Multiple Layers of Sadness

We are fully aware of the privilege to be able to live amongst such places of beauty, to taste such luscious tropical delicacies, to meet such truly amazing people and then run away from it all whenever we please and start afresh on another speck of land sticking out of the ocean surface somewhere close or far. In spite of what almost everybody thinks, this does not make life better in and by itself. The daily struggle to give our lives meaning, to align our deeds with our ever volatile thoughts, to break through the deadly cycle of isolation we have been trained to call our self, all this is still there, and maybe more so, simply by way of contrast. The slightest onset of depression feels so horribly wrong set against the intense colors of a sunset, while in the urban chaos of the inner city you would have simply had a drink on top of your usual regime and thought you were just fine. So we are trying to be overly careful about staying in touch with all that is not so good, with all that hurts and refuses to heal. And there has been quite a bundle of that.

We landed here on Nuku Hiva on July 19, after 34 days of braving the wind and waves, exactly on Beatriz’ birthday! By the time we got ourselves organized enough to go to shore it was July 20, Colombia’s independence day and the day her family usually celebrates her birthday, so it was time to phone home and give them the good news that we were safe and sound. Instead of cheers she got hit with a piece of really bad news. Her brother had passed away two weeks earlier, falling off some stairs on a third floor down on a concrete floor, where he had died instantly. So here she was, in this otherworldly place, but unable to really be here, a big chunk of her was being pulled away into her distant homeland, where her family was mourning. She now looks up at the stars and thinks her brother is somewhere up there amongst them. We went to the beach along the other side of the bay. There we made a makeshift altar out of the nicest stones we could find and adorned it with beautiful yellow flowers.

Rest in Peace, Victor!

Then we opened up the lei a local lady had given her earlier as a gift of welcome, and let the petals fall into the sea. It took them into the surf, some floated away, some back to the sand. We returned to the altar and there Beatriz was finally able to weep. Her tired sea worn body was shaking violently with the big why that always lingers when somebody close to you is taken away.

Mourning is by definition a hard and painful process. To do it long distance and amongst foreign people who speak strange languages, this truly becomes an ordeal. There is practical stuff we need to do. Communication is expensive and our funds so scarce that any additional expense hurts. Thank God for Skype! Visual contact across vast geographical distance is possible thanks to this amazing technology. It takes hours and hours of it, just to get the details of what exactly happened. The autopsy apparently had revealed a heart attack seconds before the fall. This makes things easier to explain, to understand a little morsel of the why. Beatriz searches within her memory for connections with her lost brother, key moments of her childhood surge up into awareness, sometimes she is simply not here with me. She visits with her brother, who now seems to live somewhere close by and has become some sort of a protector, looking over us, removing dangers from our ways.

When away from access to the internet a phone call can bring relief. But not when it carries the next piece of bad news our way. During a quick check in with mom while up on the North Coast, she found out that her dad had also passed away last December. They themselves had just now found out. Her mom had escaped him and her despotic mother-in-law when her kids were barely little toddlers. Beatriz had no relationship with her dad after that. But still, here’s yet another stone weighing down her soul. Another set of colorful petals kisses the surf, rubs on the brown sand and feels like something has been released. Another endless stream of memories starts looking for its source. Another translucent ribbon fogs up the already over-saturated vision.

We do know that these things will pass and once they will be gone, we will have grown. But while they are here they need their space and time. Their underlying swell comes in from far away and ripples the surface we live on and sometimes rocks the boat quite hard, reminding us gently and harshly that life is made up of many layers and multiple dimensions. Each and every one of them needs a visitor from time to time to come, stay, sit and listen, then take the freshly shaped experience and weave it to the one right next to it. Then all the layers join and flow towards tomorrow’s endless possibilities, towards that which makes up you and makes up me, and makes us into one and lets us be the same. The differences between those layers become all but meaningless.

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6 Responses to “Multiple Layers of Sadness”

  1. Paz Says:

    Cuanto lo siento Beatriz, es duro, te acompano y te tengo a ti y tu familia en mis oraciones, animo amga!
    Besitos,
    M.Paz

  2. Fabiola Says:

    Hola Beatriz, me da tristeza tu dolor, pero el tiempo sana las heridas del alma, poquito a poco, pero este episodio te da mas fortaleza para seguir adelante, y pienso que tu hermanito es una etrella mas en el firmamento para guiar tu gran aventura con Aluna, un abrazo,( te tengo en mis plegarias) tu Paisanita

    • alunaboat Says:

      Gracias, Fabiola, por tan lindo mensaje. Mi hermano seguir acompaandome siempre. Cudete mucho y buena suerte con todas tus cosas. Beatriz

  3. Bob Bois Says:

    Hola Beatriz and Beat.
    My family and I are so sorry to hear of the loss of someone so close to you. The journey you’ve undertaken, with its attendant separation from loved ones, is also the opportunity for those of us who come to know you through your journey, to send our warm and loving thoughts to you, who we’d never have known but for your journey. Please know you’re in our thoughts. I’m sure the people of Nuku Hiva feel the same sadness and kinship with you.
    With deep respect,
    Bob, Tess, Dante, and Jonha.

    • alunaboat Says:

      Thanks, Bob and family, for your kind words! The journey is THE connection, its winding ways and ups and downs become the words for our story, and the stories we tell are nothing but the stories we have had the honor to listen to, told by our brothers and sisters along the way.

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