For twenty years, I spent all my extra time “unearthing” Antonieta…
I became obsessed with this out-of –orbit woman who would have been my mother -in- law and whom no one in the family would talk about.
When I discovered the truth, I felt that her suicide was such a waste of talent.
She could have been the number one writer in Latin America, she could have been a concert pianist, she could have done so much more to foster education in Mexico.
Her passion to help bring Mexico´s talented young writers, poets, painters out of the morass left by the Revolution, filled me with deep admiration.
I went to Notre Dame three times trying to understand why?
Why did she end her life so young?
And I got the answer: she was empty.
She had given everything she had. There was nothing more to give, no one to give her a hug, she had spent all her money and Vasconcelos dream of being President had died. He no longer needed her. She had to get out of the way so that her son could be properly educated by his father.
The divorce had never gone through and although she had fought for his custody and kidnapped him to have him with her in Paris she could offer him nothing.
But the end had to be dramatic…
My husband (her son) says that his mother would never drown in a bath tub nor put her head in a oven. She committed suicide inside Notre Dame Cathedral, elegantly dressed on the eve of a Requiem Mass for Pope Pius XI.
The doors of the Cathedral had to be closed.
All Paris would know the next day that Antonieta Rivas Mercado, who had promoted modern culture in Mexico, had promoted the first Symphony Orchestra , had backed the Presidential Candidate who had promised the vote to the Mexican woman in 1929…had left this world.
I knew her story had to be told. And I was the one to tell it.