We had to reschedule our interview by a week, and in that time Pablo suffered an episode of vestibular syndrome, a debilitating disease which affects inner-ear sensory receptor organs. His body lost mobility, which led him to falling down the stairs. He couldn’t get up. I’ve known Tomas and Pablo for some time now, but Pablo and Tomas’ new challenge made our conversations a little more visceral than usual.
Five years ago, Tomas flagged me down in the yellow van back when I was shooting my first book just south of Burlington, Vermont. He shared his story with us back then, and I’m happy to have the privilege to share it with you now.
Tomas adopted Pablo when he was visiting Argentina. He’d gotten a call that his dad was terminally ill, so he and his brother flew down to be with him. Before Tomas’ dad left us, he sent him back to Vermont with a dog, which in a sense was a grieving tool disguised as a birthday gift. Tomas found solace in Pablo. They kept each other in check as the years went by, one always complimenting the other. Pablo ran by his side as Tomas biked to work, and they became ever familiar with every trail in the Burlington area through every season.
Loss and near-loss have a similar impact on us. It’s a reminder to be grateful for what we have and even for what we’ve had to let go of. And though all things have an end, I guess the silver lining is in our ability to appreciate this. In the circumstance of experiencing a near loss, we can pull our loved ones closer, hold them tighter, and spend more time with them. With loss, if we can accept it, the tools to help us are there, the ones they’ve left with us, waiting by our side.
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