My dad died suddenly from the flu. This past year has been a big adjustment for everyone in my family. I’ve been writing again and taking photos inspired by him and his absence.
The next couple of photos show the mourning of a loved one and how life turns out after an event like this.
Last photo I took of him. It was Christmas Eve 2013. My mom was sick during these days. Christmas morning she went to the hospital. A few days later my dad caught the virus and it all went down from there.
Dad was so sick he couldn’t breathe, my sister had to call an ambulance but he couldn’t walk by himself anymore, and paramedics couldn’t move him. One of my uncles and my brother in law put him in this rocking chair — it used to be my dad’s mom — to carry him upstairs and get him to the hospital.
The rocking chair is still in my front porch, it gives us the feeling he’s still there looking out for us.
At some point during this year, we visited the place where we held the service. I went into the hall and saw the platform his coffin was on. That piece of wood was the last place his body rested, there was something about it, a texture and a feeling of all the bodies it kept, of all the tears shed during the worst days of my life.
Hard and gray days. Not only were we mourning for a father, a husband, but my whole family was sick. As soon as I arrived to Monterrey (my hometown) I got sick again, and continued to be so for about two months later. That’s my night stand table, with all the medicines, remedies and the flowers from my father’s funeral.
This photo was actually taken with an analog camera years ago. The ring was my grandpa’s (dad’s dad). They shared the name: Manuel.
I wanted — needed — to write again. In February I found the ideal notebook to do so. Everything I want to tell him is there.
With the notebook came the fountain pen I usually write with, I was cleaning it, and as the ink was going down the drain I thought about life following the same direction: the drain.
Sometimes the idea of my dad takes me by surprise and I need to write and empty my thoughts. My cat keeps me company.
There are things I remember, things that I don’t and reimagine them in my memory.
This is what can’t sleep looks like. Sleeping has been complicated, especially when I start to imagine scenarios where he is still alive.
My dad’s favourite food was barbecue. We eat it from time to time, but it has never been the same.
My dad’s favorite place to pray. He was a man of faith, and I continue to struggle with the things he was so sure about. One of the most common fights we had was that: he was so certain, I always had (have) doubt.
There are places. Places that I can’t visit again without thinking about him.
One of the last vacation we took as a family was to this place (Paamul, Quintana Roo). He was always amazed at the sea, it was a place for him to connect with his Creator (how he used to refer to God sometimes). There is another photo, just like this one, he is in it but you can only see his back. Earlier this year I went to that same place to honor his memory and to marvel at the sea, just like he used to do.
All the weddings I went to this year were a constant reminder that I’m an orphan, that I don’t have a father anymore, that if I ever get married I won’t have a dance with him. He won’t be here to see me screw things up in many ways.
Day of the Dead has taken a turn. Now we have an altar and write calaveritas (rhymes) to remember his life.
The last couple of months we’ve been reorganizing the house and finding all sorts of stuff. This is a letter I wrote him when I was probably 6 years old. It is true. I love you, dad.
The last thing I found were some old photos. He was very young.
There is something about death that leaves you without words. When someone dies you can barely admit it, you are rarely able to define how you feel. Life goes on, yes, but it is such a funny feeling knowing that everything is the same. Except it is not.