In memory, I learned to love my old man and stopped arguing with him

Gentlemen, I have bad news to give you: parents die. Many will be able to celebrate their day with them today; Many will be able -if time has passed- to reconcile with sadness and remember them with a smile. Parents die. You already know that Shakespeare lives in every family: nowhere is there so much love and so much hate, so much frustration and so much affection.

My grandmother, Doña Carmen, was illiterate, but she had learned a lot about life. When I crossed a line, she said: “Leave him alone, he’s a boy, when he grows up he’ll understand.”

When we are big, we understand.

Vinicius de Moraes wrote that Clodoaldo Pereira Da Silva Moraes, his father, and he did not exchange more than ten words in their entire lives. “Good morning, how are you doing? Until you come back.” And sometimes not even that. “We understood each other and loved each other in silence” -writes Vinicius. “My father and I”.

He says elsewhere: “I am sure that, if we had begun to talk, we would both have fallen into tears. For all that could have been and was not, all that we would have liked to give each other and could not. So many things that our eyes didn’t linger too long when they met, making our words difficult.”

I am 62, I come from a time when no one talked to parents. My mom was sick, she couldn’t speak, but with my old man I went out to eat only once. We ate at a pizzeria below the Sarandí viaduct. At that time only the bride and groom said “I love you”. And nobody talked to the parents.

I had a lot of fights with my old man, and once we were about to come to blows. Later I understood him, more and more, until time ran out for him one afternoon, in a hospital in Parque Centenario.

My old man did what he could. I know the answer is mediocre, but perhaps in life everyone does what they can and only some exceed the limits they have.

The death of his father came to Vinicius by phone at three in the morning when he was the Brazilian consul in Los Angeles. When one overcomes the anger and sadness of death, you reach a valley where memories turn to melancholy.

Thirty years later, almost every day I remember my oldeither. I learned, in memory, to love him and I stopped arguing with him. As Borges used to say: “we faced each other over something as minor as opinions”.

I wanted to tell you today that, incredible as it may seem, parents die

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