July 3rd, 1980
Mama is dead.
I can’t believe I just wrote that, it’s the first time I’ve written it down. It’s still not real to me.
It was very sudden. She had a heart attack in the middle of the night two nights ago. Father found in the morning.
I feel so numb. Everytime I walk into the kitchen I expect to see her standing at the stove chopping onions and everytime it’s a horrible surprise.
I don’t know what to do. I’m just shocked.
I guess I have to make funeral arrangements.
I have never seen father like this. He’s inconsolable. He was so cruel and harsh to mama sometimes, but he really, really loved her.
He just sits in his bed all day holding the scarf that she used to wear. It’s so strange for me to see him like this, he never showed emotion when I was a child, only strictness and discipline. Now he seems broken, like he is the child.
I want to leave Argentina. This is not a country, it is a collection of holes and broken pieces.
But I know that I must stay. Pappa needs someone to take care of him, now that mama is gone. He’s older now and he’s softened. He seems troubled, even before mama died, I would catch him sitting with his head in his hands or staring out a window. A few years ago he would have condemned these activities as idleness.
Beyond that, though, I cannot take Julieta. If we fled it would mean admitting that Catalina was gone forever. I love Julieta more than anything, but I know she is Catalina’s true daughter. If by some miracle Catalina was to return to find me and Julieta gone, I cannot bear to think what it would do to her.
Julieta is the only piece of light in my life. She is so sweet, but so fiery, just like her mother. She said her first full sentence a few days ago! It was “Titi, that isn’t fair!” She is so smart and so right-minded, she gives me hope.
I love you mama.