Blue as in Happy

Beauty Fashion & Survival

 

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Dress: Stella Nolasco Spring/Summer Collection; Makeup & Hair: Alfredo Monterola; Photo: Raquel Pérez Puig; Location: LL

I love the color blue.  It brings me peace so I wear it a lot.  I think it blends perfectly with most skin colors.  Blue as in sky, yes.  But also our crystalline waters in the Caribbean are blue. It strikes me as funny when people say they feel “blue” when they’re feeling down.  I’m blue when I feel relaxed, when I’m in love, when I’m in complete  harmony with the universe.  So blue it is for me. Blue as in peaceful. Blue as in calm. Blue as in happy.

I wish you blue.

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

Blessed

Beauty Fashion & Survival
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Dress: Stella Nolasco; Makeup & Hair: Alfredo Monterola; Raquel Pérez-Puig; Location: LL

A while ago I was interviewed by a very good friend and ex-co-worker and she asked me if life had been good to me.  “Life is life”, I answered, “and I have decided to make it good.”

On a day like today,  I want to give thanks for all my blessings.  Last year, I was at my extended American family’s home celebrating Thanksgiving feeling quite miserable.  It was my first Thanksgiving without my husband who had passed away only five months earlier after battling disease after disease for three consecutive years.  Ten years ago today, we had gotten married and had promised each other to be together “Till death do us part.”

But life is so fascinating and oh so unexpected if you only stop to contemplate all that surrounds you.  If you realize that we find ourselves in a temporary place and that we have the responsibility  to make the best of it.  This Thanksgiving I am happy because I decided to make life a happy place.  I took charge of my life, as I always do.

At this very moment I am surrounded by family, health, was given the opportunity to  combine all my skills to create a community of women who inspire me and I’ve looked up to them for advice.  Women who also might feel lonely either because they are going through an empty nest syndrome, have lost a loved one, have been left by their significant other (and maybe it was his loss)  and have welcomed me into their hearts and  have made me part of their lives.

I am very blessed.

I know life is very unpredictable.  I have been there.  Tomorrow is tomorrow and I will deal with what comes my way then.  I want you to do the same.  But now, today,  I  give thanks to God and to the fact that I have been given this unique and magnificent opportunity to connect with so many people in such a positive manner.

May God bless you all and may you also be aware of all the beauty and blessings that surround you.

 Open your eyes, open them wide and let that lovely light shine in.

This is our opportunity. We only have one life.

Let’s make it a memorable one.

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

Dealing With Grief

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

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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
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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.

Practice Kindness

Thoughts

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During a conference, if the speaker would ask attendees which of them considered themselves to be a good human being I’m sure many people would raise their hands. We always believe it’s the “other person” the one who suffers from envy, greed, ego issues, etc. We talk in third person when we are referring to flaws. We’re not born being good human beings. Kindness must be practiced. Now that I have a public fan page, for example,  ever so often people criticize me. Occasionally  they criticize my accessories, clothing, makeup, or make negative comments. How do I react?  As long their post or comment is not rude or offensive and respects my boundaries, I take a deep breath, wait a while and then I try to put myself in the other person’s shoes.  I try to provide thoughtful responses. And you know what?  On many occasions, they have been right!  More than once the situation has turned around like magic and they loosen up and answer back with respect. Tolerance must be practiced every day.  Respect others.  Acknowledge them.  Greet people, try helping the needy, give affection to older people even though you might find them a little boring, or have had a rough day.   Listen to that friend who has suffered a loss or disappointment. Kindness should be  practiced daily.  We are all so imperfect.  We should practice tolerance, goodness and compassion.

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PRACTIQUEMOS LA BONDAD

Si en una charla o foro el moderador hace la pregunta, ¿Quién aquí es se considera una buena persona? Estoy segura de que la mayoría levantaría la mano. Siempre pensamos que el malo, el equivocado, envidioso, avaro, etc. es el prójimo. Hablamos en tercera persona cuando de defectos se trata. Pero todos, todos, tenemos nuestros enormes diablillos que escondemos a veces hasta de nosotros mismos. No se nace siendo bueno. La bondad se practica. Ahora, por ejemplo, que tengo el blog, algunas personas entran en el mismo y me critican. De vez en cuando critican mis accesorios, ropa, maquillaje. Me hacen comentarios negativos etc. ¿Qué hago? Siempre y cuando lo que me escriban lo hagan con respeto, respiro hondo, espero un rato y cuando me pongo en el lugar de la persona le contesto con dulzura y empatía. ¿Y saben qué?  ¡En muchas ocasiones han tenido razón!   La bondad hay que practicarla TODOS LOS DIAS. Ponte en el lugar del otro. Saluda, da los buenos días, ayuda a los necesitados, dale cariño a tus viejitos aunque ya te aburran un poco o tu día haya estado demasiado complicado. Escucha a esa amiga que te cansa con su lamento. La bondad se practica día a día, momento a momento. Somos completamente imperfectos. Practiquemos la bondad.

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

 

You’re not here…anymore.

Dealing With Grief

Foto RAFI Y YO

Suffering sucks.   But the desperate feeling of not being able to find a way out makes hurting even worse. That’s why I run away from it. I keep myself very busy so that I have absolutely no time to think and realize that my long time companion is not here and will never be here again. So all of the sudden when suffering strikes, I write. This is my way of coping and if I can be of help to someone who is going through something similar then, fortunately, my hurting serves a purpose.

Yes, I remember him so well. So very utterly handsome and elegant.  With his crisp cotton white shirts and black pants. Always a gentleman.

So I sit here today in front of my computer at our home, which he used to call his “Little Cave”,  that we had remodeled to our liking, left with memories in each and every corner. Exactly ten years ago this month, we got married promising each other eternal love.  Love which was fleeting.

When I’m not physically active, his presence falls upon me. Coco, Caña and Canela also miss him. He was their master.  Now they snuggle with me at night. I hated to have the dogs sleep with us, but he would always convince me to let them in our room. Now I’m the one who brings them in. They give me love and companionship as only dogs can.

No one could come into our apartment without Coco trying to bite them.  Now Coco has become a tremendously gentle dog.  He doesn’t have to protect his master who he sensed was so lacking in health.

We shared unforgettable moments together.  He was my husband, my lover, my friend.  Now I find myself in that hollow status, so lacking in feelings, I’m his “widow”.  This is my new reality and one that I will have to cope with for the rest of my time in this mystery called life.

But yes, I want to believe that we will someday all be part of a new world where we will all meet in solidarity. Until then, my dear Rafi, I write thoughts on my wall which probably only make sense to me. And with that, my dear, I am content.

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 Sufrir es feo. Pero la desesperación de no encontrarle salida a tu sufrimiento es peor. Por eso le huyo con todo. Me mantengo sumamente ocupada para no darme cuenta de que mi compañero de años no está y no va a estar nunca más. Porque ese pensamiento de “nunca más” me desespera.  De momento me agarra el dolor y ¿qué hago? Escribo. De esta manera me salgo de mi misma y quizás ayude a alguna que está pasando por lo mismo. Entonces mi sufrimiento agarra algún tipo de sentido.

Sí recuerdo a mi marido hoy. Tan pero tan buenmozo, tan elegante y caballeroso. Con su camisa blanca almidonada y su pantalón largo negro.  Hoy estoy en este, nuestro hogar, al cual él llamaba “La Cuevita” la cual remodelamos juntos a nuestra imagen y semejanza, y la cual él abandonó a destiempo dejándome llena de recuerdos en cada rincón.

Justamente este mes, hace diez años nos casamos y nos juramos amor eterno. Amor eterno que en esta vida fue demasiado fugaz.

Siento mucho su ausencia cuando no estoy activa. Coco, Caña y Canela lo extrañan también. Su amo era él. Y ahora se acurrucan a mi por las noches.

Yo odiaba dormir con los perros. Pero Rafi siempre buscaba la manera de convencerme para que los dejara dormir en nuestra habitación. Ahora los entro yo misma. Son mis tres compañeros y me dan mucho amor, y compañía. Como solo los perros lo pueden hacer.

No había quién entrara en mi casa que Coco no le tirara protegiendo a Rafi. Ahora Coco es un perro dócil que recibe con mucho cariño a mi familia e invitados. Sí, me cuida a mí, pero ya no se siente en la obligación de proteger a su amo, el cual Coco intuía carecía de salud.

Pasé muchas lindas etapas junto a Rafi. Amante, amiga, compañera y esposa. Ahora soy esa palabra tan hueca y carente de sentimientos su “viuda”,  la cual me niego a utilizar.

Esta es mi realidad y no voy a dejar que me tumbe. Lo quiero y lo extraño muchísimo, pero hay que seguir hacia adelante en este misterio que se llama vida.

“Hasta que la muerte nos separe”, así nos juramos. Y quizás, nos unamos algún día. Quiero pensar que está en un mundo mejor al cual llegaremos todos en unión y solidaridad. Hasta entonces, mi querido Rafi, serás sólo esto, una serie de palabras en mi muro que quizás solo a mí me hagan sentido. Y con esto, por ahora, me tiene que bastar.

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.

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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.

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

 

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

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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.

On Unconditional Love

Family & Friends

IMG_3111   The little one who had never showed up, never thought of or imagined. Quietly crawling into your life making you realize you still had unpublished feelings. Feelings so different, so unconditional, so waiting for a little breath of life. You take him into your chest and snuggle him till eternity.

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