Death, Life and the Stuff In-between

Betty And Charlie

Last week we laid a wonderful man to rest: my long-time partner’s father. What a man! He lived a great life which was reflected through all who came to report they loved him and will miss him. He was a tough father to a brood of six children, known for free use of a rope and belt. None of his kids are worse for the wear due to their worn behinds as children. They are wonderful people, who really loved their dad. The week-long goodbye was hard, but after a long illness, this husband, father, brother and friend had had enough. He died in his sleep, next to his wife of 60 years. A finality most the family never experienced on such an intimate level. The sadness of his passing turned to laughter as the day went on, and true love of another human being gone permeated where they gathered.

Only in his last years did he complain, and five years ago he told me at the dinner table that he had five years left. I noted what he said as I am a true believer that we manifest and bring into our lives that which we believe. He was once a very strong man both physically and mentally. He built his homes with his own hands and with the help of his wife and later his boys. I wondered and often discussed with him how it felt to live in a home where he knew it from the foundation to each tile we stepped on. He was proud of his home, sure, but his home was an essence of him; of what he did in this life, which was build, creating space for his familys’ energy. A master of his domain!

Noted were his traits during this week of goodbyes. He loved his family and controlled as best he could, their upbringing. A plethora of stories exist about this father, not one beginning or ending with “he wasn’t there” or “didn’t care.” He was in the game. He loved to laugh and was a jokester. His passing elicited a desire to celebrate him and laugh for his life. What joy there was in this week to listen to stories and hear the loud and almost constant laughter when discussing his life. He was proud and his pride was his home, family, service and friends. The stuff that gives life its blood, its flow.  I do not think he read one self-help book that told him how to love his family or create joy in his life. He did it as choice every day his health was on his side. He knew what he had done here in this life. He knew  it solemnly and with joy. The last chapter of any book I have ever read on how to get life right. He was a friend and great listener, present in every conversation he had with someone. I can attest he knew so much about people it blew my mind. He remembered names, schools, jobs, where they lived, who they married, names of their kids…the list goes on. I wonder now if he was gifted with the mind that didn’t forget, or he learned the trick of being present when speaking with someone to the point that the connection was complete. A true transference of information! Evident in those whose lives he touched just by speaking with them, sharing a moment and maybe a beer.

He once asked me if I had read all of the books on my shelves. I proudly replied that I had, and he seemed impressed which made me happy. Now I think he was the example in so many of those books about life. He was not drawn to the study of happiness like I am, he had it. I am thankful for knowing Carlos “Charlie” Guzman. We all need examples to emulate while here on earth. Maybe in the future I will let my enough be enough, laugh out-loud without questioning if my joy is bothering another, truly embrace each moment with my friends and family, and never apologize for my life to anyone.

By the end of the week we were all very tired, and as goodbyes to our loved ones end, the sadness creeps in. The reality of never being able to see, call or hug them sets in, hard. But this week had a surprise and happy ending. A baby is going to be born, due in about 8 months around Charlie’s birthday. A new soul is coming. A new beautiful addition to the family. We cried again. We laughed again. We shared joy again.

Life is made of this stuff. The comings and goings. And all we create in-beween.



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