By: Jazmin Macias ∞
The fear of the unknown world, where every human being has to go after his or her time on earth is over, is always a challenge. Dealing with the pain of losing someone so close and knowing that you will never see this person ever again is difficult, especially when that person was your reason to be stronger and happier. No one has ever come from the unknown world or the life after dead to tell us what will happen to us when we die. This leads us to ask the question, what will happen to our loved ones, siblings, friends, or even to us, when we die?
First of all, I want to introduce my uncle, my hero, my best friend, Ismael Macias Lopez. My relationship with him was the best. Even though he was 39 years old, he was my best friend. He understood me more than anyone in this entire world. Since I was a little girl I felt an amazing connection with him. As I grew up he was the shoulder that I turned to when I needed to cry and he always told me that he was so proud of me. He was there in the moments when I wanted to give up but he never let me. We used to play soccer for more than five hours every Saturday because he was trying to help me to lose some weight. Even though my uncle was an alcoholic, he was a really happy man. Many times I told him to stop drinking but he would always tell me that we need to do what makes us happy. Maybe I knew he was wrong but no matter how hard I tried, he would never quit.
In May of 2014 I went to a vacation in Tijuana like I always do when summer starts to spend time with my grandparents. Since they live in front of my house in Tijuana, I thought it was a great idea to be with them and my uncle because he lived with them too. When I got there I ran to hug my uncle but for some reason he was hurt. He told me that he wasn’t feeling good and that his lounges were hurting. The next morning my grandma called me and said ¨Mija, your uncle doesn’t want to eat. Can you please come? I got there as fast as I could and I asked him if he would take me to eat some TJ Tacos. He didn’t think about it. He said ¨ Claro, lets go.” While we were there in a strange and tiny restaurant, I told him to go to the doctor because I was worried about him, and he immediately agreed. We ate a lot, we looked at each other and with a huge and amazing smile we said TJ tacos are the best!,.
The whole summer he was going to a lot of appointments but he wasn’t getting any better. He started to look pale and he lost a lot of weight, which made me feel worse. My parents told me that he had a dangerous disease called CIRRHOSIS. At first I didn’t understand what it was, but I ran to a computer and I started to look for that disease. I got a lot of information about the disease and I felt those goosebumps in my whole body because my uncle had all the symptoms. Cirrhosis is a slow, progressing disease in which healthy liver tissue is replaced with scar tissue, eventually preventing the liver from functioning properly caused by alcohol that can cause death. The symptoms were a huge belly with a lot of water, yellow eyes, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. I never knew that this would happen to my uncle. Since I knew he needed me, I stopped my whole life just to be with him until he got better. But seeing him like that was killing me. Every time I was with him, my tia San Juana had to give him food in his mouth because he was too weak to eat by himself. Every time I got home after being with him the whole day, I was crying until I fell asleep. My faith and hope was gone. My hero, my best friend, was dying, but I didn’t want to admit it.
On August 20th, we received a call from México that one of my cousins had passed away and my uncle Ismael was in the hospital. I was on my way to school when my dad told me that terrible news. I decided to skip school because I wanted to be with my family. We got to my cousin’s ceremony and after that we were at the hospital for more than four hours waiting for my uncle. While we were there we saw many cases where people were crying because their loved one didn’t make. I was absolutely sure that the nurses would call my uncle’s name so we could take him home but the doctor said they needed to run more tests on him.
The next morning I was cleaning the kitchen with really loud music and someone turn off the music. I was really mad because it was my favorite song but it was my dad with a really serious face. I asked him how my uncle was, but the sadness in his face and those red eyes caught my attention. At that moment I interpreted his silence. I realized that for some reason my entire life was going to change. I was more nervous than when I got my first kiss in middle school, but when my dad opened his mouth and moved his lips, a huge and terrible sadness came over my whole body and I had terrible goosebumps. He said he’s in a better place. I started screaming. ¨ You are lying! You are lying! He couldn’t leave me! No! No! Daddy please tell me that it’s not true please! I need him! No! Please No!” I was in the floor crying. I couldn’t believe it. I was so angry with God that he took away not only my uncle, but also my best friend. He was the only person that accepted me the way I was and loved me for who I was.
When I realized that I was not going to see him anymore, I thought about giving up on everything. I couldn’t sleep, I was crying until I fell asleep. I lost all appetite and all I wanted to was to die to in order to be with my uncle. I was weak I couldn’t concentrate at school. My eyes were red, I was pale and weak. I couldn’t imagine my life without my hero and my motivation to be someone successful.
The day of my uncle’s ceremony I decided to stop crying. I made a letter with words that came from my heart. I did a huge poster with my uncle’s pictures. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my entire life. All those memories with him came back to my head. When the ceremony was almost over I heard that my dad said that it was my turn to read my letter. While I was walking towards the microphone I felt the tension and the sadness of every person that attended to the ceremony. I took the microphone and I saw the sadness of my whole family. While I was reading my letter, I saw how many people tear up from my words, and some of them smile at me because I made them understand that he was in a better place. I wasn’t scared at all. I knew my uncle was going to be there supporting me. He knew that my biggest fear was speaking in front of people, but I did for him. Somehow I felt that he was proud of me. I know he’s in a world where pain and disease don’t exist, only happiness and joy.
Many people believe that we as human beings need to accept that one day our purpose in life will be over, and we need to accept the fact that losing people is a part of life. We get to the point of asking why someone can be your happiness, but once that person dies, all you have are memories and pain. As well as the damage that someone causes by dying. I believe that no one is ever ready to lose someone or die because death is not easy to deal with.
This borderline of life and death made me realize that we need to live our life like there’s no tomorrow. This loss made me understand more about myself that I never realized before. I used to think that my motivation was always if someone was there for me physically but I was totally wrong. My motivation to be not only successful but happy is from my uncle but also a belief in myself. Maybe I can’t hug my uncle, kiss him or see him anymore but I can feel him and I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad. We as humans are not always going to be in this place, and we need to think if you die tomorrow your mission or purpose in life will be completed. I know for sure that death will always be my biggest fear; I thought about what my life would be like when my parents have to leave too. Unfortunately, death will come one day for us and we can’t escape from it.
At the end, I learned that maybe there’s life after death, maybe not, but all I know for sure is that our life can end in a second. Life is dust that can spread at a time, we brought nothing and nothing you will take, and just what was inside us. Only what we were, that personality that makes us different and unique. I wish I could turn back the clock to see them again; to give my uncle a hug and never let him go, but I understand that his time came .God called him to be by his side. Even though it hurts a lot, I realized that God will always send people in your life to learn from them, and if he decided to take them away from your life is for something better that he has for them. Maybe my cousin Oscar, my great grandma Valeriana and my uncle Ismael completed their purpose in life, even though it hurts me, I need to move on. I am still alive and I need to complete my purpose in life to be ready when God decides to take me with my uncle Ismael. I still need to find my happiness. My journey barely begins and to my three angels all I have to say is see you soon. I love you with all my heart.