Death is natural, life is construction

Leonid Lopez
Leonid Lopez

Today is like any other day, in which for some reason I am thinking about my deceased mother. I’ll never know if I could have loved her more. That’s what death is about: never more. Our affection is appraised and proven through a series of symbolic events: unselfish devotion, the desire to understand the other, the sacrifice of personal interests… These things are easier to write about than to live. Because they are ambiguous, they require constant self-questioning. It’s difficult, but I think the only way to get close to your wish is through this struggle.

I remember my mother’s wake and the parade of characters. The boring neighbor was there, playing his good neighbor role. Then there was the eradicator of bad habits: don’t talk loud, don’t laugh, don’t listen to music, and don’t eat too much or with too much enthusiasm. The militant of self-sacrifice was there too because he considered it his duty. And, finally, there was the housewife, mother of morals, owner of the secret of an upright life: Why did you arrive late to the funeral? Did you give your mother all you could when she was alive? Why aren’t you going to look at her in the coffin? Why aren’t you crying? Why don’t you hug your father?

Today, I feel expelled from that parade, but I’m not complaining. I think that’s what life’s about: always more, but harder. To me this Cuban melting pot reduces affection to precise formulas of behavior, applicable without distinction. In this battle, I only obey orders. Leftovers of an old morale? A poorly channeled revolutionary spirit? I don’t know; neither do I know how to swim in two currents. I’m only sure of one thing: death is natural, life is construction. I accept my rituals, try to do my best, like you.

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