Before he retired out of public life due to cancer illness, Gabriel Garcia Marquez wrote a farewell letter.
Years ago, I read his book “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and loved his deep thoughts in writings. He wrote many more books and in 1982 he received the Nobel Prize in Literature. I can write a lot to praise him and his contribution to world literature but here is his letter.
A Farewell Letter
If for an instant God were to forget that I am rag doll and gifted me with a piece of life, possibly I wouldn’t say all that I think, but rather I would think of all that I say. I would value things, not for their worth but for what they mean. I would sleep little, dream more, understanding that for each minute we close our eyes we lose sixty seconds of light.
I would walk when others hold back. I would wake when others sleep. I would listen when others talk, and how I would enjoy a good chocolate ice cream! If God were to give me a piece of life, I would dress simply, throw myself face first into the sun, baring not only my body but also my soul. My God, if I had a heart, I would write my hate on ice, and wait for the sun to show. Over the stars I would paint with a Van Gogh dream a Benedetti poem, and a Serrat song would be the serenade I’d offer to the moon. With my tears I would water roses, to feel the pain of their thorns, and the red kiss of their petals.
My God, if I had a piece of life…I wouldn’t let a single day pass without telling the people I love that I love them. I would convince each woman and each man that they are my favorites, and I would live in love with love. I would show men how very wrong they are to think that they cease to be in love when they grow old, not knowing that they grow old when they cease to love! To a child I shall give wings, but I shall let him learn to fly on this own. I would teach the old that death does not come with old age, but with forgetting. So much have I learned from you, oh men…
I have learned that everyone wants to live on the peak of the mountain, without knowing that real happiness is in how it is scaled. I have learned that when a newborn child squeezes for the first time with his tiny fist his father’s finger, he has him trapped forever. I have learned that a man has the right to look down on another only when he has to help the other get to his feet. From you I have learned so many things, but in truth they won’t be of much use, for when I keep them within this suitcase, unhappily shall I be dying.
– Gabriel Garcia Marquez
I love you Gabo.