The title of this post might have come from the Talmud or Anaïs Nin or perhaps another source… I’ve never seen it in any original text, so I’ll just thank the one who revealed such truth and move on. I’m sharing it now because yesterday, someone told me, “Your problem, Magaly, is that you lack conviction. You can’t see truth because you don’t understand it.” The words made me roar with laughter, which might have a tad weird as I was standing in front of a funeral home after having dropped off the clothes my little brother will wear during his viewing.
The above statement was prompted after I told the person, “I believe you knew exactly who my brother was, to you. I trust that my sister-in-law knew exactly who my brother was, to her. I assure you that my father knew exactly who my brother was, to him. I know exactly who my brother was, to me. Everyone who knew my little brother knew their real Pabelo. And you know what? Your truth and my truth are not more or less important than theirs, or more special, or less real. You saw him through your experiences; that’s all. So no, we won’t have your [religious leader] come and direct services at my brother’s funeral. Even if you, in your heart of hearts, always knew that my little brother wanted to join [insert religious path of person in question] like you.”
My family subscribes to many different religions: we have Catholics, Baptist, Seventh-day Adventists, Pentecostals, Mormons, Evangelists, Nature Lovers, non-religious people, and I, of course, who might be the last openly witchy soul in the bunch… we have a bit of everything, my Wicked Luvs. And I think it’s wonderful; especially, in the case of the few of us who can sit down and discuss the commonalities and differences of our beliefs in non-theological ways. I wish that can become true when it comes to our personal feelings of my brother. I want that each of us can accept that our Pabelo was as real as the next person’s. IrelandBrady explains my reasons best:
People are very complex creatures. Each person sees something different in the same person. Therefore, one is a different person to each of the different people in one’s life. When one leaves this life they leave behind all these different personas of who they are. The individuals left behind feel they each knew what was best for the “person” they knew and that they knew that person in a way in which no other person did. Which is true.
Therein lies the seeds of conflict. Once people shake off the fog that blinds them to the feelings of others who have also lost this person, understand the person was known and loved by many in a multitude of personas; then the conflicts lessen, comforting each other ensues, healing begins.
Your brother’s love lives on through all who loved him.
I’ve never believed that the “The truth shall set you free.” For, like J. K. Rowling puts it on The Casual Vacancy, “It frighten[s] people when you [are] honest; it shock[s] them.” However, our personal truths—the way we see the world—when shared, explained, combined and accepted can turn us into a huge happy family.
I started Pabelón, a blog where I intended to share bits about my brother’s life, because I wanted his truths to be separate from mine. I wanted my story about him to be as free from my influence as it was manageable, but that is impossible. I’m sharing my brother as I remember him. I’m writing his truths after they are filtered by my love for him. So, I guess, they are our truths; not his.
I’m sure you’ve already noticed that I brought the two posts I wrote at Pabelón to Pagan Culture. I will celebrate my brother as I remember him—bright, playful, a bit irresponsible at times, totally lovable all the time, real—I hope others can do the same. Pabelo and his daughter deserve that much.
Pabelo at our big brother’s birthday dinner
Pabelo and I. He was upset because I was going to cut my hair.
Papi, my big brother (Miguelo), and Pabelo eating my pineapple upside down cake.
Pabelo, my brother Fernando and I—I hadn’t told Pabelo about the haircut yet.
Nicole, my brother’s daughter, feeding her daddy ;-)