Open letter to Arturo
My dearest Vasquez,
I cannot stand the fact that you have been gone for almost a year.
As July 8th approaches, it does not make moving on without you
any easier. Today I lit piñon inscence on your altarcito and saw
your face glowing there next to the Virgen and all the rocks we
brought back from places we visited. Everyday that passes, Turi
and I live in memories of you. We will remember something and
laugh or we will find something and say: “so that’s where he put
it…..” It’s almost like you were still here sometimes.
Everyone from all over the US keeps calling and asking when I will
begin to do the nichos and the hearts. I tell them about the
evening following the day you passed. In a torrent of rain Sister
Jeannette Hernandez (of the Missionary Catachists of Devine
Providence) who gave the three of us the most moving last rights,
so personal and so loving, came and blessed the shop, your work
area, the “show off” middle room, and my work area. As she, Turi,
and I walked out we knew that it would end right then and there. I
cannot and will not continue the nichos without you, without your
gentle hands, thoughts, and prayers being imbedded in them.
It has been the hardest year of my life, Vasquez, where are you
and why have you not returned? You loved me too much and you
loved Turi too much to leave us and we do not understand the
world without you.
I have been blessed with the kindest of friends who keep Turi and
I in their prayers and hearts. They have not forgotten to call or
write. I am especially thankfull for the administration, faculty,
students, and staff of St. Peter Prince of the Apostles School.
They love me so much and have held my hand as I walk on this
earth without you. God placed me in their care and they are my
Vasquez, remember how, when we began to make the nichos, we
used to go around picking up pieces of old wood and old furniture
people were throwing away? Turi and I still laugh when we
remember that day you came home from looking in the dumpster
at the HEB for old vegetable crates and came back and said,
“Man, there was a good aguacate in there and some peaches that
I bet, if we washed them, they would be good to eat!” Remember
how I told you never to do that again? Well, Vasquez, I do not go
into the shop because that is a sacred place. The memories of
you there working away listening to that awful Barry Manilow or
Willie Nelson, the memories of you there praying as you worked,
greeting people, and talking on the phone to so many friends,
collectors and family.
It has been a year of writing to you in my journals memoires put
down on paper to make the loneliness less bitter and to soften my
heart by creating drawings for you. As long as I can create, I can
be at peace with the memories of you and my longing to have you
come back to me, because you loved me too much to leave me.
My heart has a gaping hole in it Vasquez and one that will never
heal, while I know time will mend it, it will have the scars forever.
So, in order to repair my heart I am creating hearts for you. I
began my journals to you with the first one titled, “My heart is
made of glass” and that has given birth to me studying the art of
glass fusing and learning just enough to become a genuine folk
artist. I use shards of glass, discarded and bought by the pound.
I also buy large pieces and I have created some hearts in your
honor. Each heart is different, each heart contains the memories
of you, my prayers for you, and my love for you. Each heart is
radiant with color just as our life was and full of love. Each heart
has holes in it, to let you know that my heart has a hole in it that
echoes that part of me that left my the day you left. At times I feel
so empty without you, and every step I take is harder than the
next one; but I take them, Vasquez, because you made me strong
and fearless, and caring, loving, and giving. I use the pattern you
left for the Sacred Hearts you made of wood and I cut the glass
and add colored shards and they are so beautiful. I also add
ribbons with little offerings on the ends because we should aways
offer things to other people, just as God offers things to us. The
ribbons are rainbow colors because the world is full of color and
we must see it everyday and not let a day go by without seeing
God’s rainbow. Like glass, my heart was broken and it is on the
mend, but the scars remain. The glass is sharp and my hands
have bled from cuts, but, when I fire them in the kiln, they come
out soft and gentle, loving and so very much like how I am
beginning to feel with each new day that passes. I miss you, your
son misses you and it hurts us everyday that you may be missing
us back and that is the most painful of all hurts.
As July 8th, 2005, approaches we ask our friends to call us, to
come visit us, to come see the hearts that I have created for you,
in memory of you, in celebration of your life and in celebration that
they too were in our lives and are a part of us.
When I met you, I wrote a line on a piece of napkin and it said,
“You are my sunshine and blue sky…..” and Vasquez you will
forever be... I love you and miss you…
And Turi is my salvation as he is you and me together.
-Enedina Casarez Vasquez
San Antonio, Texas