This Friday was extraordinarily beautiful. It was our first taste of spring in full bloom. The air just seemed to lightly hold my skin, trees were bursting in pinks and whites, the sky was cloudless. We had completed a project that had hung over our heads at work. The weekend was coming and stretched out before me with promises for community and music and a chance to dig in the earth.

It was on this nearly perfect day, that I got news that my father in law had passed away. He has been dying for 4 years. So long that Juan had finally begun to believe that the old man would outlive us all. But he didn’t. On this spectacular day, with joy and creativity and new life oozing from the air and the ground, there was great grief too.

The grief was not mine. Pablo was not a kind man and he had been especially cruel to Juan. I never felt close to him. I never wanted his approval or even his company. But in Mexico, in a little village tucked into the mountains, people I once loved were keening.

Juan loved his dad. Loved him deeply. No matter what his father did to hurt him, no matter how flawed and broken his father presented, Juan could not let go of his connection to his dad. It caused him great pain, all that reaching out with little coming back. We would argue about it sometimes but he always came back to the same place. “He is my papa. He is my dad”

On this beautiful and nearly perfect day I was so happy to be alive. I turned my face into the setting sun and let its warmth sink all the way into my bones and blood. I embraced the beauty with the awe of a child, the smell of fresh cut grass bringing me back to memories of this time of year when I was just three. At the same time I held in my heart great sorrow. I was so sorry that Juan was in a taxi by himself headed to the airport. That he would sit with his tear streaked face, rested up against the airplane window alone. I was sorry that he would be met by no one, that he would ride a bus all night and into the day until he got to the place where he could bury his father’s body, though his spirit would haunt him for weeks, months, years to come.

I felt so very light and so very heavy all at once.

As the glory of the day gave way to a velvet darkness I sat on my steps and poured a shot of tequila on the ground.

“This is for you Pablo. You were a bastard but you created Juan who gave me Max and as such you were the root of my greatest joy. You brought great beauty into this world, even as you caused great grief. Through this I guess, you taught me that nothing is ever all one thing and that it is always so much more complicated and yet more simple than we ever think. So take this tequila–its my good stuff. Its for you. For your life. For this day. For this space. For this truth. Nothing is all one thing.”

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