Dear Uncle Johnny,
It's been over twenty years since you have passed and I still feel your presence in my life. We still miss you very much. I know I've achieved many great successes that you would have been proud of. And where I have failed miserably, you still would have a wide grin and a strong hug for comfort. These past months of constant reflection have been fruitful and my relationship with the Lord has grown stronger and has become a daily reality in my life of gratitude and learning.
I wonder though if you could lend me your words of advice, your hand of guidance, a loving family member is always needed. You being dead should not be a hindrance or obstacle in our correspondence. I love death and it's liberating ways from this Earth into the spiritual.
I know you were very sick for many years with your addiction. I know you are familiar with what I went through, what I go through still to this day. The shame, hurt and loneliness I carried, while my exterior facade was a gleaming smile and loving humor that would entertain all. You know me Tio, seen my life's path. That shame and castigation recently took hold of a young man I barely new, he crossed over too soon perhaps. Yet now his ancestors can guide him, free of pain, to liberation. Liberacion. They are speaking to him now. I hope he's listening.
Speak to me Tio, I've chosen to stay and let it play out. I'm always listening. Come to me, be it on top of South Mountain, in my night's dreams or daily meditations. Converse with me through a gentle, warm Arizona wind or by the way of your brother Gilbert, my beautiful Father, whose conversations with have grown deep and full of enlightenment.
I have a blazing tattoo on my left arm. It's a full colored "Calaca," or skull. Having been in love with the holiday of Dia de los Muertos for many years, I created this simple yet living altar for my body. The duality of life and death , the ying to the yang, push and pull. The word liberacion is etched into my skin, on a scroll underneath the bulging skull tattoo. People would ask me the meaning behind the design and I would give them a smirky bullshit answer, "It's the liberation of one's self from this world." So serious, so self important, yet there is truth to that statement. Liberacion has become paramount in my life. I have liberated from the old self. Long ago I celebrated the death of me and have moved on.
Death is now a daily renewal, as yesterday's "me" is gone, having bravely served it's purpose. I have to understand that I was spiritually dead for so long. I was a zombie, hollow, refusing to let go of my old shell, in fear of liberacion. I was fearful of the lessons you and my ancestors were trying to teach me, afraid of life as a whole.
But Tio, I have a new strength in my weakness, a bold step in this path and an eagerness to grow. Liberacion time, to crossover, huh Johnny? So look me up, visit your son Juan, his path has newly begun. You know how to find us. Feed me your eternal knowledge.
Ah, and please say hello to my Grandpa of me.
Your loving Nephew,
Death letter was first written in 2011. Part of a collection of over 30 letters called, "Faiths Father."