In recent days we received an unusual call around midnight, it wasn’t a familiar voice and the first thing this person did was make sure they were calling the correct number. Immediately and without any further consideration regarding the news we were going to receive we were told that a great friend had died.
Every trace of sleep immediately disappeared, the body shuddered and the mind started going back on every memory it had in its hard disk.
Just a few days ago we had talked, like we used to do weekly, it was a promise we had made when we moved out of the neighborhood where we met, Cañada de los Álamos in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Even though we were from different worlds, generations and interests, we had a common bond, a great curiosity for getting to know the world, the need to explore and most of all a genuine love and admiration for each other.
It was curious how this friendship began; we had finished the road trip we had been going on for a few months around the United States and at the end we decided to settle for a while in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There, in a mountain in the outskirts of the city, we heard there lived a man that sold fresh and organic eggs.
During a day when we had nothing to do we went walking around the neighborhood we came across this mans home; we knew it was his residence since no one else had turkeys nor chickens in a corral. We kept on walking until we arrived at the house of the “Egg Man”, as he was known in the neighborhood.
Upon arrival we asked for him and we only heard a strong and paused voice that said “I’ll be out in a few minutes”. Then he appeared at the door and in a second we thought we had discovered Santa Claus hiding place when he went on vacations in Santa Fe.
He was a unique character, had a peasant look with his suspenders and all, but his knowledge about a life full of challenges, experiences and wisdom made him a professor in the university of life.
In a short period of time we became good friends. During that time we visited him once or twice a week. Our conversations were long and in two languages since he was the only one around the area that also spoke Spanish.
First he told us the adventures of his unstoppable and loyal dog, which accompanied him everywhere he went. After, as it was habit, he kept us up to date about his children’s achievements. When he spoke of them his face illuminated and his chest filled with pride.
Later, after moving out of the neighborhood, the same dynamics continued, by phone and emails. During our phone calls post move we always shared our adventures and new projects.
Very recently he had commented that as an explorer he wished to make a “last trip” to California to take picture to the orchids he loved so much since he already knew that as soon as he began with his chemotherapy everything would change. Unfortunately it happened that way.
Going back on all our experiences sharing with him for so many years we understood a few things he always told us. First, that even though life didn’t look simple, it really was. Second, he always insisted that we should live intensely since we didn’t know when we would get that chance again. Third, love intensely every day, not just what you did but also who you had at your side. Fourth, travel, “because the world is big and it needs to be explored”.
Today in a simple way we are grateful for having been part of this being of light, who loved Chimayo’s spicy sauce, cooking turkey on Thanksgiving, taking pictures, telling stories about his family and most of all that he lived a simple life and full of love towards others.
Thank you Brad for leaving your mark in our souls.