Last week, I lost my beloved. He had been in the hospital with a covid diagnosis, but it’s not what you think.
Jan 31, 2021
I’ve been breathless and wordless for days. Early Wednesday morning, the man with whom I was preparing to start a family took his final breath in this body. His fight is over. I have been devastated with the tsunami of grief, shock, anger, and more grief.
Early this morning, after another sleepless night, these words poured out of me. It’s never enough, but this is what’s on my heart to share in this moment.
We met dancing. Alfredo would always ask me to dance, one song after another. Unabashed in his pursuit. Unstoppable in his adoration.
One night, he dipped me at the same time as another couple, and I crashed heads with the other follow. It wasn’t that hard - she was fine. But I collapsed, and was driven home. Alfredo had no idea that I have an old brain injury making me susceptible to concussion (I was okay after resting!)
The next day, he found out where I worked, and brought a huge bouquet of the loveliest flowers, with a note asking me to dinner. I was touched by his compassion and kindness. I had felt closed in my heart from previous hurts for so long. But Alfredo broke through all my walls.
We were inseparable for months after that dinner a few days later.
Less than 2 months later, I found what would turn out to be a violently malignant, fast-growing and very painful tumor in my left hip. And within weeks, another tumor in my breast. The diagnostic process took months (due to traveling for work - ie my refusal to slow down - and scheduling challenges with the various labs and imaging centers). I became increasingly sensitive due to exaggerated symptoms from the previous brain injury, exhausted, and in pain.
Alfredo used to drive me to work and pick me up most days. He would cook for me, and bring me flowers all the time - just to brighten my day. I was terrified of really allowing this profound love into my heart. Between my internal emotional turmoil and my increasing physical pain and suffering, I tried to hold him at arm’s length, tried to push him away ... and he simply persisted with his tireless love and taking care of me. Of course, I was also inexplicably drawn toward our connection. So simultaneously with this difficulty, we shared tremendous passion and love and play.
One day early on, Alfredo spent all afternoon at my home cooking this traditional dish from his hometown in Mexico (chiles en nogada) that takes hours to prepare (so at home, they usually do it just once a year). He did all of this while I was at work, and then came to pick me up and bring me home - with flowers (of course) - for dinner. One of my dear friends and coworkers said to me, “Satya, you don’t have a boyfriend - you have a husband!” Her lighthearted comment turned out to be deeply reflective of the strong bond Alfredo and I shared over the next few years.
Still, I had erected so many walls in my heart ... and I couldn’t fully be present with him the way he was with me during that time when I was in so much pain. I found the most ridiculous reasons (justifications) not to get attached, not to commit fully to this relationship. And yet he pressed on. Alfredo loved me relentlessly, unequivocally, and more deeply than I have ever felt in a partner.
When I finally stopped working and began healing my insides (and the tumors started to shrink!), I recognized how powerfully I loved this man. My person. I finally had the breathing room inside to engage more fully. He taught me to open my heart and love persistently, with reckless abandon.
At the same time, he also grew tremendously, recognizing some places where he needed to heal and care for himself. We spent the second year of our relationship navigating the incredible challenges that come alongside the recognition of needing to heal old wounds. Triggering each other’s past traumas. It was his incredible dedication to loving me in the beginning that I was then able to reflect back to him later.
Through all of the unimaginable traumas and illness and difficulties I’ve encountered in this life, I’ve learned firsthand that the only way to truly heal is to face my inner darkness. To gently expose and move through the places where I have erected fortress-grade walls inside to protect my heart when I couldn’t process trauma at the time.
This is the most difficult work of being human. To soften places that have hardened with layers upon layers of self-preservation. To find openness and movement and love again. To return to our truest nature, getting back up over and over and over again. To take rest and time to grieve, but then to release the past and refuse to give up on love.
Like all of us, Alfredo’s inner journey was deeply personal. He carried many wounds, and had few tools to process and heal from the places that bound him. But one thing that never wavered was his dedication to loving those around him. Seeing myself through his eyes, I learned to celebrate and love myself in ways that my understanding is still unfolding to this moment.
Alfredo created tsunamis of love and light wherever he touched. This is reflected in his family, his loved ones, his community.
Tragically, he was still carrying the enormous heaviness of past traumas he was not yet able to release. And while he was learning to prioritize caring for himself, he continued to press on, pushing himself tirelessly, in pursuit of caring for his loved ones and community.
In the news and all over social media, I see people claiming, “THIS is why you need to wear a mask! COVID kills!” My heart breaks for this extreme misperception of the problem, and the lesson.
Alfredo did not die from a virus. He died from medical ego and stupidity. From doctors who refused to give him vitamins and other treatment options proven by other doctors and scientists to help with the symptoms he was experiencing, despite the fact that their chosen (barbaric) protocol was not working. Continued steroids even though this is a known immune suppressant and wasn’t helping his lungs as intended anyways. Doctors who forced him onto a ventilator on the same day he told me he was finally feeling better - because their protocol numbers dictated that his improvement was “insufficient”. Despite the fact that many hospitals are no longer using ventilators for these patients because this massively amplifies risk of death (reports up to 9/10 people die when put on this machine due in no small part to how it weakens the lungs). Alfredo had already been moved out of the covid wing, doctors saying he was out of the woods from the virus and could even finally see family for the first time after weeks of isolation. But his heart stopped before any family could see him, weakened by their terrible machines and killed by their poisons.
Let me be perfectly clear: I honor and value western medicine for emergency care - for life-threatening trauma. But they have NO business in actual HEALTH care. These procedures and dogmatic protocols are killing people. I understand we have something nasty going around. I believe I was sick with this crisis last year (delirious fever, weak and in bed for weeks, difficulty breathing, and even the only complete blackout of my life during one collapse). I wish I had been in Portland to care for him as he did for me during my own illness.
We are being fed a false narrative that we have a choice between either:
- Recognizing that many people are becoming critically ill and some dying (and therefore blindly following mask and distancing guidelines rather than taking agency over our own health), OR
- Being labeled anti-scientific, callous, and crazy.
Dear loved ones: I KNOW you are terrified. I am here with you. For anyone questioning whether I take our current health crisis seriously: I ABSOLUTELY DO. My heart breaks for the precious lives lost, for the people suffering long-term consequences, and for the loved ones witnessing all of this suffering. My heart is a disaster with you.
But we are focusing on the WRONG PROBLEM.
This last year has exposed truly how sick and vulnerable we really are. How much we NEED to prioritize caring for our health. How a lack of symptoms does NOT mean you are healthy. When I read reports of “healthy people dying”, I know that cannot possibly be true. Sometimes they have other diagnoses of “underlying conditions”, but diagnoses only happen with symptoms (and sometimes not even then). A lack of “diagnosis” doesn’t mean you are healthy; does NOT mean your host defenses are viable. The human body is incredibly adaptive and compensatory ... for example, you can lose 30-60% of organ function (in different organs) before feeling a single symptom (I believe the kidneys can lose up to 90% function before symptoms show up). And we KNOW that not everyone exposed gets sick. And most people who become symptomatic don’t die. Focusing on exposure is the wrong problem. We NEED to be focusing on host defense.
There is no definition of health that is merely the absence of pain or symptoms.
And in the world my parents raised me (a perspective shared by many cultures and traditions), physical health and spirit health are inseparable. This means that it’s absolutely CRUCIAL to care for our physical bodies (stop abusing them with toxins like sugar and alcohol and pesticides and GMO grains and meat and dairy from sick animals) ... AND to tend to our spirits. To heal our past traumas. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.
I implore you: stop abusing your body’s capacity to compensate.
I have learned this the hard way many times over. I pushed way too hard in my work, deeply purpose-driven to help others through my clinical work and through teaching ... and it took CANCER to force me to rest. To change how I live my life. To shift from the constant DOING and productivity to simply BEING. To honoring that I am enough as is. Alfredo was a powerful teacher showing me how worthy I am of love through my simple existence (as opposed to what I can accomplish).
Tragically, we teach best what we need to learn most. And my beloved was still in a process of learning to care for himself. In pushing to create experiences of love and abundance for others, he sacrificed his own well-being. He failed to tend to his inner needs for nutrition and movement and rest. He prioritized making us feel loved over facing and healing his insides.
In this last year, we were moving through this process together. I was raised in a family with many tools for healing the spirit ... and many times he held glimmers of hope that healing is possible. But it’s excruciatingly difficult to hold that space of hope and possibility when life has thrown so much pain your way. It’s hard to continue to recognize that the universe really is love and light at its core when you’ve experienced so much darkness for so long. And yet. This is the way forward.
I know that his spirit is finally free from all the heaviness now. My heart is heavy that he couldn’t find the way out sooner, couldn’t find the way forward while staying on this physical plane of existence. I feel him here with me, as I know he is now finally able to be united with all of his loved ones ... his mom and his son and all his other family in Mexico whom he hadn’t been able to hug in a decade ... his brother who passed tragically shortly after Alfredo came to Oregon to be with him ... and traveling the world with me, seeing all the beauty in this world from a place of freedom and ease.
I left Portland 8 weeks ago, feeling mysteriously but powerfully pushed to release my home and all sense of stability, to give spaciousness to my love with Alfredo, to seek sunshine and rest. He and I both knew that he needed this space to heal his heart. We spent every free moment possible together in the weeks leading up to my departure. It’s as if my imminent departure finally gave both of us the freedom to engage fully from a place of love and presence, releasing the fears and the triggers and the stuck places. That time was so sweet and precious. We were finally both able to set our pain aside, and be present in our love in the most expansive and fully connected way. At the airport, we shared our love and how much we would miss each other, agreeing to say goodbye for now in a practice of release, and to revisit our love in the spring.
That lasted all of 3 days. We found ourselves unable to let one another go completely. I recognized that location matters ZERO and that it’s being with loved ones that matters the most. In searching for a place that would feel like home ... in leaving ... I felt that HE is my home. Just a few weeks ago, we were making plans for the future. We both knew that I needed to continue this journey of my own healing for the next few months. And then I would return; we wanted to build a life together. We wanted to raise a family together. He always struggled with being so far from his son, and yearned for the experience of being able to be physically present in his child’s life. Everything about who he was would have made him the most incredible father. I hope his son can read this someday and know just how much his dad loved him and wished life circumstances were different. And after years of being terrified at the thought of becoming a mother, I couldn’t wait to create that new story together with him. Alfredo opened my heart in this way, among so many others.
I’m still in shock that Alfredo died. It comes in waves. The first few days, all I could do was cry and wail and freeze in disbelief and cry again. The cessation of crying felt like dissociation. Now I still become overtaken with tears, but when I stop it’s because I feel him here with me, in his energetic embrace to help me feel that everything will be alright. Eventually.
I hear his voice in music on the radio. I feel his energy comforting me when I pray.
In his moving from a physical body back to pure energy, by living here with me inside my heart, I feel that Alfredo is giving me the feeling of home inside my own heart. He is living there to teach me to find home inside. And to truly practice the unimaginably difficult but essential skill of loving with reckless abandon AND releasing attachment at the same time. To love BIGGER in the letting go, rather than letting go by erecting walls. To move forward through the instinctive desire to freeze and go numb ... to continue loving and recognizing that WE ARE LOVE. WE ARE LIGHT. THE UNIVERSE WORKS ON PURPOSE. The only way forward is to keep moving.
But today I will continue to grieve the loss from this physical life of one of the best spirits I have ever known.
If you are so inspired, please click here
to support Alfredo’s family through this unimaginably difficult time 🤍
We are also coming together to keep his legacy alive through his dream of Tropicale - the wonderful restaurant he opened last year. Visit their insta here <<