When Rocky Abalsamo’s wife Julita died after fifty five years of marriage, he took up his daily sentinel post beside her graveside regardless or rain or snow. She had been dead seven years when, in 2000, the saga of love and adoration became the focus of media attention. His dawn til dusk visits continued until a family member died in 2005 and Rocky’s focus shifted to other loved ones. But he still regularly tended her grave until six months before his death in January of this year. The couple met in their native Buenos Aires when they were teenagers and he will be interred to the left of Julita-the same side when out walking with her.
Many people are able to empathise with Alabsamo and understand the pathology of grief. Others may adopt a cynical stance. Yet this remarkable story which has become international news again has all the pathos of Romeo and Juliet. Below is a poem written in an attempt to creatively convey the very obvious devotion Rocky felt for his Julita.
When the left side of Abalsamo’s heart stopped
he came each day for two decades
to sit beside her granite block
and watch green saplings grow tall.
It never seemed to matter at all
whether the ground froze or the sun rose
while he began to wither away;
removed from the cares of life.
Yet sitting there, in a blue director’s chair;
and so sure his wife was a mandolin
raining arpeggios down from the sky;
some would say he had lost his mind.
But the more he spoke of wisdom and love
it seemed she had been that part of him
which gleamed like autumn sunrays
from behind Dawn Redwood trees.
At each day’s close when no bread had passed his lips
he laid crumbs at the head of her stone
to summon swallows for birdsong
lest she ever felt she slept alone.