out and find them. But there are some losses that one never truly gets over. Losing someone that you have loved since you were born, the first person who held you as a baby. That’s a fate worse than death. Or perhaps it is a death of some kind.
It’s as if my life force had been sucked out of body. As if something in the Universe just went cold. I feel numb and almost cold inside. I have had to keep myself from crying and grieving because my mother needs me. She just lost both of her parents now.
She’s not going to see them again for a very long time. Until her time comes to depart as well. I’ve been sleeping on the floor of her apartment so she wouldn’t be alone. And today I heard her talking to her husband (who is stuck in Honduras now). I pretended to still be asleep.
And I heard her crying on the phone. Telling her husband that she’s worried about her brother. Because their Dad’s death has so deeply effected him. That he blames himself for his death. Because he had power of attorney.
Because he trusted the scum from that facility to care for his Dad. That he would be safe and cared for. As mother’s day nears, it won’t be quite the same. For all intents and purposes she’s an orphan now. They have a cliche for this kind of thing.
You know, the one that says that with a person’s passing, the world gets a little dimmer. Well, it’s not a cliche. It’s truth. In Judaism, God is believed to be this gigantic swirling pool of light.
And all of us come from that pool of light. We’re all pieces of Adonai’s great cosmic soul broken down into human form. So when we die, our souls or our light, returns back to the Source. And that Quantum Source is God. Or comes from God.
So when we die, we are dimming the world. Because our light flees this place to go home. We leave the world dimmer and darker than when we first started out because our presence made it a better place. So the dead are not whom we mourn, but ourselves. The dead find peace (usually).
As long as they are remembered, as long as they are not forgotten and the proper rituals and prayers are offered, they are well. It’s only when they are forgotten and unloved that they suffer. No, we mourn ourselves because just a little bit of that light left our world and went back to it’s source. And we are left in a world far less bright, than that which we lived in before. How did I do Abuelito?
Did I succeed at condensing your long, eventful life, into one gigantic post? I found it hard to do. I feel that the Earth has shifted underneath my feet. That my hold over everything is lost. That I am lost. But I won’t mourn you Abuelo, I’ll celebrate you.
We will take our time to grieve yes. But not to feel bad about ourselves. Instead, to heal and to move on. To honor your spirit and your memory. To cherish all the fond memories we have of you.
And to light your way so that you may be with the ancestors. Adios Juan, hasta la vuelta. Until I see you again grandfather. I love you.