The tears are still flowing in Uruguay. Of this, I am sure. With the death of great Latin American writer Mario Benedetti over the weekend, the people of Uruguay have lost their hero and their muse.
"His literature has been a part of my blood, of my insides, and has been like the air that I breathed in order to grow. And it has always been my compass." Gaba, blogger in Uruguay
Here, in my own corner of the world thousands of miles away, I can't help but join them in solidarity. How can I not? Reading over the writings of bloggers in Uruguay, I've gained a sense of just how much Benedetti was an invisible yet constant companion to so many in that South American country. They found solace and inspiration in his magical words, ensconced in more than 80 works of literature he produced throughout his 88 years.
Benedetti, the son of Italian immigrants, counted Anton Chekhov and Ernest Hemingway as writers who influenced him, but said: "The real influence on my work was reality, that of my country and Latin America in general."
A poet, a playwright, a journalist, a novelist, a political activist, an essayist ... there were few hats Benedetti did not wear despite death threats and 12 years in exile after a military dictatorship took over Uruguay in 1973.
It seems fitting to close with Benedetti's own words, in his book published last August, as a testament to the love he had for his wife of 60 years, Luz, who died in 2006:
"Night falls and I'm alone
With great difficulty, I carry within myself
the good love that death took
and I don't know for whom to keep living."
Translation credit for Gaby's blog post: Eduardo Avila, Global Voices
Image: Minerva Canto