Flooded at the Sink

Standing over the kitchen sink, dinner in the making. Waves and waves of thoughts flowing through her mind…does that reel ever stop? The memory of her little girl bouncing in, always wanting to help Momma. “What-chu making?”, was the question of the hour. Mom would answer, “Pos, food.” Giggles and rolling of the eyes would follow. Suddenly these precious memories are dampened by the memories of her own childhood.

For The RunawayJunior High doesn’t bring cherished memories, however, Home-ec class yielded some good results. Learning to make spaghetti sauce and cinnamon rolls was a tasty experience. Recipes that are still in practice today.

Ah, yes, the day she learned to make spaghetti sauce was a memorable one. She came home so excited, ready to share this amazing accomplishment (at least she thought so) with her mother. Let’s just say there were no pats-on-the-back or words of affirmation.

Somewhere along the way, mother, begrudgingly decided to let her make this “foreign cuisine”. Oh, how excited The Runaway was! She knew they would like it. Mother bought her all the necessary ingredients and off she went into full mode cooking gear. Mother’s frown and side looks could not dissuade her. However, even though Mother agreed to her cooking this meal, mother still made the regular dinner, cause “who would eat that porquería”.

Let’s just say Dad liked it, a lot. No, he wasn’t like A Father building his daughter up. But, after careful inspection, he scarfed-it down. And, as time went, he would ask Mother to buy the necessary ingredients for his daughter to make this foreign dish.

And so went the wave of memories. Always a mixture of emotions.

Dinner is finished…let’s go eat 🙂

Beyond Grateful

My daughter was in the autism spectrum. Her comprehension could be difficult at times. Remember the Love Boat🖤🌹? This time of the year was one of great difficulty. It was cruel on her heart and mind, because she thought “everyone” had a special someone. She felt she was the only one in the world without a valentine. Oh, how she cried! She thought that because she was ugly and “different”, nobody wanted her. We had many conversation, where I’d try to make her understand differently.

My heart wells up with gratitude at the thought of two men who took the time to make my beautiful girl feel as special as she was. They didn’t have to. They weren’t told to. It came from a heart of love.

♥My son (Angie’s big bro) took her on a special date for valentines day. She was besides herself. She had me help her pick the perfect outfit, doing her make up,  and helping her with her hair. She felt like a princess. She talked about it, and talked about it. Such a special day for her, and him.

♥A family member brought her fresh flowers every Saturday. We would place them where she could smell and see them. They would brighten up her days. Even on those horrid treatment days, she’d smile when she would see her beautiful flowers.

Just two examples of love and kindness. They might seem small, but they were enormous in a my daughter’s eyes. And, this Momma is beyond grateful.

We decorated her grave…that’s just what we do. But, the memories of love shown to her on this earth are engraved on our hearts.

Can you think of someone that might need a little extra love? Take the time. Your love and kindness lasts beyond the grave🌸✝️

Birthday Month

The year, 1984. Me, on my third pregnancy. Blissful, was not part of my experience. Having had two miscarriages, we didn’t dare get excited. Complications, loss of weight, barely keeping YOU “safe” inside my womb to continue to grow strong.

December 3, at my regular doctor check up. Seven months along, cheering for the finish line. Nope! Not going to make it! Your heartbeat was barely audible. And, unbeknownst to me, the fluid that I was losing was not pee, but embryonic fluid. Crazy, I know!

Rush! Rush! Rush! Here you were, a healthy baby boy! Making your entrance with a loud cry and peeing all over the nurses. Definitely all boy! Who knew, then, what lay ahead.

Today the roles have changed ⇒⇒⇒

  • The day we received that final “no”, and knew that the inevitable was so close. In the back yard I screamed, and hit (literally) the block wall. There you were, your hand on my shoulder holding me in your arms. I sobbed!
  • The day Angie took her last breath. As a zombie, I walked out to her memory garden, stooping down, I wrote “this date”. My knees gave way. There you were, holding me up.
  • As that van drove away with her little body. There you were, to scrape me off the driveway.
  • As her shell was being lowered into the grave. There you were, your arm around me.

⇒⇒⇒I could go on and on…

How is it that such a mess of a human would birth such amazing human beings? God has been so good to me! He gave me YOU🖤

This year, we have danced together; we have sang together; we have laughed together; and, yes, we have shed tears together. You have given me the gift of allowing me to be me; of walking toward the mess and not away from it.

34 years and counting! May God, in His grace, give us many more years together.

I love you so very much, Son🖤

Junior High

Her awkwardness was evident. Not really sure she belonged. She and her mother had ventured a long way from their quaint little village. A never ending, so it seemed, highway brought them to the much talked about “norte”. All she knew was that she was with her mother on a journey to “visit” her Dad. At 9 years of age, no details are needed, just that you are going on a trip. Little did she know that “el norte” would become home.

Years passed rapidly since their arrival and now here she was in another unknown, chaotic environment, where puberty was at its peak. Who knew “bullying” would become such a hot topic? Who knew “mean girls” would be made into a movie? All she knew was she needed to find a way to survive. Why was it that every place she went, including “home” was a fight to stay alive? Life and the pursuit of purpose and meaning continued, hoping to find less pain.

She was not one of “them”. She was not one of “those”. Where did she belong? Where did she fit in? Her clothes had no label, but always clean. Her shoes needed to last and last, cause unless they were falling apart, she would not get another. Who knew outfits needed to match? Well, she knew, she just couldn’t do anything about it. New clothes and shoes and supplies for the school year was not in her radar.

Mr. Diaz was a kind man. He invited her to “The Mecha Club”. She decided to go, maybe she’d fit in? Who knew? Walking in with heavy feet – her feet have been heavily dragging for most of her life – there she was. Her thrift store attire was no match for this clean and pressed group. Stared at, looked up and down to see if she matched the criteria…if she fit in. What torture for a girl who couldn’t hang with the outside crowd, but she sure didn’t seem to fit in with the in crowd.

What was it that attracted her to the gang life? She sure didn’t fit in. She sure didn’t belong. Somehow she managed to get “similar” clothes, tried the make up and hair look AND got the nickname “La Sleepy” — how’s that for a fear inducing name?

Initiation antics followed. Alcohol and dabbling in other illegal substances. Although alcohol had already been the numbing agent of choice. It was the only way to numb the pain of the abuse ( The Runaway).

Junior High, a bridge between kidhood and younghood. A place where fitting in felt more like a pinball machine, however, the “scoring” was way, way off. And, being an immigrant girl with an accent did not help the volley from one place to another, from one group to another.

It seems like ages ago, and yet so readily available in the memory bank. Survived, and life continued with more road to travel on this journey of life.

Depth

I read this on a page in FB called Introvert Nation:

“I don’t think people understand how stressful it is to explain what’s going on inside your head when you don’t even understand it yourself.”

On a total side note, I think I’m an introvert…just sayin!

Anywho, I decided to do something I used to do (in the dinosaur ages, so it seems). I used to write in a more “today” kinda-way, with a sort of pondering/meditating to the flow of the writing piece. Although I really enjoy writing in any kind of way.

In my FB Memories a video popped up from 3 years ago. It gives 5 points that encouraged and prompted me to “guide” my thoughts. Encouraged by Natalie Goldberg when she said, “if you are not afraid of the voices inside you, you will not fear the critics outside you.” Here goes…

1) Own Your Own Happiness” – I’m 52 years old. It doesn’t matter what I’ve done. I can’t please all of the people, all of the time. It’s exhausting! Critics are everywhere. I’ve been a professional and a stay at home mom. I’ve had my children in public school, private school, homeschool. I’ve been crazy out in the world and settled and homie (some critics would still say that I’m still just plain-ol-crazy…hey, they might be right!). Just to name a few things…and I’ve been criticized for every single one of them.

2) Challenge Your Own Story” – I hate the word “victim”! I dislike being pitied! I’ve been molested, raped, assaulted, beaten, BUT I refuse to let this define me! Each “season” I’ve lived and, by God’s grace, have come THROUGH has made me who I am today. However, I will not stay quiet about who I am and where I’ve been. No shame in my game! This season of my life has me sunk in deep sorrow and grief from the loss of my beautiful daughter. I deal with crying all the time, thoughts of suicide, PTSD, panic attacks…AND I’m not ashamed to talk about it or write about it. I don’t need to hide (unless it’s a really bad day, then I’ll be under the covers for most of the day).

3) Enjoy the Journey (NOT just the destination)” – Today is a gift! Be fully present. Enjoy the baby years; the toddler years, even the teenage years of your children. Enjoy those soccer games, baseball games, valet, recitals. Enjoy the house full…the empty nest will come soon enough. Enjoy that you can jump and run and eat whatever you want, cause, people, I’m here to tell you that “season” comes to an end really quick. Enjoy the sunrise, that sunset…the moon and the stars. Enjoy that cup of coffee, that donut or that salad. Don’t miss today while you are stuck in the past or reaching for tomorrow. Celebrate along the way! There is JOY in the process.

4) Make Relationships Count” – Trust even when you’ve been betrayed. Don’t carry others mistakes to the new relationships. Don’t get “historical”, stop keeping lists. This person is here for this moment in time. Friendships are messy (this is a continual struggle for me…still), but still be open to friendships. Know the difference between friends and acquaintances. Some will stay for a while, others just for a moment, but each will leave an imprint on your life journey.

5) Balance Work and Play” – Everything is not serious everyday. Take time to be silly. Take time to laugh. Take time to dance. Your “job” will continue even without you. For 10 months my entire focus was my daughter. We colored, played dots, got pedicures, took naps together…I will NEVER regret having put everything on hold. I’ve been told that now it’s “my time”, that I’m free to do things I enjoy. Guess what? That was “my time” AND life was still happening…it did not stand still. Things were accomplished in those 10 months that stories are of. No mega trial brief could top that time with my girl.

Thank you for taking the time to read. Thank you for “walking” with me. One step at a time is all it takes, and if you need to sit, that’s ok, too 🙂

My Beautiful Girl

My Beautiful Girl (Angie) was born June 3, 1986. She was named after her paternal grandmother, whom she loved. I wonder if they are singing together in heaven? Abuelita Jelo loved to sing.

All of my pregnancies were difficult. I had two miscarriages before we had our first born prematurely, with minimal issues. Then I got pregnant with Angie and the difficulties continued with the added trauma of having a drunk man fall on me late into the pregnancy. Angie was born between 6-7 months (don’t remember exactly) with difficulty breathing due to her underdeveloped lungs. She was placed in an incubator and given medication and care for her tiny, frail body. Angie didn’t get to come home with me because she still needed to stay in the incubator a little bit longer. She finally came home with lots of instructions and medications. I am so thankful for my sister who loved both my children as if they were her own. She helped me care for this tiny girl. Angie would “forget to breath”, she still needed to have Mommy breathe for her. She had to learn to breath on her own. This caused for her brain to be deprived of oxygen, which in turn caused further developmental delays. Those were, I thought, difficult days.

Sometimes I just need to remember. Sometimes I just need to “tell” somebody about her. Sometimes saying and seeing her name brings so much comfort and joy.

ANGIE, my precious little girl…fearfully and wonderfully made. Each day a miracle; each day a gift. Each day a milestone; each day defeating the odds. Each day of your life is engraved on my heart and mind. AND each day you are gone brings heart ache and pain. I will miss you until the day I have you in my arms again ❤

 

The Unexpected

The quadruple bypass had been a total success. The family began to let their shoulders down and breath a little easier, until…that first meal! Those infamous cornflakes – tasty clusters of flakes, yet deadly to a paralyzed, empty stomach. The first spoonful hit the stomach producing nausea, stomach cramps and pain, making the stomach bloat with extreme speed. The symptoms had now become agonizing with no sign of relief. Rushed to the OR! Doctors in desperate search of what had caused this drastic turn of events, and trying to figure out how and why this was happening while he was slowly making a positive recovery from his heart surgery.

The family lingers in the room waiting for an update. The nurse comes in and says, “He’s losing a lot of blood. Are any of you able to give blood for him?” We are willing. After some tests, it turns out only two of his kids are a match. One has been using so he’s out. The youngest of them all is taken to the room where she’ll sit as the precious life giving liquid flows out of her veins.

Waiting and more waiting. Finally, a doctor approaches. “We did all we could…” Words that you hope would only be said in movies, but no, this is real. Before any emotion can be shown, the doctor whispers to the widow, “If you want to take him now without waiting, we are going to have to wheel him out as if he is still alive. Otherwise, you might not get him for days, or even months due to all the red tape.” She, “strong-as-nails”, her norm, says, “I’m taking him now!”

The family is then asked to “stuff all their feelings and emotions” and act as if nothing has happened.

The gurney in front, the family behind…as if…all is good.

The body is delivered to the family home, and is customary in that culture, they will dress and prepare him for the all night wake.

Two of his five sons and his two daughters enter “that room”. He is wrapped in sheets. They approach and start unwrapping…GASP!!! UGH!!! The sight, the smells, the liquids! “How? why? Could they have closed him up? Can someone else do this? This can’t be happening!”

One white shirt after another, stained…useless. “We” aren’t equipped for this?” “This should be done by a funeral home.” Nope, this is us and this is how we roll…yeah…swallow that!

Somehow, he is prepped and ready for the all night wake and viewing of the tons of mourners that will come and pay their respects. Rosaries, prayers, coffee, chatter. Tomorrow, he will be carried through the streets of his village, ending at the cemetery with the proper burial. Then the people will scatter, life will continue as usual…

BUT those four “kids” will live with those images of their Dad. Neither will talk to each other about it; neither will talk about it to anyone…because that just how this family rolls.