I find myself alongside my father in a grey city where everytime I look skywards, I see towering mountains and snow capped peaks. Yes, I remind myself, Dorothy you are a long way from home.
This post is not a happy or creative one, but more like a diary entry.
I`ve come to Chile to say good bye to my beautiful, vivacious, gracious and very sick aunty. I`ve also come to lend a shoulder to those who bear the burden of this grief and who find themselves with the overwhealming task of walking this road.
My aunt is in a grand old hospital, whose walls have seen many years, and survived the many earthquakes that it has been subjected to.
She is in the intensive care unit, unlike any you will find back home, where the family are treated with little respect and are only allowed in to see their loved ones for one hour in the day - 1pm -2pm. It is gut wrenching knowing that one of us could be by her side all day, we could take it in turns to hold her hand. Insead, we are herded in two at a time and then the door is locked once again until tomorrow.
Of course that time of day is sacred to all of us, and from the various sides of Santiago, many who know her will take time out of their day to travel to the hospital, unite, support and talk, while two by two those who are closest visit and caress her - her daughter, her partner, my father, his sister and I. Her mother waits at home praying and talking to her daughters soul.
Alongside the pain and grief, I find gems scattered along my path. People rediscovered, new family found. Bonds that will last a lifetime will be formed. New love will be fostered.
On this visit, I am discovering my fathers family, who are new to me.Wonderful, supportive people who I wish to have known better when I lived here for a year 20 years ago.
I am also meeting my cousins children and husbands/wives. Who delight me and give me a giggle.