Then the virus reached my family
Friday, Jul. 24, 2020 - 10:12 pm.

On Sunday morning, my mom posted a message on the family chat: "X passed away in Bolivia". X is, was, one of my closest cousins, not in terms or affinity, I mean there was only a wall separating his house and mine growing up.

He, along with my mom's sister, lived around the block from my parents' house. My whole life until I left my home country at 26, he was there. He moved to Bolivia years later; got married, adopted his wife's daughter, then had a son. And suddenly he was dead. Coronavirus. Or rather, because there were not enough ventilators. Maybe if there had been enough, he'd have had survived. Maybe.

Everything was so surreal for the next few hours after I got the news. I couldn't believe he was gone. I thought of my poor aunt, devastated beyond any comprehensible measure and unable to see his body, all the worse by him dying in another country. My sister and my mother, devastated for her. I made phone calls to my other cousin, his older brother. I talked to my sister, then to my mom and dad. My dad was no comfort but we'll get to that.

Some time this week, I attended mass via zoom. My cousin's family decided to cremate him and leave the ashes with his wife and kids, because that's the life he chose for himself. The priest on the videocall had the urn with the ashes with him.

And yet, I have to admit it this mass over zoom was fucking comforting. There were over a hundred people watching, and then a few said some words at the end of the mass. It was good to cry, to mourn. I was heartbroken for my uncle, my mom's brother, for whom my cousin was like a son. He couldn't deliver the speech he had prepared. I ended up wishing I could talk to these uncle and some of my cousins, even though I'd quickly run out of things to say.

Tragedy was made worse by my dad, who holds a years-long grudge against my aunt, my dead cousin's mother. Whatever my dad had going on about this at home, I just saw the outcome: a disgusting message about him "mourning alone" because no one on my mom's side will apologize to him for the wrongdoings he's suffered(?). Fucking, fucking miserable asshole. All the reasons he's said to be mourning my cousin relate to the cousin "being respectul to me", the fucking nerve. I don't want to imagine the pain he put my mom through before texting that to her and to my siblings and I. I'm starting to fear my mom will die first, out of sadness and a broken heart.

I pray my dad will go first, and I'm so sorry, sooner than later. He's my mom's torturer and by God she deserves to live her last years in freedom. He's annulled her completely, he's ruined her life and kept her away from her own family through guilt and manipulation. That thing of him "mourning alone" is bullshit too, because my mom still does all the housework and takes care of him. They don't have anyone helping them at the moment, it's difficult to hire some help under the conditions they need during the pandemic. My mom does almost everything and is tired from all the cancer stints, and has a spine that's becoming weaker over the years.

Half a day after my dad texted that shit, he sent something different to the chat that also includes Andrew, two of my sisters-in-law (one left ages ago, that's another story), and Nephews 1 and 2, and Niece 1, the three of them in their mid-twenties(!). My dad kept sending a message and deleting it, but in the end he sent a picture of him and my mom on their wedding day, and a poem he wrote for their anniversary this upcoming Monday. On a third chat, just for my four siblings and I, we discussed it was like a man who beats his wife and then gives her flowers in public.

They've been married for 52 years. I see the picture my dad sent from that day -it's beautiful- and I just want to cry out of anger and sadness.

Jesus. May my cousin rest in peace. May my family and friends remain safe.


Lighter news.

I got a gift from my girlfriend in the mail this week. She got me a moleskine notebook. I told Andrew it was a gift from my girlfriend and he got a little jealous. He openly said he was jealous, and I get it, these are the kind of things *he* gets me as a gift.

I told him she knows I'm happily married, and anyway he got something out of this too: three fingers inside of me*. He said yeah, but he didn't get a notebook. I LOL'd.

(*Excuse me for being crude here, but I feel proud and grateful about this. Never in my life I thought my body would perceive this as pleasurable and without responding with PTSD symptoms)

Then I told my girlfriend about what happened with Andrew. You can see here that I was making the two of them uncomfortable, and myself in the process. I was truly sorry about that, but I had to be honest with the two of them about what's going on with the other. My girlfriend was mortified that Andrew would see her as a dick trying to compete for me, that is not what she's doing.

Fortunately, I shag very sensible people, and in the end everything's ok. Andrew knows I have a girlfriend and that has done wonders to my relationship with my own body; and Helen knows he knows, and will try to be more mindful of the gifts she gets me so as to not step into Andrew's territory (this gift was a surprise so I couldn't warn her). It's stuff you figure out along the way, I guess. And I make sure I show both of them my gratitude for caring about me unconditionally.

This is it from me this week. It's been rough with my cousin's passing and my dad's thoughtlessness, and my poor aunt, and my poor mom. I think about that but there isn't much I can do. Pray, I suppose. I'm not Raised Catholic for nothing.

But I also have pretty things going on. Work has been gratifying this week, life at home with Andrew is a source of joy and comfort. I'm grateful for my family and friends, for all the things I have that make life not just bearable but plainly good.

I wish the same for others. I hope you're doing ok.

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