I talk to his ghost and then regret it. My friends tell me: “You aren’t letting him leave this realm.” When in frustration I reproach him for leaving before I got to do so, my Lucy cat starts flickering her eyes around me or Tommy the tom cat lovingly bumps his head against me. They prove me wrong. He has never left.

What kept beating the feeble heart of the greatest, most unconditional human love that lived to make me happy was the hope of seeing me again. His preoccupation of taking care of me gave him the strength to beat the odds after his stroke. For three months before his passing, we hadn’t seen each other because of the lockdown. We were unable to say goodbye when he felt his heart whither away. In hindsight, I realize he didn’t tell me although he knew it would happen any moment. We had texted the night before he passed. For the first time since the lockdown, he had chosen not to call through Face Time. I think by then he had entirely lost his speech and didn’t want me to suffer. The next day, I received the phonecall. It eviscerated all life away from me. They had found him dead on the floor. Never before had I realized that he had been the greatest, most unconditional love of my life.

I am fortunate and grateful to have known what genuine, unconditional once-in-a-lifetime love is about.

Puerto Rican warrior & survivor; fighting for equal environmental rights, one pipe at a time”. “Mi nada, a nadie se lo debo.” Julia de Burgos.