December 31, 2008


Filed under: testimonies — newritings @ 5:26 pm

Remembering those whom we love but have sadly departed can be very therapeutic as it enlivens their souls and spirit of how they lived. Khalil Gibran, whose 125th birthday was celebrated this year almost 8 decades after his death in the United States of America, scribed in the first stanza of On Death

You would know the secret of death.

But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?

The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.

If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.

For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.

This September 08 marked one year of the death of Peter Moonsammy. This humble man: Papa, uncle Peter, toppie, peter pickles, dad… and the various other names he was fondly called, was remembered by many in the family and friends. The Star newspaper, in an article (“I hope to embrace you warmly, for the good you’ve done”) which we will soon reproduce here, touched on his life as it related to Nelson Mandela. Also in this blog, we run a tribute by his daughter Roshnie and granddaughter Devs.

fernandoFernando Cárcamo

It is now also about 5 months that an equally loving and affable man, family friend, “a brother” to my partner’s father and mother, died tragically from the mountains of Benasque, which he loved. I remember how he teased me of my fear of heights but when we climbed, a few days before his death, how he literally asked me to “walk in his footsteps” as he skilfully guided me on Congost de Mont-Rebei. My partner Marta (and her brother Jordi), who cut their teeth climbing from an early age with her parents (and Fernando), climbed comfortably with Leila, then about 3-month old. Even on that trip, we touched on issues of the world, and the studies that he had undertaken at university. He talked so incessantly (to comfort me in the main) that his wife had to tease him to give me a break! He was passionate about history, and told me about the church in his hometown (Zaragoza) which has not fully come to terms with its Muslim past. In fact when visiting it (on the day of his cremation), I could confirm Fernando’s insights, but that discussion is for another space and time. Nevertheless, my mind now drifts back to our holiday in Benasque and a smiling and jocular man, whom I can see now talking to all, learning and sharing from people, laughing.

When Marta received the call from her folks of his sudden passing, it was too much for her to bear. With the passing of time, the pain is slightly less though, but still there for the family, particularly his wife and children, his dad and mum, friends from the mountain club and the university, and his son’s handball team that he coached, and our family but all are agreed that Fernando lived life to the fullest. Everyday was to be enjoyed and it was the main reason why he took early retirement from his job, and then truly started living, learning, and recreating. Fernando touched many during his life and he did achieve a lot, and we all know that he had many mountains to climb; but for what he had reached we are eternally grateful to have shared some of it with him. For me, it was all too brief, but even that was worthwhile. (Marta had told me of him for years when we first met… but even that was brief!)

In closing I will go back to the poet, although I am not fully sure what Gibran means in his final stanza but it appears to speak to us about our beloved friend and comrade Fernando…

Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.

And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.

And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.

Fernando is survived by his wife Nicole and children Ana and Guillermo.

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