Gabriel García Márquez’s Son Kindly Remembers His Parents


Even as his dementia progressed, Gabo, for whom García Márquez is affectionately known, retained his sarcastic humor: “I’m losing my memory,” he said, “but luckily I forget that I lost him.” He could still recite poems from the Spanish Golden Age in his memory and sing the words to his favorite song. vallenato songs, his eyes were shining with “excitement at the accordion opening notes”. At one point, García Márquez wanted to return to his childhood bed in Aracataca, Colombia, where he slept on a mattress next to the bed of his grandfather, Colonel Nicolás Márquez, the inspiration for the beloved Colonel Aureliano Buendia’s movie “One Hundred.” Solitude of the Years.”

Then there is Gabo’s tireless collaborator Mercedes, his “last thread”. Garcia remembers her husband’s angry reaction at the time of his death, when the nurse worked quickly to prepare his body and gave only a short scream before he could gather himself again. She was extremely independent: after the Mexican president referred to her as a “widow” at a memorial service for García Márquez at the Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City, she threatened to tell the first journalist she met about her remarriage plans. Garcia recalls that even days before his death in August 2020, he remained “open and secretive, critical and tolerant,” despite eventually suffering from respiratory problems.

Garcia’s explanation is honest—perhaps to a fault, given the strict division she imposed between her parents’ public and private lives. In 1957, exactly ten years before the publication of “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” García Márquez destroyed all records of his correspondence with Barcha. Despite his father’s blessings, García Márquez had told him to “Do whatever you want when I die” – García describes the disappointment and embarrassment of getting on his father’s coat: “I am aware that I will write whatever I write about his last days. regardless of its quality, it can easily find the broadcast.”

“Farewell to Gabo and Mercedes” is largely carried by anecdotes about García Márquez’s life, but is most often told when Garcia is asked to reflect for himself and reckon with his insecurities. As he writes the memoir, he realizes that the wall that his family has built around their private lives partially extends to him. He spent 50 years unaware of his father’s inability to see the middle of his left eye, and learned that his mother had lost two siblings as a child, towards the end of her life. “There’s a thought in the back of my mind that I don’t know them well enough,” Garcia writes. “I asked them no more about the subtleties of their lives, their most private thoughts, their greatest hopes and fears.”


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