Dealing With Grief

Dealing With Grief, Family & Friends, Healing, Health, Survival


Dealing with Grief

Remember please, if you don’t like to read about these matters just skip this post:

The last time we went to Cleveland Clinic, where my husband passed away, I travelled with a nurse who I had hired because Rafi was already very delicate and he couldn’t stand on his own two feet. It was honestly the worst trip I had done with him on my countless trips abroad. We literally had to carry him and lay him in the back seat of the car to take him to his different appointments. He had a Pet Scan done on the first day. The following day we went to the neurologist. The neurologist was a very kind man who dedicated all the time in the world to him and broke the news to us that Rafi’s cancer had spread to his bones and to many organs. This news was devastating for both of us. He started asking Rafi several questions to see how well he was coordinating his thoughts. He asked him to draw two interlocking pentagons which he tried to do to the best of his abilities and then the doctor asked him to write a sentence. Rafi wrote quite clearly: I love my wife.

Copyright © 2015 UVA Investment, Corp. All rights reserved
La última vez que viajé con Rafi a Cleveland Clinic, donde se complicó todo y murió, viajé con una enfermera la cual había contratado porque ya Rafi estaba muy débil y no se podía sostener en sus propias piernas. Fue el peor viaje que hice con él porque literalmente teníamos que cargarlo y acostarlo en el asiento de atrás del auto para llevarlo a sus diferentes citas médicas. El primer día se le hizo un Pet Scan y al día siguiente lo llevé a su primera cita que era con el neurólogo el cual nos dio la noticia de que el cáncer de Rafi había progresado y que literalmente ya estaba cundido. El doctor era sumamente amable y dedicado. Le hizo muchas preguntas a Rafi para ver como andaba neurologicamente hablando. Le pidió copiara dos figuras pentagonales entrelazadas y después le pidió escribiera una oración. Rafi escribió (en inglés): Amo a mi esposa.

Copyright © 2015 UVA Investment, Corp. Todos los derechos reservados.

Diagnóstico: Cáncer de Seno ( also English version below)

Healing, Survival

Esto fue escrito en el 2001 a dos años de haber sido diagnosticada con cáncer de seno por un pedido de una revista a que compartiera mi experiencia.

photo 3


Me pidieron escribiera sobre mi experiencia personal con el cáncer. Mientras hacía el borrador recordé las vivencias me tocaron vivir hace ya 2 años.

Sí fue fuerte para mi revivir todos esos momentos de ansiedad que creía olvidados. Los angustiantes exámenes, la pérdida del pelo acompañada del temor al ridículo. Las interminables horas de quimio. El miedo, mas que miedo pavor, que hacía que me despertara a media noche temblando sin control para después levantarme con una sonrisa: “Yes, Mom is doing just fine.”

El tratar de darles apoyo y ánimo a otros que pasaban por lo mismo fue para de esa forma salirme un poco de mi misma y encontrar el sentido de todo lo bueno y lo malo por lo que pasamos en esta vida. Ello, como intercambio divino, fortalecía mi espíritu.

Buscar la lección que yace escondida en todas y cada una de las vivencias que nos toca vivir.

Durante todo este proceso me hice indiferente a la enfermedad, considerando que si uno no se regodea en las calamidades, las calamidades se olvidan de uno.

No permití que me tuvieran lástima. La lástima te paraliza, es un arma que utilizamos para la manipulación. No sabiendo que en el proceso de manipular quedamos atrapados en nuestro propio juego. No crecemos.

Todas nuestras experiencias deben ser utilizadas para un proceso de crecimiento, si no se convierten en una experiencia estéril, en una mueca.

No soy ninguna heroína. Vivo en la lucha diaria por desenmascarar al miedo. Soy una mas de las tantas mujeres que viven con este diagnóstico, y si de cierta manera puedo darle aliento a alguna y dejarle saber que la vida continúa, que no pierdan el poder del asombro. Asombrarse ante la pureza de las nubes, un bello árbol, una sonrisa.

No eres tu enfermedad. Eres un ser humano único, indestructible, eterno. Vive tu eternidad en las cosas pequeñas del día a día. Vive como si día a día estuvieras haciendo poesía.

Poesía será tu vida.

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English Version:

Diagnosis: Breast Cancer


This was written in 2001, two years after my breast cancer diagnosis, following a request from a magazine asking me to share my experience.


They asked me to write about my personal battle with cancer. While preparing the draft, I remembered all the things I had to go through.

Reliving all the anxiety was very excruciating. The frightening exams. The hair loss, accompanied by fear of embarrassment. The long hours of chemo. The panic that made me wake up in the middle of the night, trembling helplessly, only to wake up with a smile, thinking ‘yes, Mom is doing just fine”.

Helping others going through the same situation helped me get over my own problems and allowed me to find some sense in all the good and bad that makes up our lives. As a consequence, my spirit was strengthened.

I started discovering the priceless lessons embedded in each and every experience we go through.

During the process, I became completely indifferent to the disease. My thought was, ‘If I don’t pay attention to calamities, the calamities will forget about me’.

I did not let anyone feel pity for me. Pity paralyses a person, and it is a weapon we use to manipulate. If we are not careful, it can get us trapped in our own game. We simply stop growing.

All our experiences must be cherished and used for our own good. Otherwise, they become sterile, useless, a mockery.

I am far from being a heroin. I live in a constant, daily battle to fight fear. I am only one of the countless women living with this diagnosis, a normal woman with a desire to help others who have also been diagnosed with this disease and let them know that life goes on, that the sense of wonder must never be lost. That what really matters in life are the simple things: a white cloud, a beautiful tree, the laughter of a child.

You are not your disease, but a unique, indestructible, eternal being. Continue enjoying the simple things in life. By doing so, your life will be filled with the most amazing poetry.

Copyright © 2015 UVA Investment, Corp. All rights reserved.




I’ll Play the Violin

Dealing With Grief, Healing


Keep yourself busy. Yep, that’s what I preach. Busy, busy, busy and then you won’t have time to think. By the time you get home, you will be so tired that you won’t remember your sorrows, or your name, for that matter. You’ll take a bath and fall right into bed.

I don’t know why we’re so disturbed by death when it’s the only sure thing we have in life. We don’t know if we’re going to be born, if we are going to succeed, marry, have babies. But die? Yes, that one’s for sure. And yet so many people fear death. I surely don’t.   And let me tell you, I have shaken hands with it before. But yes, we are so devastated when someone we love passes away…and it’s so hard to recover. They leave this space in your heart and sorrow seems to be your true companion. And we deal with it. Or at least we try…

Well, yesterday was one of those very busy days where I filled mine with constant activity, doing what I love best which is to be surrounded by people and meet new ones. I was at a women’s symposium at a mentor’s booth where I would talk to women who scheduled an appointment with me, about innovation. And boy, do I know about innovation. I have reinvented myself about a hundred times in my no expiration date life.

I walked out of the activity at around 5:30pm because I had to go home and change to go to yet another activity at night, carrying my stand up banner (which I thought was unnoticeable) inside this thin long bag in my arm when a friend comes up to me and says hello. I had not seen him in a long time. He asks me what I was doing now. I answer him, (feeling quite silly, by the way), “I have a blog”. “Oh yes,” he tells me. I’ve seen some of your comments in Facebook. “Yes”, I answered. “I make comments on Facebook”. “And what is that thing you’re carrying in that bag, a violin?” Believe me, my dear friends, I stuttered while I answered, “No, it’s not a violin, it’s a stand-up banner” He looked at me in dismay. I asked him what he was doing here at the hotel and he told me he was picking up his wife who was also attending the symposium, to have some drinks. And that’s exactly when it hit me.

Rafi didn’t like to go to my work related activities, but he would always come to meet me and have some drinks, or dinner afterwards.   And then, just then and there, I realized this was going to be my reality from now on. I will always leave these activities alone carrying my case with my stand up banner, and yes maybe I will,   maybe I’ll take some violin lessons.

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Mantente bien ocupada. No pienses. Sí, esto es lo que siempre predico. Así cuando llegues a tu casa estarás tan cansada que solo tendrás fuerzas para darte un baño y caer de bruces en la cama.

No entiendo por qué nos asombramos tanto con la muerte si es lo único seguro que tenemos en esta vida. No sabemos si vamos a nacer, casarnos, tener bebés, triunfar. ¿Pero morir? Sí esto es cien por ciento seguro. Y tantos le tienen miedo a la muerte. Yo honestamente no. A pesar de que tuve, en su momento, un encuentro cercano del tercer tipo con ella . Pero sí, nos quedamos tan devastados cuando alguien querido y cercano se muere y es tan difícil la recuperación. Nos deja este vacío en nuestras vidas y en nuestro corazón. Así y todo nos recuperamos. O por lo menos tratamos.

Ayer fue uno de esos días donde llené mi día de actividades. Fui invitada a un simposio a un stand de mentores donde señoras que sacaron cita previa, podían hablar conmigo sobre innovación. Y sabré yo sobre innovación si en mi vida, sin fecha de expiración, me he reinventado mas de cien veces.

Salí del salón como a las 5:30pm para buscar mi auto cargando un maletín estrecho y largo el cual tenía adentro mi “stand up banner”, cuando en eso se me acerca un amigo, al cual no veía hacía tiempo, me saluda y me pregunta que estoy haciendo ahora. Me sentí bastante tonta y le contesté: “Tengo un blog”.   “Ah sí, te he visto haciendo comentarios por Facebook.” “Sí”, le contesté. “Hago comentarios por Facebook”.   “¿Y qué llevas dentro de ese maletín, un violín?”. Aquí me puse un poco gaga. “No, no es un violín, es un “stand-up banner”. Me miró un tanto asombrado. Le pregunté que hacía y me contestó que venía a reunirse con su esposa la cual también estaba en el simposio para tomarse unos tragos. Aquí fue donde me tocó la fibra.

A Rafi no le gustaba acompañarme a  actividades relacionadas a mi trabajo pero siempre se encontraba conmigo después para darse unos tragos y comer. Aquí me encontré cara a cara con el hecho de que esta iba a ser mi realidad de ahora en adelante. Iba a salir de las actividades sola cargando mi “stand up banner”.

Y sí, ¿por qué no? Quizás me ponga a tomar clases de violín.

        Copyright © 2015 UVA Investment, Corp. Todos los derechos reservados.

Dealing With Grief

Dealing With Grief, Healing
Screen Shot 2015-08-16 at 8.58.04 AM

Our Wedding Day, November 24, 2006 at Casa de Campo, República Dominicana.

Dear Friends,

(Posted on my Fan Page: Annette Vaillant The Blog on July 3, 2015)

I will continue posting and writing on this blog with a greater commitment than ever before.  I will share my speech at my husband’s funeral service with all of you.  The purpose of this, is to be able to bring a little peace to those who have been, or are going through the death of a loved one.

My oldest son flew down to Puerto Rico from Florida to give me love and support during this very difficult and extremely sad moment in my life.  My other two sons live on the island.

I had been divorced from my son’s dad for about 5 years when I went to a friend’s Christmas party with my youngest one who was 17 at the time and met Rafi who had been a widower for the past 7 years and had 4 children and 11 grandchildren. We fell in love and got married 2 years later.

The priest at the funeral service whom I had never met before, gave a very beautiful sermon, trying to give comfort and peace to Rafi’s children and grandchildren whom he asked to join him up front in prayer in a most beautiful and powerful ceremony, but he apparently did not realize that Rafi’s widow was also present at this ceremony.

I’m  totally sure that this was a mistake and not an omission because it would be very hard for me to believe that with the magnificent power of speech and spiritual healing the priest showed in his sermon,  he would have willingly left me out and not have asked me to join them just because of the fact that I’m a divorcee. No, I’m sure this wasn’t the case because that would have shown a total lack of empathy on his part, but I felt under the right and obligation to speak afterwards at the burial services.

I hope this brings a little peace and comfort to all of you who are grieving the loss of a loved one as it gave me to be able to express myself.

“We women are so very strong!  And the reason behind this is that God granted us a maternal instinct that we thought was dormant until we become caregivers to a loved one and this instinct resurfaces once again. Stronger than ever.

Rafi was his belated wife’s caregiver.  He was by her side for 10 consecutive years until she lost her battle to cancer on 1999.  (The same year I was diagnosed with breast cancer, which I always thought was a coincidence ) He took excellent care of her during her ordeal and he deserved by Karma or let’s call it “Law of the Universe” to be taken care of in the same way. Rafi was taken care of during his long and debilitating illness the way he deserved to be taken care of and died with dignity next to his wife and loved ones.

I would like to add some words to the beautiful ones spoken by the priest at the service.  I would like the Lord to grant comfort and peace to his only sister and husband who are here  today and were beside him all the time through his ordeal and to his Mom (She is 106 years old and obviously couldn’t come to the services) because my peace and comfort will be granted to me by Rafi, and by the good Lord.

Thank you very much.”

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!Este blog continúa! Y con mas fuerza que nunca.
Comparto con todas Uds. mis palabras durante el entierro de mi queridísimo marido con el objetivo de traerle un poco de paz a aquellas que estén pasando o han pasado por la muerte de un ser querido. Uno de mis hijos pudo venir de Estados Unidos a acompañarme y darme “support. Yo estaba divorciada y mi marido viudo, padre de 4 hijos y abuelo de varios nietos cuando nos conocimos hace 10 años 1/2. Nos enamoramos y nos casamos.
El sacerdote al cual yo no conocía y el cual habló precioso en la misa de difunto, dándole consuelo a sus hijos y a sus nietos, haciéndolos pasar al frente para que se unieran en oración en una bellísima e impactante ceremonia, no se percató de que en esta misa se encontraba la viuda. Estoy segura de que fue verdaderamente una equivocación y no una omisión porque se me haría muy difícil pensar que un padre con ese poder de sanación espiritual y de palabra me obviara por ser divorciada. No, estoy segura que no, porque esto hubiera sido una verdadera falta de caridad. Pero me vi en la obligacíon y además el derecho de hablar en el momento del entierro. Espero les traiga algún tipo de paz como me la dio a mi el poder expresarme:
“¡Qué fuerte somos las mujeres! Y es porque todas cargamos un inmenso instinto maternal que creíamos dormido hasta que llega el momento de tener que cuidar a un ser querido y ahí vuelve a resurgir. Con mas fuerzas que nunca. Rafi cuidó incansablemente de su esposa durante su larguísima enfermedad y se merecía, digamos por ley de vida o Karma que lo atendieran a él de igual manera. Rafi fue cuidado durante toda su larga e incapacitante enfermedad, como se merecía, y así murió, dignamente al lado de su esposa y sus seres queridos.
Quiero añadirle a las preciosas palabras del padre, consuelo a su única hermana que se encuentra presente junto a su esposo, los cuales estuvieron presente también durante toda la enfermedad de mi marido, a su madre que aún vive ( tiene 106 años y no pudo estar) porque a mi el consuelo me lo da Rafi y me lo da Dios”.

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Dealing With Grief

Dealing With Grief, Healing

CANDLEIf you have been reading my posts on my Fan Page in Facebook: Annette Vaillant The Blog, you may already know that my husband passed away on June 27 at Cleveland Clinic in Weston Florida.  He was my love, my friend and my companion.  I will be sharing the healing process with my followers. If you don’t want to read about this, or if you already read them on my Fan Page, don’t worry, I will continue to write posts about beauty and fashion here.  Just skip the ones with the title: Dealing With Grief.  I will start sharing my past posts from Facebook on this blog.

May God bless all of you who are in the process of  healing too.  You are more than welcome to share your experiences right here with me.

Remember, this blog is about Beauty, Fashion and Survival. I am in a survival mode at this time.