This I Believe

Ana - Knoxville, Tennessee
Entered on February 6, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
Themes: death
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Out of Touch

There was a summer day last year, after leaving my son’s swimming lessons, my husband called me on the phone. “Are you going home?” he said; and without suspicion I answered yes. “I’ll meet you there. We need to talk.” A surge of anxiety took over me and I raced back home. I couldn’t think of what was wrong but I new it was serious. It was only 11:00 a.m. of a week-day… What could be the emergency that would make him rush home from work like that?

I arrived home with a nervous smile on my face. “Maybe I should be more positive… This might be a good surprise…” We sat on the couch, he held my hands, and broke it to me: Raquel died. I cried. I’m still crying. Raquel, my best friend, my “other sister”, had died of pneumonia. Pneumonia! How does a 32-year-old die of pneumonia?!

I have lost a grandfather 4 years ago. I lost another one last month. It hurts. They were in their seventies and had cancer. And I’m in a different continent. I couldn’t make it to their funerals. Is it easier to comprehend the deaths that you know are coming? Or is it because they had lived full lives? Raquel had recently separated from her husband. She wanted to have kids and didn’t have a chance. She was young, beautiful, successful at her profession, and very captivating. She was tiny and had an enormous heart. She had a good family that didn’t deserve her death. But who does?

My cousin lived with us for the last month and a half. He is in college, 10 years younger than me, and we just got to know each other. His mom died last year. She was only 44. You couldn’t tell that she died on his birthday because he was as happy as you would expect someone to be in such special occasion. He told me his mom wouldn’t want him to be sad on his birthday. If she could have chosen, she wouldn’t have died then. I believe that if Raquel could have chosen, she too wouldn’t have died without saying goodbye. We would have talked; she would have told me about her life, I would have shared things about mine. I would have told her how smart her godson was, and she would have been proud. But we hadn’t talked for a year… She was thousands of miles away and time slipped by us unmercifully.