Discover more from Peter’s Newsletter
Our year of living dangerously...
A year ago…It all seems to blur together…an idyllic weekend in Sevilla, Grenada and Cordoba, yet with curious signs on pharmacy windows about being out of hand sanitizer. On the Sunday of our return to Madrid, the Women’s Day celebrations we had witnessed in Cordoba were multiplied many times over. It all felt so normal…until 48 hours later it wasn't. The closed schools, toilet paper vanished from store shelves and so the siege began. As per my earlier entries, it was as surreal here as it was everywhere with perhaps some additional Spanish variations… But regardless it was fierce and it was frightening.
We are currently living the “Covid Normal” life that Madrid has defined for us. Outdoor terraces spring up daily on side walks as the City seeks to help restaurants create safer spaces but indoor dining goes on though with space restrictions firmly in place. Curfew has been extended till 11 allowing Madrileños to eat dinner with the rest of Europe (except maybe the Swiss who do everything earlier in my experience). Groups are limited in size so revelry is muted. All of this is so liberal as compared to Paris that the streets echo with the sounds of French as visitors enjoy more freedom than is currently available where they’re from. As with all things Covid it’s a blessing and a curse…commerce to feed hungry, sometimes nearly starving businesses and yet higher risks of transmission that could cause further pain and death. Given the lag between behavior and viral consequence only time will tell, especially with news that yet another wave is emerging in Europe with restrictions getting tighter in Italy and Germany.
The vaccine program is to put it kindly, a mess. With layers of fault too tedious to list, a unified Europe is a collective example of just how not to handle this particular aspect of the crisis. In Spain like elsewhere there are just too few doses to have a chance to meet the goals that are trumpeted in the press but have little chance of being met. I did my research, knocked on doors, retained experts from Doctors to Lawyers and the easy answer to my questions is I’m getting on a plane and going back to California to get “the jab”…arriving Saturday.
While we remain occupied and sometimes obsessed by all of this, life continues. Yesterday we celebrated the wonder of the birth of our 2nd darling daughter (DD2). She has already in her 32 short years made the world a better place by virtue of her intelligence, compassion and fierce commitment to social justice. Remembering her first short and rapid breaths of life, it still does feel like a miracle.
And yet on the other side of life, only a week ago we mourned the passing of a dear friend and colleague who left us much, much too soon. Pedro Rudolfo Gómez was a wonder of a man; intelligent, curious, compassionate, courageous and professional. On the day that we met, after dazzling me in our first chat, he advised that he needed to leave to go to the hospital to be tested at his Doctor’s advice. I had a sense of foreboding that sadly was to be realized. Cancer had started its relentless path within his system and for more than 3 years he bravely battled it. Never seeking special attention or sympathy he soldiered on with the rest of us on the team until the times when treatment and surgeries made it impossible. All the while he lived…he married the love of his life and then this past November he sent me this…
“Things have multiply x2. Life always win, Peter.”
What an act of courage and love to forge ahead to create life, knowing that you will likely never be a witness to the days and years that will follow… not only for him but especially for his wife. Yet this was their choice, and now his love and memory will live on in them. In the past 12 months Covid has taken so much from us and yet, we all in our own small and sometimes big ways have chosen to live and make what we can from the ashes of this bitter offering.
Life always wins…even in the year of living dangerously. God bless you Pedro.