Tribute to Robert Rivera

(It’s now been 5 years today…..I love you, Rob).

Today, 1/14/2007, marks one year since the passing of my beloved cousin & brother, Robert Rivera. Robert was, is, and always will be a beautiful soul who did not find the peace of spirit in his lifetime on earth. The following is a re-post of the tribute I wrote in memory of him.

I love you, Robert.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

I returned home tonight and found out that my very close cousin, my first cousin, Robert Rivera, who was just forty years of age, had passed away in his sleep sometime between last night and this morning. It is now the night of January the 14th, 2006 as I write this.

I wrote the poem below as a result of remembering a line in a letter he had written to me 9 years ago, when I was living a life of sincere adherence to religion as a young man married to a beautiful woman who was as earnest and sincere as I was with her spiritual growth.

Robert’s exterior could be gruff, as is commonly displayed in the disposition of many who walk the avenues of the S. Bronx. It’s the hardened shell developed through years of pain; the first line of defense for many in a world which they believe has become unsafe for them.

In this letter that my cousin wrote to me in 1997 he expressed a wish for a better life that also was his confession of what his life had become in his own eyes. We, being only 3 years apart in age, were very close when growing up and throughout our early adulthood. I was privy to his sensitive, vulnerable, loving side and benefited, as did many, from his generosity of spirit and outrageously dark sense of humor.

Then our paths diverged when I joined a religious movement, got married, and eventually moved to Kentucky then Missouri.

Here is my small tribute to the memory of my beloved brother, Robert Rivera:

I remember the days
when I walked with God,
in Missouri,
that you wrote to me a letter.
In those days
prayers filled the moments of my life
like a silent sea of serenity –
and you, knowing this,
said to me in that letter,
‘I want a peaceful life,
to live with a good wife,
and do what is right.’
Those words live on
as a prayer,
a quiet song of solitude,
that whispers its plea
into a silent wind.
And that silent wind,
the breath of God
that blows gently in the night,
cradles your prayer,
shielding it from indifference.
As I sat this night,
thinking of you,
grieving
over the passing shadow
of an unwelcome death,
the faithful, silent wind returned and,
whispering to my heart,
breathed your prayer
into my remembrance;
I felt once again,
as when I first read your letter,
the somehow-fulfilling life of your dream.
And in this moment I know that you,
now cradled by that faithful, silent wind,
through your prayer,
live in the eternal breath of God.

posted by sariyd | 11:59 PM

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