Wednesday, February 19, 2014

The Inevitable ((A Short Story and Tribute) (Papa Augusto))

I did not sleep much that night. The night before Papa Augusto died: the night of the 14th of January, 2014. Hope on the one side of my bed and anxiety on the other, kept sleep away!
       I suppose one might call it ‘anxious concern,’ in lack of a better name; he gave me-–every time I saw him—happiness: which had no equal in my life, —or, perhaps, seldom ever again can or will have. Grief transcends value, in that: what it is for one person may not be for another; one might give all he has for an hour more with that person he loves, cares for: whereas, to mankind as a whole, that one life may be worthless. Papa Augusto’s life was of such a value of the first (sad to say, in those last days and hours, he was near a comatose state).
       That night, the night I could not sleep, the night before Augusto Peñaloza, ninety-two years old, died, the night went by so quickly, and that sunrise appeared to fall upon me— for once — not surprisingly, as often it does.
       Sometime before noon my wife Rosa got a call from her elder sister, Martha, an incurable call, telling her to go to the hospital at once. All anxiety seemed to float, surrounding me in a cloud of mystery, the unknown: but I knew, somehow I knew, the inevitable.
       I saw the paleness on her face when she returned, — given way to death; but it also had given way to God’s rich grace, peacefulness.  She told me, in no certain words, her father had passed over into the other life; you know the life beyond, afterlife.  That he was now in the hands of our Creator…
       I do believe—as I recall—she kind of whispered that, perhaps a little louder than a whisper, but not much. Her father, a true Peruvian who kept back very little, was now unaccompanied.
       I said gravely (at the funeral): “The world for me will be a little emptier, with Papa Augusto gone and not quite like it used to be…” I had little more to say, grief can choke, make a person’s disposition, careless.
       He suffered so much the last days and hours: it was as if he had done his penance for whatever wrongs he might have done here on earth, in those long, ninety-two years, plus six months! I dare say I, myself, would have sought death, being less painful; —so, I thought at the time.

       When I had wrung out all my thoughts like twisting a rag of it water, clearing my head, I had kissed the coffin; a certain hesitation befell me, — it could hardly be called nervousness—which was not really new to me, but for some reason, death is necessary to crown all that you have devoted your life to
       —that  this was the moment which all the things you have done, learned, that have been hidden from the eyes, and, mind, the knowledge of men from centuries before, now one must face all this in the new present: perhaps most of an unknown kind.

       Hence, as to me, this was turning one older page. Then I got thinking: how so many people come into sight to be running the risk of not turning that old page, and not looking at the benefit of an afterlife, a new page: continuously replacing it with science, and history and philosophies of this world (which as Jesus said: resides the kingdoms of Satan); the new page, unturned for the old one; fear of the new wisdom, the unknown? Papa Augusto knew, long before he died, he had to turn that page, and he did!... Anyhow, Papa Augusto was to me right on the threshold of new happiness; that in an instant, he was here on earth, and then there, wherever there is, and there is a There: if that makes sense?

       Thus, as I was kissing the coffin, standing erect, looking at the dozen or so mourners, like a flash, this all passed before me: new pages for Papa Augusto, long waited—; again, Papa Augusto made me feel good, as always.

Date written: 2-2-2014 (1028)
For: Augusto Peñaloza who died 15 January, 2014.