Through your eyes

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Ville de Québec, Canada, autumn 2017

Hello my friend!

You must be thinking that you have just found a message addressed to someone else. But if this lovely piece of paper ended up on your way, I guess right now this letter is supposed to be nowhere but in your hands. However, before I start I want to ask you a favour; read me closely, and any questions will be answered later on, I promise. Imagine that as your eyes are passing through my words I am right by your side reading them out loud to you. Listen to me carefully, so they can slip out of my tongue following the rhythm of my heartbeat.

Now let me ask you something. How many times were your eyes screaming for help but everyone failed to hear? Quite a lot, right? But do you remember when it was the last time you looked around and tried to see in someone’s eyes more than the reflex of your own? Can you imagine how many times the person by your side was falling apart while you were blind to every broken piece but the ones inside your chest?

It may sound strange, but I love crowded places. They inspire me in an intense and yet suffocating way. I like seeing people passing by. Some of them take the time to walk slowly, others are always in a hurry as if time is desperately slipping through their fingers. Still, they have something that unify them; they live. Every heartbeat, every breath, every scar, every collapsing star that lays inside their chests has its own story. They carry a past on their backs, and an unbuilt future on their shoulders. Nonetheless, the sad part of it is that most of the time they do not see each other, and when they do is under the perspective of a heart that plays a different melody. More often than we think we let only our own eyes be the windows through which we see the world. Do you think it is fair the fact that all that uniqueness is labelled as a nameless mass?

Can I ask you one last favour, please? I want you to write down on the other side of this page what this place where you found my letter looks like through your eyes, and how it makes you feel. After that describe the feeling of breathing this air through your lungs, and all the things you can smell. Then, write something you just heard, and how it echoed inside your head. Next, tell me the last thing you cried for. And last but not least, share your battle with me, and put the letter back in the same place you found it, so I can read it and pass it on.

I love the drops of sunshine on the river and how the wind makes them dance. This place makes me feel that there is no better roof than the sky above my head. The air here is dense and smooth, the deeper I breath the more alive I feel. It smells like roses and earth after it rains. A guy just told me I was beautiful, I realised then that he could not see a thing of the poetry I have covered by skin. I cried yesterday because I miss pieces of myself I will never get back. My battle is waking up every morning and putting on a smile that does not always belong to my face, as I have stuck on my throat all the feelings my heart is so tired of screaming, and my lips deny telling anyone.

I want to tell you that I care about you. So take one of my shoes, and I will take one of yours. Hold my hand and let’s walk through this. Together.

Lots of love,

A face among the crowd

[Luísa Tibana, Ville de Québec, Winter 2018]

Autumn leaves

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Ville de Québec, 2017

My dear Lucy,

If you are reading this letter it means that I cannot be physically by your side anymore, to weep the tears that will come with it. Now you must be wondering why you just got to read it since it was hidden behind the same bookshelf you have been seeing every day since you were born. I do not have an answer for that. All I hope is that this little piece of my heart finds you when you need the most a kind of comfort that no one can give you besides me.

I guess now you know what took me away from you, and how hard I tried to hold things together long enough for you to remember me. I truly hope you do. Although I know how much I was loved by those around me, while I was fighting for my life, I was actually fighting for you. My biggest fear was that from the moment my heart beat for the last time, losing me would haunt the most beautiful moments you were about to live. To be honest, I was ready to go but I would never be ready to leave you.

Anyway, I am not here to talk about my disease itself, neither about what I went through because of it. Fortunately, I just died once. I lived for years. I can say without any fear of being wrong that there is no recipe for a happy life. Nevertheless, you have in your hands countless ways to pursue it, and I wish some of my words can help you find your own.

The ICU walls are filled with regret. “I should have spent more time with my kids”, said the woman with hopeless eyes while she was waiting for her fifth surgery. “I should have said ‘I love you’ to her as much as I could” said the man watching his wife’s heart rate getting slower. Only when people feel life fading away, they realize they are not living.

For me death used to be exactly like the concept of tomorrow; we do not know how it is going to be but eventually it is coming. While I was in hospital I saw how it really looks like several times. I realized then that it is always going to be tragic. However, the way it is going to echo inside people’s mind is all up to you. Have you ever noticed that autumn’s wind whispers? I feel it is nature sighing as it says: “it is my last breath, I will make it beautiful”.

You know my life was not as long as I wished it to be. I did not get to buy a new car or to move to a giant house by the beach. Still, my life was complete. I got to share my last years with one of the most beautiful hearts I have ever met. I got to cry an ocean of happy tears when I heard your heartbeat for the first time, and even more when I felt you moving inside of me. I had a universe of love while my body did not have any strength. Life is just a whisper that echoes within the walls of an abyss for a tiny little second. Make sure that this one precious chance is filled with love and beautiful emotions. You will still have space for other things but always put what really matters first. Live like the sun; filling every single space with light, and leave this world like the autumn’s leaves do.

I love you with every single piece of my heart, even though it does not beat anymore.

Lots of love,

Mum

[Luísa Tibana, Ville de Québec, Winter 2017]