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Saturday, September 22, 2007

mourning Deilis

I just found out that one of my god-daughters has died. She got very sick and was gone in three days, from meningitis, I think, though this may have gotten lost in translation.

I have only seen Deilis and her twin, Dailis, a few times since they were born, almost ten years ago. I flew down to Costa Rica, to San Vicente, for their baptism, and I’ve been back several times for short visits, but the last time I was there, when I took Stella down to meet Betty and Sara—my other family—and see the place I love, my god-daughters were in San José visiting their mother, my friend Migdaly.

It’s odd and horrible when someone who lives far away dies. It’s as if they don’t really die because you never see them anyway. I forget sometimes that a childhood friend of mine drowned in Bolivia four years ago. I only saw her when she would come back to Minnesota for visits, and even a year after her death I would catch myself thinking about her in the present tense, almost wondering what she was up to. I did the same thing with Gerardo, another friend from San Vicente, after he had been killed in a car accident. When he died, I had already returned home, and I imagine him there still, laughing in the sunlight or sitting on Betty’s front porch, drinking coffee. I know I’ll do the same with Deilis. But I don’t even know how to imagine her. I don’t know what she and her sister look like. I haven’t seen them in over six years.

How do you mourn someone you hardly knew? I need to be there, to see her family, to cry with them.

If I weren’t having these problems with the pregnancy, I would fly down, for the final day of prayers. I would stand in the crowded room of Doña Clara’s house, hypnotized by the low hum of voices, praying Santa Maria madre de Dios, ruega por ella y por nosotros los pecadores ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerta. Santa Maria madre de Dios, ruega por ella y por nosotros los pecadores ahora y en la hora de nuestra muerta. There would be too much food and it would be too hot, the humidity of Guanacaste in September low and thick in the valley. Pictures of Deilis would be on a table with a doily, surrounded by burning candles. Everyone would be crying. Everyone in San Vicente, said Betty, is crying. She was only a girl, not yet ten, one of my two god-daughters, gone.


Anonymous said...

i know those feelings you are describing, how to mourn? catching yourself off guard in the present moment with someone who no longer is. it's so difficult. but i always look to my dreams. they seem to help with the grieving of someone in your heart and close in spirit, yet far in miles.

death, even far, brings memories and futures together all at once.

take care, and i'm sorry for your loss.

Sari said...

Ah Kate, I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

God, I don't even know what to say, Kate. I am so sorry for your loss. So very, very sorry.

kate said...

Thanks, everyone. I talked with Migdaly, which broke my heart. Deilis's twin, Dailis, is lost, she said, walking around with such a heavy heart. It happened so fast that it's hard to even believe it, I think. Thank you for all your thoughts.