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Some Sad News To Report


trilingual
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A number of regulars here have met Roberto, "our man in Buenos Aires." Roberto was a very close friend of mine, a retired lawyer and magistrate who was available as a guide and who introduced a number of us to the wonders of his amazing city.

 

I'm very sad to report that Roberto died unexpectedly this past Wednesday afternoon. He had been having some health issues this past year (he was in his early 70s) but not heart-related. Heart problems ran in his family, but he had been watching his diet and cholesterol religiously at least for the past decade, and he was an indefatigable walker, so he wasn't out of shape and in good physical condition. Nevertheless, it seems he had a bad heart attack in August. He was found in time and rushed to the German Hospital, one of the best in B.A. and only a few blocks from his apartment. They were able to locate the blockage quickly and put in a stent. After that, and with medication, he was feeling OK soon afterwards and his doctors told him it was OK to travel, so he booked an apartment and flew off for a month in his beloved Paris. He e-mailed me from there on September 25, telling me about the heart attack (which came as something of a shock) but saying he'd been feeling fine, was having a wonderful time, and if he were to die he'd rather it be in Paris than anywhere else! He planned to return to Buenos Aires on October 9 and promised to send a longer e-mail when he got home.

 

He did return home OK, but on Wednesday I received an e-mail from his cousin Silvia, who has also become a good friend, saying Roberto had died that afternoon after a bad accident. After getting in touch with some of his other friends it seems he had been walking up the stairs in his building from the ground floor to his apartment on the next floor (a short and easy flight of stairs) when he suddenly fell backwards, hitting his head very badly. The neighbors must have heard the noise, found him, and he was rushed to the German Hospital again, but this time there wasn't anything they could do. He'd had a massive brain hemorrhage that couldn't be stopped in time because he was taking anti-coagulants for the heart condition. He was in a coma for several days and died Wednesday afternoon. We don't know what caused his fall, but Roberto wasn't somebody who just fell all the time and certainly not backwards on a flight of stairs, so it's very possible that the fall was caused by another heart attack or a stroke due to the anti-coagulants. It seems likely he never knew what happened and didn't suffer at all, so if you have to go, it wasn't a bad way to do it.

 

Losing Roberto leaves a big hole for me because we've been extremely close since we first met back in 1982. I think pretty much all of us have someone in our lives that we just "clicked" with the first time we met and it seemed like we had always known each other and could talk about absolutely anything with them. Roberto was that kind of friend for me, and at this stage in life there probably won't be more of them. Having lost another old and close friend (and roommate) in the Bay Area over Labor Day Weekend means it's been a couple of rough months. Fortunately I'm in Fortaleza with my husband right now, and he's been a big help in keeping me from getting too deeply sad or depressed, which would probably have been the case if I were home alone. But it still has been a sad few days.

 

Roberto wouldn't want anyone to be too sad, though. He had an exceptionally good, exceptionally well-lived life, and virtually nothing left on his "bucket list." He had travelled the world and experienced the best in it. Back home, even during some of his more recent health problems, he was still going to museums and gallery openings, having dinner with friends, going to movies and plays, and getting as much out of life every day as he possibly could. He almost never looked back and never got bogged down about things in the past that had no remedy. He was always looking forward to the next adventure or experience. It's a good example for all of us, and it's one of the reasons I'll miss him, because he was such a positive, enthusiastic friend!

 

Feel free to share any memories or experiences of Roberto here. I know that those of us who knew him will miss him, too.

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Had a chance to spend a day with Roberto when I visited BA about seven years ago. A cultured gentleman who took me to museums and other interesting places. A great knowledge of architecture and history. Had a wonderful dinner with him at a fine restaurant. It was an opportunity to get to know an exceptional man who enjoyed giving a total stranger a tour of his beautiful city. He will be terribly missed. But I have such fond memories!

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I am very sad for your loss. I did not know him, but we shared the same philosophy on life. For your friend to realize that he had an amazing life, and to appreciate all that was his, is truly a powerful attitude to have. I told my sister the other day when I left all family and friends behind in LA and moved east, should something happen to me unexpectedly, do not mourn my passing. Like your friend, I too have had an exceptionally well-lived life, and there is virtually nothing left on the bucket list. My thoughts are with you this evening...

Edited by bigvalboy

the greatest beauty is

Organic wholeness, the wholeness of life and things,

the divine beauty of the universe.

Love that, not man apart from that,

or else you will share man’s pitiful confusions,

or drown in despair when his days darken."

 

- Robinson Jeffers

 

B e l i e v e

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I am very sad for your loss. I did not know him, but we shared the same philosophy on life. For your friend to realize that he had an amazing life, and to appreciate all that was his, is truly a powerful attitude to have. I told my sister the other day when I left all family and friends behind in LA and moved east, should something happen to me unexpectedly, do not mourn my passing. Like your friend, I too have had an exceptionally well-lived life, and there is virtually nothing left on the bucket list. My thoughts are with you this evening...

 

Tri, I send my condolences to you and am also saddened to hear about Roberto's death. I was with him for two days in 2005, and I felt some connection and can identify with the comments which you made on behalf of Roberto. May he rest in peace!

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Tri/Axiom,

So sorry to hear of Roberto's passing. I never met him, but I know he was the 'go-to-guy' for Newbies going to BsAs and that both Tri and Axiom knew him. In today's world, early 70's is indeed young to pass away. So sad....but glad to hear, in a way, he got to see his beloved Paris one more time. The universe works in mysterious ways.

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I am so sad to hear this. I met Roberto when I was in BA seven or eight years ago. He took me around the city, showed me what was what, and became a friend. We saw each other a couple of times in New York City subsequently. He was delightful, a man whom I wish I had known better.

 

I am so sorry for your loss, Trilingual. It was your praise of Roberto which led me to him. What a gift he was to you and to all your friends.

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I am sad to learn this. I met Roberto on my first visit to Buenos Aires in 2005. As afterwards I spent a month each year in the city, we became good friends and he introduced me to various Argentine friends of his. I also saw him on his holiday visits to Europe.

 

Just to add to your note: Roberto went on to Rome after Paris, and he told me how much he enjoyed seeing that city after many years absence. He had recovered very well from his heart operation, and I wonder if the fall was related to his COPD. Roberto had suffered Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease for 3-4 years and he found the oppressive heat in Buenos Aires difficult. And not to dispute in any way but from stories he related to me, I strongly suspect that Roberto was much older than "early 70s". Certainly he provides a powerful example to us all: despite his age and increasing frailty, he enjoyed life thoroughly and he lived it to the full. I shall miss him.

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Thanks for the condolences every one. I still haven't really assimilated Roberto's being gone. I didn't know Roberto had gone on to Rome after Paris -- I suppose that was part of the news he planned to share in the longer e-mail he'd promised to write when he got home. Roberto never mentioned that he had COPD to me, and we have been the kind of friends who wouldn't ordinarily keep something like that from each other. But maybe this was an exception. I knew Roberto was feeling his mortality during the last ten years or so as health problems began cropping up and maybe he didn't say anything about it because he knew it would shorten his life and there's no cure for it. He had been having a series of nasty UTIs last year and during the beginning of this one. He was very unhappy about those, because besides being painful and obnoxious, they were also cramping his lifestyle in a major way. We couldn't figure out what was causing them, but his doctors finally seemed to have determined the cause early this year and got things under control, and as far as I know he didn't have a relapse of those. He traveled to New York in the spring and had plans for Europe that he went ahead and kept, even after his heart attack in August.

 

Roberto was vain, in his way, (a classic Argentine trait) and it's very possible he fibbed a bit about his age. He didn't feel or think like an old person, so he probably was trying to be younger chronologically as well as mentally. I thought he was about 3 years older than me (I'm 67) but he must have been older than that because recent remarks from his friends and his cousin disclosed that he was 73 (or maybe 74). In any case, I know Roberto touched a number of people here in their travels to Argentina, so I wanted to be sure that you guys knew what had happened. He will definitely be missed!

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