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In Mexico they say when someone you love dies, a part of you dies with them. But they forget to mention that a part of them is born in you, not immediately, I’ve learned, but eventually, and gradually. It’s an opportunity to be reborn. When you’re in between births, there should be some way to indicate to all, “Beware, I am not as I was before. Handle me with care.”

I wish somebody had told me then that death allows you the chance to experience the world soulfully, that the heart is open like the aperture of a camera, taking in everything, painful as well as joyous, sensitive as the skin of water.

I wish somebody had told me to draw near me objects of pure spirit when living between births. My dogs.. The trees along the San Antonio River. The sky and clouds reflected in its water. Wind with its scent of spring. Flowers, especially the sympathetic daisy.

I wish somebody had told me love does not die, that we can continue to receive and give love after death. This news is so astonishing to me even now, I wonder why it isn’t flashed across the bottom of the television screen on CNN.

There is no getting over death, only learning how to travel alongside it. It knows no linear time. Sometimes the pain is as fresh as if it just happened. Sometimes it’s a space I tap with my tongue daily like a missing molar.

Say what they say, some may doubt the existence of God, but everyone is certain of the existence of love. Something is there, then, beyond our lives, that for lack of a better word I’ll call spirit. Some know it by other names. I know it only as love.

-Sandra Cisneros. Excerpt from A House of My Own: Stories from My Life.

The plum tree's annual rebirth, and my mama's painting

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