His Love Giggles and Calls Me “Tía Magaly!!!”


My brother left many loved ones behind, but at the top of the list are his daughter, Nicole, and his wife, Emely. Last night, I called my sister-in-law and my niece. Nicole is only two, so you know how those phone conversations go. She doesn’t know that I can’t see her through the phone, and in her child’s mind every person who she has ever talked to on the phone is listening on the other end of the line. So she addresses them…

Nicole was eating cereal—her favorite snack—when I called. I was on the phone with Emely, when Nicole shrieked, “Se me botó, Mami! Se me Botó!” She had spilled her cereal and she wanted her mom to know.

Emely laughed (it was a miracle to hear her laugh) and told me, “She had about half a spoon left. Now she wants another serving because ‘she spilled it.’ She really loves her cereal.” My sister-in-law puts Nicole on the phone with me, and goes to clean up the massive half-spoon spill.

As soon as Nicole gets the phone, she starts, “Tía Magaly, se me botó. En el piso, Tía Magaly, se me botó en el piso.” It seems that it was very important that I understood that she spilled her cereal on the floor. Not on the table or the couch, but the floor. She continued explaining and I caught every other word or so—the language of a two year old is very mysterious… Yet, one phrase was clear enough to pierce through my heart. “Se me botó, Papi. Te ‘tas econdiendo, Papi? No te econda, se me botó!”

I know that my niece is much too young to understand that my brother is gone, but to hear it in her voice, through her words was almost too much. I spilled it, Papi. Are you hiding, Papi? Don’t hide, I spilled it! I swallowed a sob as those words played over and over in my heart. My brother and his daughter used to speak via Skype all the time. They often played peek-a-boo, so she probably thought her dad was playing with her.  

Emely came back to the phone and we were quiet for a while. She broke the silence. “This is why I try not to answer the phone in front of her,” she said. “Nicole always thinks is him.”

I couldn’t speak for a while. Then we said some things, but I can’t remember all of it. In my brain’s memory, the conversation resumed after Emely and I started talking about Nicole’s birthday, September 20th. I want to go to the Dominican Republic for her birthday. Make her smile like my brother might have. Pick her up, spin her around, and see my brother’s smile on her face. I want to watch her grow up, tell her stories about her dad, about the day he called me to say, “I think I want to have a kid.” I nearly swallowed my cell phone because he was barely 23 and didn’t have the best possible job.

Pabelo’s birthday is tomorrow; he would have turned 27. Today, I thank the universe, for in his short years my brother loved and was loved. He didn’t get to do everything, but he experienced the best of all things: living in love. And through the product of that love and our memories of him, my little brother lives on…

39 comments:

  1. He got to experience a lot since there was love. Continuing to be a part of his sweet daughters live will be your physical link to your brother. And she will be enriched by your knowledge of who he was. That's a blessed situation. Oma LInda

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    1. In a horrible situation, we got the best we could have ever gotten, didn't we?

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  2. Gosh that was heartbreaking precious one....Love you XXX

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    1. It is difficult, and sad when I think that she will never 'know him,' but I'm glad for the universe that gave us Nicole.

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  3. Magaly my heart breaks for all of you. What a beautiful child. She will know her father because he was so loved by his family that he will never be forgotten. I think of you often and I hope time will heal just a little of the pain you are all suffering.

    blessings & bliss
    Sue

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    1. Thanks for keeping me and my family in your thoughts. We could could all the positive energy in the world ;-)

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  4. I literally have no words. I have been staring at the keyboard for some time now! Once again..i am so sorry for your loss dear Magaly!

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    1. I understand. I've found myself doing the same more than once these days...

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  5. My heart breaks for you and your family, right now. I am also thinking back on some things my family always told me that I did after my father died. I was only 13 days from turning 3, so, you can imagine they were similar. My mother wouldn't tell me straight out that he died, but I knew something was happening and it wasn't good. Eventually, I broke down on my own and my family had to tell me. But, I would look for him everywhere, under his bed, anywhere. I know how I have dealt with that loss over the years, but I can't say if her experience will be similar or not. But, he will live on in his daughter. My thoughts are with all of you Magaly.

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    1. The idea of a little child looking for his daddy under the bed after he is gone... so sad.

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  6. What a beautiful photo Magaly.. A beautiful family.. I just can't help but think - believe - that your brother will now be with his daughter always, with all of you.. It's not the same for those left behind but for him.. He can be with his family every moment of every day and watch over all of you.. Blessings to you all..

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    1. Yesterday, I told my brother that I knew he would watch his baby in spirit. We--the family--would make sure that she was okay physically and psychologically. I know her dad will protect her heart. It was the kind of person he was.

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  7. So sad for his widow and daughter, carrying on without him.

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    1. It is the saddest thing, Debra. Emely is so young... and Nicole, well, you know...

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  8. Breaks my heart. I as I think most adults do, understand the cycle of life, but a child. Wow, it just brings me to tears. I wish you strength for you and your family. Bless it be

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    1. My thoughts exactly. How can you tell a child that her daddy is gone forever? I don't think they can understand the vastness of such knowledge...

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  9. *huggles Magaly and the sil and the baby*

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  10. Que la Diosa te tenga en sus brazos y el espíritu de su ser querido caminar junto a usted y su familia.

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    1. (apologies for my rusty spanish)

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    2. Your Spanish is just fine, querida. Creo que mi hermanito te hubiera sonreido ;-)

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  11. Precious memories and one precious child.
    Hugs to you
    Hugs
    SueAnn

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    1. We shall save the memories and help her bring them to life ;-)

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  12. Sofi is just three, so, yea, language is an interesting concept. Such a sweetheart my heart hurts for her! *hugs* I hope that you get down to see them.

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    1. It is a lovely collection of sounds and gestures, isn't it?

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  13. Always and forever~♥

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  14. Language of tots are always interesting to try and understand. Thankfully AJ finally speaks (and SPEAKS) in full sentences so I only have to decode one.

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  15. Such a beautiful photo! You made me smile and cry! I hope you are able to go to the Dominican Republic! You are in my thoughts sweet one! Big Hugs!

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    1. Smiles through tears are like sunshine while it rains: beautiful, whimsical and a message of hope. I will embrace your smiley tear and hope ;-)

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  16. My heart sank when I read her words....sweet little Nicole....

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    1. She is a darling, Cameron. And my gods she looks and act so much like my little brother when he was her age that it is both heartbreaking and comforting; often, at the same time.

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  17. He will always be with you, in your heart and on your mind, always.
    Your sister-in-law is so beautiful! as well as your niece, she picked up cuteness and beauty from both of her parents. Take care of her! and yourself, Magaly.

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    1. I agree, they made a beautiful baby in a out. She has their physical traits and the fire of their hearts. We'll help her during her journey to womanhood ;-)

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  18. Replies
    1. I've been doing a lot of sighing these days...

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  19. What a beautiful family. He got to experience the best of this world, he looks so happy.

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    1. That brings some solace, doesn't it? They do look wonderful together...

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