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Keeping It Real

For the past three weeks I have unexpectedly been back in Puerto Rico, as my father has been hospitalized and I immediately flew here to be with him. His health status has been delicate, but fortunately he’s responding well to treatment. We hope and expect for his prompt recovery.

A few years ago I had the experience of Mom being very ill and I vividly remember the last moments I spent with her. I sketched her while she weakly talked with me. When she saw my sketch she told me that if my dad would see it he would fall in love again. It was a powerful but sweet moment I will never forget. Soon after I flew back to the mainland she passed. It was the last time I would see her. So I pulled out my iPad and decided to sketch Dad, as I wouldn’t want to miss a similar experience with him. I did not suspect that this time it would be absolutely different.

Dad has been pretty healthy, so this has been a totally unexpected and terrifying experience. Dad wasn’t communicating and I only could hear his body gasping for air. The beautiful moment I had with Mom had turned into a nightmare seeing Dad struggle. He had been pretty much unconscious, so can’t tell if he was hurting or how he was feeling. After some time sketching him I got depressed and questioned myself why would I even want to record this terrible moment. I put my iPad down and have not been able (or willing) to sketch since.

This morning I was having breakfast with two very good friends, Pedro and María. María asked me if I had been sketching and I told her about my experience sketching Dad. Her response was brilliant… Not all drawings have to be pretty, happy or with beautiful colors; it is what keeps them real. And she’s absolutely right. It is my life… the good, the bad, the sublime and the ordinary.

I showed her my sketch and she mentioned that she could see him how tired he looked. I had unconsciously been able to transmit my impression seeing Dad struggle. And recording my experiences is what my sketching journey is about. So I got a wonderful lesson today… Thanks María!

This was my sketch:

Ps. Dad is getting better and we’ve been able to have conversations with him. We hope everything goes back to normal soon. Get well Dad! ❤️

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© 2019 by Luis E. Aparicio.