Thais with her dad at a MST demonstration
“Tell stories from another world, tell me who stays” was the only song that sounded good at home. “The platform station” was part of our life for many we lived far. I lived in São Paulo and dad in Brasília. The meetings and farewells were always very touchy. In order to kill a little the longing I felt, I got candies. In order to show the happiness with my arrival, it was always flowers.
Despite so many goodbyes, I never learned to accept them completely. And the craziest of them all did not have the candy or the comfort of the next meeting. The first time we heard Dad had five years more to live was desperation. We quickly managed to disqualify the doctor’s opinion and create new hopes with medicine advances. Even because, 5 years was a long time for someone to foretell something like that. At some point we forgot about the prophecy because, despite Dad’s fragility, everything was fine, or almost.
Hugo Silveira Heredia died in 5 years and a few months after that day that we deny, refute and demonize. “This disease is like that. You had the prognosis of the greatest lung specialist in Brazil, ” I was told by a doctor that I met in São Paulo. Dad was in Brasilia, and although we trusted the team that took care of him, I wanted more explanations.
When reality set in, we lived for a year and a half between comings and goings from the hospital. For two or three times they warned us: now Mr. Hugo won’t go home anymore. And then he went home! He wanted to live! For all that year and a half we were hiding from the farewell – this damn thing that demands us so much in life. Father of six daughters, Mr. Hugo knew that it was difficult to dissuade so many women for a consensus – moreover about a reality was so hard, we pretended not to exist.
As always, Dad had the last word on everything. And so it was with his farewell. He called his daughters and brother-in-law to the hospital early. With as much serenity as possible and rescuing the dignity stolen in hospitals, Dad told us that he wanted to leave and that was the day. A medical procedure, sedation, would relieve his pain. It was the last time we would meet him on the platform at the station of life. He almost passed that day, but the medicine kept him there, as if he were locked in an airplane with the doors closed in the middle of the lane, with no chance of returning.
For fear, pain and illusion, I chose not to be with him from that final moment in the hospital. After 10 years of his departure, I never went, nor do I know where he is in the Brasilia cemetery. I cannot say goodbye. It’s as if, I wanted to keep his voice alive telling me: “Do you want to do journalism? Go! That’s where you’ll find yourself. ” “At your age, you’re working more than you like and less than you should,” he would say when I complained about my two jobs plus the university.
Hugo Herédia gives name to many landless settlers scattered throughout Brazil. History Professor, founder of the social movement, sympathizer of the cause and defender of the ones in need, Dad dedicated his life to the fight against inequality through education. In the demonstrations promoted by the group I was always well received as a reporter: “She is Professor Hugo Heredia’s daughter. She’ll tell the real story, “I’d hear from the leaders. Real history did not always please the group or even Daddy. But mutual respect was immense and learning was always the priority.
“Explain your point of view, my dear. I want to understand and reflect, “he asked. And the balance was kept even when there were disagreements. I carry with me, on a daily basis, the balance built by Daddy to weigh motivations, initiatives, understanding, questioning and, above all, empathy. In the present times, I have been guiding my way using this compass.
It’s time to follow the compass of my heart and walk to where Dad has been for over 10. Let’s seal our meetings and our farewell.
“It’s just two sides
of the same journey
the arriving train
is the same tha will leave
The time for meeting
Is also time to say goodbye
The station platform
Is life here in my place
Is life here in my place
It is life…”
(free translation from a Maria Rita song “Chegadas e Partidas” )