Immortality.

“No man can possibly know what life means, what the world means, what anything means, until he has a child and loves it.” –Lafcadio Hearn

Only now do I seem to understand a few things I’ve been told throughout my existence. Cliche after cliche and it all seemed so over the top unreal that I simply nodded and said “hm yeah I see”.

My mother, already in her dying bed, told me that she wasn’t afraid to die for she would never let go of her greatest love: her children. She told me that no other feeling even comes close to what she ever felt for any of us. She would be ours to keep forever and we would always be her greatest achievement and only true pride. I found it beautiful to hear and heartbreaking as well. To imagine that we, her sons and daughter, were her peak of joy crushed me a little bit because we grew, became adults and had our life and issues and she had lost that connection. The chord was cut.

I was wrong. Very wrong. My mother achieved what everyone seeks: immortality. She had raised 3 tiny humans to become more or less competent adults. With our faults, mistakes and failures we were still her pride and joy. The sentiment is too big to be overshadowed by life’s hiccups. She loved us and meant it. Everyday. She lives in me, in my sister and brother. She wasn’t afraid to die, she was afraid we would feel less complete. She was right. But she also knew that with time we would understand that.

My mother was my greatest love. She still is. But now she shares the spot with a tiny human of my own. Now I know what she tried to explain, what she meant with those words. I have my opportunity of reaching immortality as well. I don’t seek perfection, that is out of my reach. I seek to be the best version I possibly can when time calls. So my tiny human grows into a man. Not a perfect one but a proud one. Proud of his daddy for everything was done with him in mind.

Whenever I hold him in my arms, it’s two of us holding him. Every kiss, every gentle touch, every look we take at each other, is shared with her. My mother is immortal, it just took me a while to understand it.

All my love,

Always.

This is water.

“There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?””

The point of the fish story is merely that the most obvious, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about. The fact is that in the day to day trenches of adult existence, banal platitudes can have a life or death importance.

David Foster Wallace said those words. He also famously said that:

“If your total freedom of choice regarding what to think about seems too obvious to waste time discussing, I’d ask you to think about fish and water, and to bracket for just a few minutes your skepticism about the value of the totally obvious.”

David Foster Wallace didn’t make it. He never gave up, he just never had the helping hand a visionary needs.

We often must be remind that our reality is commonly the hardest thing to acknowledge and talk about. 

It is quite easy to be tall when you’re standing above everyone else. It is not heroic nor honorable. The challenge is to be reminded that our reality should not be dictated by what we see but by what we don’t. 

Be less certain of things you see and more about what you don’t see. The perception is ours to have, the decision is ours to keep.

Just know, this is water.

Today is ours, tomorrow who knows?

Santiago Roque