October 28, 2005 - Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe - ABQ.
In memory of Carlos Esquibel:
October 9, 1968 - October 24, 2005.
I want to thank you all for being here and I especially want to thank Carlos’ mother for asking me to speak.
I needed to write this down because I was afraid I would forget all the things I wanted to say. That is how my week has been since I heard the news about Carlos. As I’ve been going about my day I start to think about Carlos and I find myself lost in thoughts of him. What happened to him. Why it happened to him. I become confused and sad and angry. But then I would get a phone call or decide to make a call and reach out to one of the many people in this room that Carlos has brought into my life and I get all the love, support and understanding to help me through the next few moments, the next few hours.
Carlos came into my life just over two years ago. He walked into a room of Alcoholics Anonymous and I immediately knew he was someone I wanted to know. I’m sure it had something to do with what he was wearing. I started as his mentor, or what we call a sponsor in AA. In the first few months I asked him to call me every single day. This was something I was taught to do. It was a way of staying connected in the early days of getting sober – which is a difficult time when someone is trying to stop drinking and basically starting a new life. Carlos always called and usually at the time that I needed it the most. When I was stuck in my head or going through a difficult time. It was as if he knew I needed the help.
As the years passed and we grew closer the relationship changed from a sponsor/sponsee to a very close friendship. There were times he didn’t call as much but in the past few months Carlos called every day. He had licked his problem with alcohol but was finding other difficulties in life as people do when they get sober. Carlos was learning to live life on life’s terms and doing very well. But Carlos’ questions were much bigger than what to do about something that may have happened at work or how do handle a relationship.
When people talk about Carlos they most often comment on the clothes and his sense of style ... but behind the Prada glasses, below the snappy hair do and beyond the sharp tongue was a brilliant mind. Brilliant... which means full of light and marked by unusual and impressive intelligence.
His biggest question and one that we talked about on an almost daily basis was how does one balance the material with the spiritual, the light and the dark. How to live like the Dali Lama and still listen to Madonna. Carlos was equally inspired by both Deepak Chopra and Donatella Versace. When I think about how he lived his life, maybe he did find that balance.
I know I’ll miss those conversations. Those are questions that I also ask and I somehow had a feeling that Carlos find the answer and pass it on to me. About 4 months ago I realized after one of our long talks that I was no longer Carlos’ sponsor but in may ways he was teaching me how to live. When someone dies people often say that their time had come. And maybe Carlos had learned what he needed in this life time. But I know Carlos still had some work to do as a teacher making the world a more brilliant, beautiful, shining place.
All of you are living proof and how Carlos spread his spirit and his light. And I’m sure that Carlos, wherever he is, is now nothing but pure light and spirit.
I just want to end with an experience I had last night in a yoga class I took. Yoga was also an important part of Carlos’ life and his transformation in the past year or so. I needed to go visit his teacher up in Santa Fe who he took class with almost every Sunday morning religiously to tell him what had happened. Towards the end of the class I was in a deep forward fold and hip opener. Our teacher, Tias Little, came up to me and put his entire body on mine to bring me deeper into the pose. It was difficult and a little scary at first. I mean I truly thought my hips were going to split open. But I took a couple of deep inhales and even longer exhales and was able to soften into the pose. When I came up slowly out of the pose I started to cry. I was crying because I knew I would not be able to share this experience with Carlos. After a class such as last night I would call him immediately on my drive home because he would understand what it meant, how it felt, he would understand the transformation that occurred. I sat there for a few moments and after the tears stopped I took another deep breath I was able to let Carlos go because at that moment I knew he would always be with me.