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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Requiem

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis.
(Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.)

Andrea Palmas
2 August 1949 - 10 February 2004

I was young when I met this man, and older than my actual years by the time I left him. A soul so full of demons, a heart that refused to love any woman but the one who would not love him. I've written a little about this man on my blog before.

Today is the third anniversary of his death. I wonder how many people whose lives he touched, are remembering him today. Those who are will most probably include his mother, his three sisters, two ex-wives (I'm not one of them), a daughter, a son, five nieces. My hope is that others will also stop for a moment and remember him.

Andy was so many things, father, son, husband, brother, uncle, friend. And what he loved being the most, dive instructor. His passion was the sea and inspiring others to find beauty in the underwater world. Noone only ever dived once with Andy, he had an ability to fire up their interest and they all came back to learn the sport. He lived to develop others' interest and had such a way about him when it came to diving. His dream was to run a dive business focussing on education and together, we opened up a dive centre in 1999. I gave up my career, my home, my friends and we moved to the Canary Islands. I owned and ran the business, he was the head instructor and staff manager. It was only four years later, that I posted this on the website:

It is with great sadness that I am writing this today. Andy (Andrea) Palmas passed away suddenly in Italy on February 10, at the age of 54.

Andy was the heart and soul behind Aqua-Marina when it was founded and played a crucial role in helping to build the business from the ground up. A passionate diver and educator, nothing made him happier than to turn a non-diver into a diver and he so loved the excitement in the eyes of those returning from their first dive. Some of you will remember him as being the person who introduced you to diving, others as the enthusiastic authority who took you further into the world of diving, while some of you will recall time spent just being underwater with him in the medium he so loved.

A beloved son, brother, father and partner, Andy is survived by a daughter in Italy and a son in Sweden.

Andy was a part of my life for 15 years and I shall miss knowing I could hear his voice if I picked up the phone – and how I now wish I had over the past few years since we went our separate ways.

Go in peace Andy and for those of us who knew you, who truly knew you, you will remain in our hearts forever.

Such demons haunted this man's soul. I hope that now he has found his peace. I know I have found mine with him. I found it in a tiny church outside Rome, by the sea. Looking at that picture, in front of which his urn was placed. Listening to a priest hold a mass in a language I cannot understand more than a few words of, Italian. Words Andy taught me. But I felt peace finally come to me. Knowing his tortured journey was over. It wasn't an easy peace to find, in the four years we lived together, he had taken me to hell and back. He broke my heart, he tortured my soul, he even took me to within an inch of my life one dark, evil night.

About his life I can honestly say two things: He only ever loved one woman (not me) and he loved the bottle even more than that. I fought for him but the alcohol won. I fought until I'd lost myself in the process. I realise now that I did everything I could to save him, but he didn't want to be saved. There was a time when he was with me, when he actually died. No pulse, no respiration, eyes glazed over. But I managed to revive him and he never forgave me. He told me he had watched me giving him CPR, from above, that night. He recounted to me later, my exact words, my exact movements. And he said it didn't hurt to drift away, but coming back into his body, he experienced excrutiating pain.

Two other times, he tried to take his life. I didn't let him. Maybe I should have. The last time, I really did consider letting him go, letting him make that ultimate choice. When I found him, only barely breathing, I hestitated about going for help. But, for whatever reason, I wasn't ready to let him go, or to be the one who didn't help when I could. I know he was trying to follow his son, who ended his own life at 18. Andy never got over that and in the end, the slow suicide of alcoholism got him. After I had given up. After I had walked away. After I had let him almost destroy me as part of his own destruction. After I left him to rot if that was his choice and maybe his destiny.

His sisters chose that picture of him for the funeral service. He looked so happy. He was happy then. For that fleeting moment in Hong Kong, before he lost his eldest son, he was happy. I find just a little solace in knowing that I was the one to have put the most effort into helping him, of giving him something to feel happy about. Of trying to bring some light and love into his life. Of giving him his dream. And because of that, being the one to witness that smile there, firsthand. Maybe that's the worst thing, knowing that the potential was there, he just wasn't strong enough or didn't want it badly enough.

Rest in peace Andy. And if there's a bar where you are now, it's a sure bet you're sitting drinking a large bourbon straight up and people are enjoying your company. I wish you had believed me when I told you that you didn't need that glass in your hand, for people to like you.

10 comments:

Sally-Sal said...

What a beautiful memorial. Fiona, my heart goes out to you. You are truly an amazing woman.

freebird said...

You are indeed.
Very moving - I can't add to that, my words would just be inadequate.

oblivion said...

you are amazing Fiona. Thank you for sharing this.

chele said...

To Andy..I remember so much about him..seeing him thru your eyes..hearing the pain in your voice..I do say that things are put into our path for a reason..he had a purpose in yours no matter how painful..or how joyful..

love you much mahfio

deb said...

A bittersweet memorial. Thank you for sharing it.

Fusion said...

I don't what to say Fiona. That's a wonderful memorial to a man who forever changed your life in ways I cannot fathom. I haven't had to chance to read your back posts yet, but this just confirms to me what a incredible women you truly are.
I wish you peace.
And I wish Andrea peace.

Matt Kohai said...

I read your older posts that you linked to in this one. I'm heartened to hear that, from the sounds of it, you've managed to overcome a very difficult situation with a very difficult person whom you loved. You sound all the stronger for it.

Steve said...

"Maybe that's the worst thing, knowing that the potential was there, he just wasn't strong enough or didn't want it badly enough."

You say a mouthful, Fi ...and an incredible heart full.

Sunny Delight said...

You ARE amazing! There are some people we can't save, yet you tried through years and years of heartache. In that, you grew into the woman you are today.....most Amazing You!

Fiona said...

Thank you everyone for your comments, they mean a lot to me.

He helped shape me into who I am today and after all is said and done, after the pain, who I am is better than I'd have been without the experiences.

 

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