They Lived to Tell the Tale and I’m a Better Me for It

I was on the phone with a friend, talking about the separation between church and state… and shaking our heads at the silliness that arises when people give opinions about an issue without having enough information to truly know what they are talking about.

Our conversation was light and not serious at all, so I was scrolling through my friend’s Facebook while we talked. I could hear one of my friend’s children giggling on the background—the child had finished using the bathroom just to find out that there was no toilet paper, and had to leave the facilities in order to get a new roll.

It was April 18th and I had scrolled down to April 17th on my friend’s Facebook wall when I heard her kid yell, “Pants!” right before I read “RIP: Author Gabriel García Márquez dies.”  

My friend was talking to me, soothing me, asking me if I was okay. I think I said I was fine. I was actually sobbing so hard that the toothache that had tortured me for days intensified. And I was giggling… and thinking, Oh dear Gabo, I had the image of a soiled-bottom kid running around with her pants around her ankles when I found out you died.

When I ended the phone conversation, I laughed—loudly and wildly and gleefully—because I knew that if G.G. Márquez had heard about what was in my mind when I learned of his death, he would roar. And he would probably turn the moment into a story; for “Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it.”

I called a friend (let’s call him Jaws because he loved that nickname). Jaws was the one person who witnessed my only speechlessness moment—life didn’t prepare my mouth to say what it was supposed to when my eyes saw the writer that my brain and heart had always admired most.

I called Jaws… to share the story of the pants around the ankle and my mad laughter. After many fruitless contact attempts, I found out the day before G.G. Márquez’s death, Jaws had also left this world. I was told that he built a boat of fire. His strong hands, his lucid brain, and his loyal-till-the-end heart, sailed to the Underworld shrouded in flames.

People often speak of a person being in shock after hearing terrible news. They say things like, “She didn’t make a sound. Didn’t blink. She was frozen, wide-eyed, open-mouthed. Just gone, she was gone, and then she was laughing—loudly and wildly and gleefully—she was in shock.”  

The death of one of the most brilliant writers of our times and the suicide of one of my best friends didn’t send me into shock. No. But I found myself thinking about everything I’ve ever known… You can say that when I learned about their deaths, my entire life flashed in front of my eyes.

I’m grieving. I’m thinking… There’ll be changes… I’m summoning well-lived moments to retell them as I remember them… to make them into stories.

See you when I see you, Jaws and Gabo. I’m a better me because you lived to tell the tale.

Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez (6 March 1927 – 17 April 2014)
image via, The Telegraph

45 comments:

  1. Oh sweet Magaly... *hugs, hugs, and more hugs*

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    1. Hugs back to you... and more, too. ;-)

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  2. The ultimate epitaph for a well-lover author and friend: "I’m a better me because you lived to tell the tale.

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    1. After we aren't, our memories still are...

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  3. A life without memories and worse, not shared, is what I would mourn....A life lived on their terms, is what I celebrate! xoxoDebi

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    1. Right on. We should dance and live... probably laugh a bit madly.

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  4. A swift journey to both, & my sympathies esp. to Jaw's friends & family.

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  5. A double whammy -- that's tough to deal with. When I heard GG Marquez died, I thought of you right away and how much he means to you. So sad about your friend's suicide as well. May he find peace at last.

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    1. Maybe he's writing in the stars... and reading with Jaws. ;-)

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  6. That which is remembered LIVES! Sending hugs all around...

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  7. Oh my dear sweet Magaly, i am so sorry about your friend! You know i found out about G.G Marquez from your blog! I was in complete shock the way we always are when a person who is bigger than life passes. It always catches us off guard.We can never anticipate it because it makes no sense.

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    1. I remember reading your comment over and over, even told my dad about it. Your words read like I felt--confused and so sad.

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  8. A fitting collection of words to send with one who has passed. As always, Magaly, a good share. Pants!

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    1. From now on, every time I hear the word "Pants!" I will grin, lol!

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  9. Eclipses. A Grand Cross. There's a lot happening in the stars right now. I feel a bit like I'm hanging on by my fingernails this April, as a hurricane roars through, and you know everything will be changed by it, but you won't know how until it has passed and the dust has settled. I'm so sorry about your friend, Magaly. Pants! ❤

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    1. I've been talking to a few friends about the same issue. So many things happening to so many people and places at the same time... let's hope we can see something we can work with and smile at, after it has passed and the dust has settled.

      I just grinned at, "Pants!"

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  10. Oh Magaly, this is a lot to ask one person to bear all at one time. Thoughts and prayers with you.

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    1. The last two days were weird... long and a bit empty. But things are getting better. The world moves and we move with it. Thanks for the thoughts and prayers.

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  11. Such loss...so sorry...

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  12. What one can say to sooth the reality of loosing a friend? Words never seem enough... So I am just sdending you a bunch of hugs and positive energy dear Magaly.
    When I heard news about the author of one of the most beautiful books I thought that I was so blesed to have lived with ths sperson on the same planet...his magic spread into the world.

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    1. We have the books. And the memories. To share...

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  13. Crying silent tears for your loss, while smiling at the joy you brought into each others lives <3 XXX

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  14. Words are never enough in this situation.

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    1. Time, some heavy sighing and a lot of living will have to do. Maybe some writing...

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  15. A great talent lost. May he rest in peace.

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  16. do what you must do.......xo

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    1. How is it that you always know what to say. You must be a Witch.

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  17. Words cannot express.......................................... xox

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  18. Dear, sweet, Magaly. I wish I could take away your sadness x

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    1. You do. I think that when we share this bits, the pain wanes a bit... and then changes. Then we move on.

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  19. I am so sorry Magaly! Sending you a big hug!

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    1. Big hugs to you, my Stacy. There was a crow on my rail, today. It made me smile, thinking, I wonder if Stacy painted you.

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  20. I thought of you instantly when news screened of Gabriel Garcia passing after a long and fruitful life & massive contribution to literature, and I am thinking of you now, a veil of sadness at your friends early demise, I am so sorry, so sorry and hope they knew people loved them.

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    1. Is it strange that knowing that so many of you thought of me when he passed brings me some comfort? Even my father told me that he was worried about how sad I would be. I guess some people mark us in ways we don't even notice... or maybe I just talked a lot about him. About them both. I've blogged a few times about my friend who chose to travel to the Summerlands. One of these days, when I feel stronger, I might share some pictures of our happy days...

      I think they knew...

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    2. If they didn't know, all that ringing in their skulls will sure give them a clue. ;-D

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  21. Sorry for your losses. Dying after a long and fullfilling life is one thing, but it still hurts for those left behind... and sudden endings hurt even more.

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    1. We can't help but be a little greedy. We don't want to lose anyone. Yes, by "we" I mean "me."

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  22. I'm so sorry for you loss. I've been away from my computer for a few days so I'm just catching up. I wish you lots of strength and blue skies the coming weeks.

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    1. I shall look up and think blue and pretty. ;-)

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