Recalling a young woman, taken too soon, who comforted so many
My mother, a healer, gave me explicit directions: Pray for Consuelo to the four directions. At that, my wife and I, with Consuelo’s parents, Artemesia and Mario Aguilar, went to see their 26-year-old, cancer-stricken daughter in the intensive care unit.
As we prayed for her, there were prayer feathers, crosses, images of saints, cards, lotus flowers and words in several languages left behind – evidence of prayers from the four directions.
On Feb. 17, Consuelo went on to the spirit world, and I called a very special friend, Nahuatl elder Angelbertha Cobb.
I asked her: If people don’t really die, but instead simply transform into spirits, then why or how do we mourn them?
“We mourn them by remembering the most beautiful memories, and also through humor,” she said. “They don’t like weeping. It drives them away.”
I’m not weeping, but the words aren’t streaming forth as they did when I first wrote in October about this beautiful University of Arizona graduate, a community organizer and a peaceful warrior for social justice.
Friday, when I arrived at my office, a message was on my telephone. Before hearing it, I was prompted to listen to an older message. It was Consuelo, calling me for a recommendation.
A few more days have passed, and I can only think her life was an epic love story.
Paula Domingo, our spiritual daughter from Albuquerque, N.M. by way of Cuentepec, Morelos, Mexico, translates “epic love story” to Nahuatl as: “Ce tlatotl tlazotlaliztli.”
Paula, whose husband Luis and daughter Miahuatl met Consuelo at our house, wrote this about her:
“Nochipa tikilnamikizke uan tikuikaske panin toyolo. Sihuatl kiyin aijk mikiz nochipa tuhuan yez.” We will always remember her and carry her in our hearts. A woman like her never dies. She will always be with us.
Her friend, Joel Garcia, describes her as his “beloved friend Consi – a strong xicana who is now a hummingbird.”
Wrote friend and UA professor Andrea Romero, “Like the ripples that come from a stone thrown in the water, her impact will continue to spread beyond the limitations of the physical time she spent with us.”
Maria Molina Vai Sevoi of Tucson’s indigenous Calpulli Teoxicalli wrote, “Overwhelmed with the tremendous experience of the birth of their baby girl, what more suitable and prophetic a name could Artemisia and Mario have chosen than Consuelo (Comfort). Thank you to the Aguilar family for sharing your precious gift.
“Thank you, Consuelo, for giving us comfort in the knowledge that our seeds are strong enough to push through the weeds, find a ray of sunlight, and blossom into beautiful flowers . . .
“Thank you for your generous contribution to ours and future generations. Keep walking in beauty. See you with the sunrise.”
Darlane Santa Cruz adds: “Consuelo was very passionate about bringing in just and equitable teachings into the community. She decided to work with Raza Studies before going into law school. Consuelo always hoped that one day our movement veteranos could leave egos aside and continue working together to accomplish the vision of self-determination and liberation of all oppressed people.
“I never imagined my life without her, and it is very difficult to think that I will not have her as a guide I can call up on at any moment to help me sort out the bumps in the road. I only hope she continues to guide me in that spirit world.”
Finally, an excerpt from Mixelle Rascon: “Tell me about the little stories in your hair. . . . Tell me, how should I miss you? Your strength, rebellion, diligence, a character as precious as el Popul Vuh. No Xikana complex here. Only the real thing. I will see you again.
“Do not take the fruit of the warrior woman under your wing without leaving us the seed. Thank you, Consuelo, for shooting arrows of dignity that moved humanity. . . . Rest at ease in the melancholic gardens where all revolutionary ones go, whisper tunes of sovereignty. Once we awaken the new people’s sun, my sister, we will dance again, for all of eternity.”
By the way, I did give Consuelo that recommendation. No doubt she is nowadays somewhere organizing the hummingbirds in our midst.
Roberto Rodriguez, a research associate at the University of Arizona, can be reached at: XColumn@gmail.com.