Category Archives: Short Stories

Always Look For The Positive in Bad Situations

My 2018 Reflection

The year 2018 is coming to an end. It is time for me to reflect on what I’ve done and accomplished. As I reflect on this year, I can either view it positively or negatively. Granted I didn’t get to travel but it was in my best interest not to.

Not A Great Beginning

You see, 2018 was a rough one for me. I began the year with two torn tendons on my left foot. Since this was an injury from 2017 which was not properly taken care of by the then podiatrist, I decided to begin the year with a second opinion. My first appointment was in early February 2018. The new podiatrist, suggested I get an MRI to compare with the one previously done by the prior podiatrist.

How It All Began

Let’s backtrack a little to understand where I’m coming from. In June 2017, I underwent a partial left knee replacement procedure. The surgery went perfectly well. I was feeling great, except for my left foot which was swollen. When I asked the surgeon about it he said that it was because of the surgery and I just needed to give it time. It made sense to me so I didn’t worry much about it. But, when my knee healed perfectly and my foot just got worst, I began to worry.

It Wasn’t Getting Better

One Sunday morning the pain was so unbearable, I had to visit the Urgent Care Clinic. At that point, I knew there was something more. The x-rays taken showed no broken bones, so the diagnosis was a sprained ankle. Beats me how I sprained my ankle when all I had been doing was resting my foot and cautiously walked with a walker and a cane. But okay, I accepted the diagnosis and began to treat it as such. However, it did not get better, it got worse.

Finally a Diagnosis

I decided to visit the same orthopedic group where I had the knee replacement surgery and have the podiatrist take a look at my foot. After more x-rays and no broken bones (of course), he ordered an MRI and gave me a steroid injection. I had the MRI done a week later and returned to the doctor’s office to discuss the results. The doctor confirmed that I had two torn tendons and placed me on a CAM boot for six weeks.

My first CAM Boot

No Hope or Relief

Once on the boot, I followed instructions to a tee. I was determined to return to my normal routine as soon as possible. So after six weeks on the boot, I was ordered eight weeks of physical therapy. The therapy was horrible and the pain excruciating. On my sixth week of physical therapy, I went for a follow-up. The doctor looked at my swollen foot and asked me, “How is it feeling?” I lifted my foot and while pointing to it replied, “As you can see it is still swollen and painful.” He got up from the chair and while walking towards the door, padded me on the shoulder and said, “Good, I’m happy with the progress. I’ll see you in three weeks.” And he left the room.

Sometimes We Need a Second Opinion

“Wait, what? Did I hear that correctly?” I thought. I was in shock so I put on my shoe and walked to the reception area to exit the premises. The receptionist asked me about the next appointment, and all I thought was, “Are you crazy? That nut didn’t even listen to what I said! Heck no!” But I only responded that I didn’t want to schedule it because I was going for a second opinion. That was the last time I visited their office. It was already December 2017 so I waited for the holidays to be over before scheduling an appointment with a different podiatrist.

Is There Any Hope For Me?

I finally visited the new podiatrist and as I stated above, before proceeding with anything, she wanted to know if the six weeks on a CAM boot and eight weeks of physical therapy improved the tendons in any way. In the meantime, I was back on a smaller CAM boot for six more weeks.

Me and my CAM Boot

The CAM Boot and I Are Becoming Close

I had the MRI done and unfortunately, the results were not good. The second MRI revealed that my foot was worse. According to the doctor, it was at a surgery stage. Tears rolled down my cheeks. I couldn’t believe all the time in a CAM boot and physical therapy was just wasted time. I asked her if there was anything else she could do, besides surgery. She said laser therapy might work but there’s no guarantee that it would. I didn’t want to go through another surgery so I opt to do the laser therapy. I was on my way to seven sessions in three weeks of laser therapy treatment. I followed all the instructions given to me by the doctor and even slept with a Night Splint on my foot. I missed many days of work or sometimes left work early whenever my foot swelled too much. I spent many days with my foot elevated high. I was becoming an expert on foot elevation. 😊

Night Splint

Worst Part of the Treatment

It was now April 2018, the laser therapy sessions were completed, however, the treatment seemed to work about 50%. There was still some inflammation and needed more time to completely heal. The doctor didn’t want to take any chances of further injury so she had a non-walking cast placed on my foot. It was very difficult for me to walk on crutches. Heck, it was difficult to do anything. My poor husband had to work around meeting my needs. I felt useless and so hopeless! After three weeks on a cast, I could no longer take it so I called the doctor and asked if we could do another round of laser therapy. If it worked about 50% of the way, maybe it’ll heal completely with another round. She agreed to remove the cast and the second round of laser therapy.

Temporary Brace

It Was Finally Looking Better

The doctor removed the cast in early May 2018. While I went through the laser therapy, I had to continue using the CAM boot. So here I was with the boot again for the next three weeks. It was beginning to grow on me. 😊 Frankly, I preferred the boot to the cast. After seven more rounds of laser therapy, it was finally over. The sonogram revealed there was just a little bit of inflammation. Leaning on the cautious side, the doctor ordered a pair of custom-made orthotics and custom-made brace. Meanwhile, I continued on a temporary brace until the custom-made brace and orthotics arrived.

Final Stages

It was now mid -June 2018 when the orthotics and brace arrived. I was to wear the brace for eight weeks before using the orthotics. I then graduated to alternating between orthotics one day and brace the next day for six weeks. Little by little, it began to heal. I am now using orthotics alone. In the event that I’d be walking on uneven terrain or for extensive periods of time, I need to wear the brace.

My 2018 Shoe Collection consisted of a tall heavy black CAM boot, a short light CAM boot, a temporary brace, a Night Splint, a custom-made brace, and custom-made orthotics. Hey, don’t criticize. I don’t know if I needed all this but the doctor needed to make money somehow since I opted for no surgery 🙂

I Am Healed!

Yes, I endured a lot of pain and difficult moments but I won’t say it was a bad year. Amidst all the pain and difficulties, I was able to do a few things I had been wanting to do for a very long time. I enjoy writing and had been putting together my diary notes from my journey through grief which I wanted to convert into a book. I also thought about starting a travel blog. But my busy schedule would not allow me the time to write. This was the opportunity I was looking for. I was finally able to complete and self-publish my book, Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart, and began my blog, Traveler Wows, which launched in March 2018, and travel agency, Traveler WOWs Agency! I also continued writing for this blog. Come to think about it, I did do a lot!

A Blessing in Disguise

So, I didn’t get to do fun things. Most of my year was spent sitting down with an elevated foot. But I’m not complaining, I am healthy, alive and happy. I didn’t get to travel and you see why it was in my best interest not to. But, I traveled within my imagination when I wrote about all the wonderful places and experiences I had through my previous trips. Therefore, I’ll say that 2018 was a great year for me and that 2019 will be even better and will allow me to travel again. My advice to you is to always look for the positive in bad situations. Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise.

I wish you many blessing and hope you have a Happy New Year. May all your dreams come true in 2019!


Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart

Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart is a compilation of my grieving journals, rants, sadness, and joy. I’ve been through many different scenarios – both good and bad – which have helped me reach the place of peace that I now have. I invite you to explore my journey and I pray that, as it helped me, it will help you. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle version too.

I Shall Wait

Photography by Gratisography

Desperately Waiting

This wait causes desperation. It seems like as soon as you’re told you need to wait, the minutes go slower and time sits at a standstill. My mind begins to play unpleasant scenarios of what could be. Unfortunately, none of the scenarios are good. My sleeping patterns are altered and I began having nightmares of the unpleasant scenarios.

The next Day

The next day rolls in and what was supposed to be an 8-hour sleep seemed like an entire 24-hour day. With a new day rolling in and slowly creeping by it feels like it was a 48-hour day instead of 24. When will this day end?  It drags by so slowly. My anxious mind is reeling with all those unpleasant scenarios. I am sleep deprived, I feel unsettled, afraid, and nervous.

Photo by Raw Pixel

This too Shall Pass

Waiting brings out all my insecurities, fears, and negative thoughts. What if it’s bad? Why can’t I shift my thinking to a more positive note? It’s traumatizing and brings back unwanted memories. It makes it difficult to breathe. I can’t focus, I can’t think. I want to know now! What can I do to calm this anxious and desperate feeling of the wait? I’ll get through this. This too shall pass. Hopefully, it’ll pass soon enough. Just one more day. Let me get through just one more day before I know and the wait will end.


Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart

Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart is a compilation of my grieving journals, rants, sadness, and joy. I’ve been through many different scenarios – both good and bad – which have helped me reach the place of peace that I now have. I invite you to explore my journey and I pray that, as it helped me, it will help you. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle version too.

Does a Mother Ever Stop Worrying About Her Children?

“A mother is always a mother.  She never stops worrying about her children, even when they are all grown up and have children of their own.” ~ The author had to be a mother

Worrying Senseless

I don’t know what kind of mother I am. All I know is that my children are my world. If my children are sad, I’m sad. When they are happy, I’m happy. If they are ill, I hurt. I worry if they get sick, I worry if I don’t hear from them for more than two days. Whatever it may be, they and their feelings are a part of me. It’s not that I want it to be that way. It just is. Maybe it’s because I have experienced the loss of my son. I don’t know, or maybe it’s just part of nature. Even though, I do know a few parents who could care less. But not me. I want them to be happy, safe and well always and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Are All Moms Overprotective?

As a grieving Mom, I do have emotions that seem a little over the top – a bit overprotective probably – even though my children are adults. But, when you’ve experienced the loss of one of your children, it seems that anything related to your surviving children will trigger the “worry” button. Not that I’m a worrier. I believe that when you have a problem if you can’t fix it, don’t worry about it. But, when it comes to my children, it’s different. And that’s okay. Even though they might say, “Mom you worry too much,” they’ll understand once they become parents.

A Wise Woman Once Told Me…

I’ll never forget something my mother-in-law once told me when I was pregnant with my first child. She said, “Once you have a child, you will never sleep an entire night in peace again.” At that time, I didn’t understand what she meant. “What are you talking about?” I thought. “I sleep so well that I could sleep through a thunderstorm.” Well, that was many years ago before I ever became a Mom. She was right. I don’t regret, not for a minute, the sleepless nights I had because the most wonderful thing that happened to me in this life was becoming a Mom and I’m thankful for that.

What Kind of Mother Am I?

So, I still don’t know what kind of Mom I was or am, but I do know that my children are my world and I wouldn’t trade those moments – worries and all – for anything in this world. 

What kind of mother are you?


Diary Of A Grieving Mother’s Heart is a compilation of my grieving journals, rants, sadness, and joy. I’ve been through many different scenarios – both good and bad – which have helped me reach the place of peace that I now have. I invite you to explore my journey and I pray that, as it helped me, it will help you. You can find it on Amazon in paperback and in Kindle version too.

Diary of a Grieving Mother’s Heart

Soul-Searching For The Meaning of Life

“The wise use of intelligence requires more than academic intelligence; we need soul-searching and deep reflection to live a more balanced and meaningful life.” ~  Dr. Paul TP Wong

Life, what is it? Besides breathing and living, what is it? Why are we here? What are we here for? All these questions popped into my mind just a few years ago when life began to change for us.

As a child, it never occurred to me to think about life. I’m sure, like many other children, I was anxious to grow up and be an adult never thinking about the responsibilities that come with it. Then, it happened. I became an adult with everything else that follows – love, children, college, work… is that it? Is that all life is about?

When I reached the “adult” age I didn’t have any of the above questions. I guess I was too busy being a wife, mother, and employee which left me drained enough to keep me from wondering what life is. Then everything changed. From running around every day dropping off children at school, work, pick up children, doctor’s appointments, children’s extra-curricular activities, church, homework, etc; to only go to work. Well, there’s still doctor’s appointments, church, and work but it’s not that running around as before like a headless chicken.  

So now what? Now that I have the time to sit and think about life I began to question it. With the questions arose curiosity. What is there beyond these oceans? What kind of life do other people around the world live? I only knew what I had seen on TV, read in a book or learned in school. All of a sudden I felt like if I were in the Jim Carey movie called The Truman Show. I always thought that I lived in the best place in the world and never doubted it. But, what makes us think such a thing? It was time for me to explore what life is all about so I began soul-searching.

Prayer and meditation were the basis for my soul-searching. I have always believed in God and in prayer. I prayed every day and still do. But, after I began meditating did I realize that, while I prayed every day, I really never sat down to listen to God. So when I meditated I began to silence my thoughts and only listen. That is when I finally awakened. I loved the comforting peaceful silence that goes along with the meditation which has opened up a whole new outlook on life and answered some of my questions.

I began by doing things I had not done before – nothing illegal or bad. I wanted to explore the world, go beyond the ocean walls. I wanted to learn about other countries, their people, culture, and traditions. I wanted to meet new people and connect with like-minded people. I realized that life is not only about living to work. But only if we stop overworking ourselves, complaining, fighting or worrying and think about life will we awaken enough to see all the beauty this world has to offer and we’re missing. There is so much to do in life, so much to see and discover and so little time.

So, if you’ve reached the stage in life where you’ve slowed down, take some time, not only to pray but to meditate and listen to God speak. You will realize that you were not put on this earth only to work, but to discover the beauty of Life.

How Many of You Dream While Taking a Nap and What Does It Mean?

It is not uncommon for me to take a nap when I’m home. It’s a boost of energy for me. Today was no exception. I was off from work and working on my blog when I felt sleepy so I laid down for my nap and fell into a deep sleep. I don’t ever recall dreaming when taking naps but today, I had a dream. The dream was nice but at the same time disturbing. I wasn’t planning on sharing it but since it hasn’t left my mind, I figured I’d share it. Maybe putting it out there will eliminate it from my mind. I don’t know much about dream interpretation but here it goes.

In this dream, I came across various family members and friends which I have not seen in a very long time. The first one was a friend I had more than 30 years ago. Debra was a special friend. We spent a lot of time together, went on day trips, parties and she would sometimes stay overnight at my house. The last time I saw Debbie was between 1990 and 1991. She was the same Debbie I last saw, with her beautiful huge smile, so sweet and impeccable manners. We hugged and talked for a little bit but I don’t recall what we talked about and then we parted ways.

Then I came across a cousin, well my mother’s cousin actually. Lydia was a loud woman but so nice. Her outgoing personality was still prevalent in the dream. She received me with a huge hug and kiss. We talked for a little then we parted ways. Again, I don’t recall what the conversation was about.

After Lydia, I came across my uncle Alex. Tío Tinito, as we lovingly called him, looked just the same as the last time I saw him. Young, healthy and handsome. He received me with open arms and greeted me with a hug. We chatted for a bit, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

Then my grandfather appeared. I did not recognize him at first since the last time I saw him I was very young – probably a teen but I’m not sure. He did look the same as what I remember. He approached me, gave me a hug and told me he was my grandfather. I do recall responding that I knew who he was. The conversation was short, but just like the above, I don’t know what it was about and he was gone.

The last person to approach me was the wife of my cousin, Ivette. She looked glorious – just her crazy loud self that we all loved. She came over to me hugged me with a loud “PRIMA” escaping her mouth. We talked for a bit and then she was on her way.

So, remember when I mentioned above that this dream was nice but disturbing at the same time? Well, it was nice seeing all these people again and having spent time with them. The disturbing part is that they are all dead. I’m not afraid of the dead, but dreaming with people that have moved on from this life, well, it’s not exactly fun. I don’t know how to interpret dreams, so if anyone of you knows, can you give me an insight into what this means? Or is it insignificant? I’m not worried but I am curious so your feedback is greatly appreciated.

 

Hurricane Maria Reflections

I’ve done a lot of reflecting in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. I am a Puerto Rican who lived in the island until the age of 33. I love Puerto Rico, the food, the culture and the people. Even though it hurts to see the devastation that hurricane Maria left on the island, I know the flowers will bloom again, the trees will grow and the buildings and homes can be rebuilt. But, the hurt I feel the most is for the people of Puerto Rico. I am sad, angry and appalled by the actions towards humanity both, here in the U.S. and in Puerto Rico.

I am sad at the devastation the island has suffered. I’m also sad at the situation my fellow Puerto Rican’s are going through – their hunger, despair, the lack of medicine for the ill, clean water and the loss of homes for many. It hurts to see them going through such pain. It hurts to see the destruction of the streets where I once walked through and the establishments I frequented.

I am angry at the response of many who feel they have the right to comment on something they are not experiencing. I have watched videos of others criticizing and belittling the people of Puerto Rico and it is a shame. My fellow Puerto Rican’s have just gone through a horrific experience. Many lost all their belongings, including homes and autos. Most don’t even have a way to communicate with their own loved ones and remain in the dark about each other’s whereabouts. Many may be jobless as well if their employer’s businesses have succumbed to loss too.

I’m appalled at the reaction of government organizations and their slow response to the situation at hand. It’s not a matter of politics, it’s a matter of lives.  My beliefs are with humanity. I belief that in a humanitarian crisis rules and regulations should be thrown out the window. People come first.

But through it all my people’s spirits are always high. They have faith in themselves and in the higher power of God. I’ve watched video after video of people in my beautiful island lending a hand to each other, feeding each other, and sharing what little they have left. I have watched video after video of people in good spirits, playing music, playing domino’s in the middle of the street in about 2-3 feet of water, picking up trash and debris to clear pathways or just sitting around each other’s company to chat.  Their effort to make the most of it and be in good spirits even though many might be traumatized, confused and not know where to start or turn to, is inspiring and makes me proud to be a Puerto Rican.

I believe that if we’re not going through the situation ourselves, we have no right to comment. We do not know what is going on, what is being done or not done. Only those in the situation can comment about it. In my opinion, those who take the time to judge and criticize my people are just emitting a reflection of themselves. And that’s exactly what is wrong in this world. Instead of sending out love there’s a lot of hatred from everywhere and it is sad. There’s not one soul in this world that is better than the other because we are all the same if you turn us inside out. I believe in respect and love for every human being in this world and I strongly believe that every life matters. I pray that in this humanitarian crisis people will finally be awakened. Love and light to all.

Ugly Cactus Type Plant With Large Limbs

A few years ago, my Mom gave me a plant that she could no longer keep.  It was growing too big and climbing up the walls of her apartment complex.  I accepted the plant and brought it home.  It was planted in a 12” green planter.  It’s an ugly cactus type plant with large limbs that look like tentacles which attach themselves to whatever is nearby.  I placed the plant at the very back of our yard out of my sight.

One day, while working in the yard.  I looked at the plant and thought of throwing it away (see photos below).  It is so ugly, and the limbs are just dangling everywhere.  I did not know what to do with the plant.  I figured that I’d at least let my Mom know I didn’t want the plant, so I left it where it was until I spoke with Mom.  However, later that day while browsing through Facebook, I came across an article on a Dragon Fruit plant.  The article caught my attention because the plant on the photo looked a lot like my ugly plant with tentacles.

The plant in the article was called a Dragon Fruit Tree.  Dragon Fruit is an exotic fruit which is difficult to find and quite expensive.  Ancient Chinese legends say, “The Dragon Fruit was created thousands of years ago by a dragon in battle.  During the battle, a dragon blew a burst of fire containing the fruit.  The Chinese believed that those who consumed the pulp of the dragon fruit were given the strength, and immortality of the dragon.  The health benefits and delicious flavor of this exotic fruit are legendary.  Dragon Fruit plants are easy to grow in containers as long as you provide a strong support structure.  Dragon Fruit offers excellent nutritional and health benefits.  It is packed with high concentrations of antioxidants that boost the immune system.” (http://dragonfruitplants.com/index.html).

After reading about the Dragon Fruit plant, I decided to keep it and changed its container.  I re-potted the plant into a larger 22” pot and had my husband build a trellis for it.  From that moment on I began caring for it differently.  I was curious to try the fruit. I had never seen the fruit before, nonetheless tasted it until my trip to Spain.  While in Barcelona we visited La Boquería market which is known as one of the best markets in the world.  While strolling through the aisles of fresh fish, meat, vegetables, and fruits, there it was, fresh-cut Dragon Fruit ready to eat!  Of course, I had to taste this exotic fruit that I had the privilege to own in my backyard.  I was so glad I kept the plant.  The fruit was delicious and refreshing.  What a delight.

Fast forward a few months now, I saw that my Dragon Fruit tree was blooming.  I anxiously waited for the flower to open and every morning walked outside to check on it.  Then one night I happened to glance towards the Dragon Fruit tree, and it had the most beautiful big white flower.  It turns out that the Dragon Fruit tree will open its flower during the night.  I only saw it open for two nights though.  I’m not sure if it had been opening before I caught a glimpse of it.  Right above the flower was a bump where the fruit began to grow.  Every day it became larger and started ripening from a beautiful green to a bright pinkish-red.  And, every day I checked to see if it was ready to harvest.

The day finally arrived when the Dragon Fruit was ready to be picked.  It was soft to the touch, so I tucked on it a few times, and it came right off.  I rinsed it out and carved into to it.  Its rubbery red skin peeled off very quickly.  Its soft white flesh was full of tiny black seeds, and it was just as I expected – a delicious sweet taste that melts in your mouth.  It was well worth the wait.  Lucky me there were four more on the plant ready to blossom and ripen.

My little ugly-looking plant with tentacles turned out to be a beautiful Dragon Fruit tree which I am proud to own.

 

After transplanting into a larger pot.
The first bloom
Dragon Fruit in full bloom
Close up of Dragon Fruit bloom
Bloom gone, fruit bearing
Beginning stages of ripening fruit
Mid stages of ripening fruit
Fully ripened Dragon Fruit
Ready to eat!

 

How Hurricane Irma Tormented Me

 

It was Sunday, September 10, 2017. Hurricane Irma is a category 5 storm expected to hit Florida. I live in Central Florida. The expected time of impact for my area is roughly 2:00 a.m. We prepped as best as we could – plenty of water, non-perishable food plenty for a few days, batteries, flashlights, and so on. Our roof was in the beginning stages of repair so the roofer’s placed a tarp over it to avoid any further damage. We cleared the patio terrace from all furniture, plants, wind chimes and any other potential projectile as recommended. It was very calm – no birds flying or chirping.  A clear sign of what was to come. They knew to steer clear from the monster that would creep in.

Besides my family and my myself, we expected to have my mom and a friend of mine with her 4-year-old child to weather the storm at our home.  We were 8 people, two dogs and a cat. The wait was endless. We tried to make the best of it by playing board games, talking and watched some TV even though most of the television time was spent watching the news. Some of us were anxious, bored or worried.

The rain began at around midday with some wind gusts of about 40 miles. It seemed like a long day. At around 11:00 p.m. I was ready to shower and head to bed. The winds began to pick up as soon as I got into bed. Chewy, our 25-pound dachshund/chihuahua mix, was trembling with fear. I allowed him onto our bed instead of his.

I heard the winds pounding on our windows and what sounded as if either the shed, roof of the outdoor kitchen or the fence was ready to come off. It stopped for a few seconds followed by silence, which was just as terrifying as the howling wind. Irma was not happy. I tried to sleep, but as I was about to doze off I heard a text message come in. It was my sister. She was giving me her accounts of the storm. We texted back and forth for a little while when I decided that I’d prefer to wait it out in the family room. I got up and walked into the family room. The double glass doors vibrated from the winds force. I walked towards the other side of the house and knocked on the door to the bedroom where my mom was but she didn’t respond. I opened it slowly and called out to her a couple of times. She was fast asleep. I wished I had been able to sleep like that while the hurricane stirred outside. I returned to the family room and sat down for a little bit with my friend.

My husband, son and son-in-law all stepped outside the front entrance – crazy guys. Just then the power went out. It was 2:00 a.m. and just as the news anchor predicted, the winds picked up. My sister sent me another text. It seemed to be winding down in her area so she was going to try to get some sleep. I could hear the clanking of flapping roofs and the tossing around of flying debris. I could hear the flapping of the tarp on our roof. It sounded as if the roof was about to give in and fly away. I didn’t know what category the storm was by now nor the speed of the wind. I really didn’t care. I just prayed to God to spare my family, friends, neighbors and Florida from any catastrophe. I headed back to bed even though it was so hard for me to fall asleep. I dozed on and off as the wind pounded on our windows like a mad man, in this case, a mad woman wanting to come inside. She grunted, howled and pushed with all her force and no mercy. She was relentless.

It was now 3:45 a.m. I still couldn’t sleep. I grabbed my iPad and logged onto Facebook and read how my local family and friend’s status depicted their Irma experience. Like I, many were terrified of what was going on. It was surreal. In between Facebook posting I maintained communication via text with my brother and my cousin. By now my husband was oblivious of what was going on as he slept peacefully with Chewy between us trembling. I got up a couple of times and peeked out the window towards the pitch, black night torment of Irma. The last time I glanced at the time it was 4:37 a.m. Irma’s furry was still thrashing away at the windows and everything outside. I was so tired but every time I dozed off I was awakened by Irma’s winds. It finally began winding down just enough for me to get a shut-eye.

I woke up at 6:08 a.m. still tired but relieved that the hurricane had moved on. I lived in Puerto Rico until 1996 and had been in many hurricanes back then and a few here in Florida. But I don’t recall any of them being as terrifying as Irma. It was the longest night of my life.

The Spunky 5-Year-Old’s Gift

I Met A Little Boy

Every time I switch out purses, I come across my dingy old crucifix.  It’s a silver and gold colored crucifix with green gemstones, and it’s made of some sort of plastic material.  It is missing one of the gemstones.  This crucifix was given to me by a spunky 5-year-old Caucasian little boy with beautiful green eyes.  His name was Timothy.

It was the year 1981, I worked as a cake decorator in Baskin-Robins.  Timothy came in with his Mom every day and ate a French vanilla ice cream cone.  Neither Timothy nor his Mom spoke Spanish, so I would tend to them since I was fluent in English.  Timothy was not shy at all and asked all sorts of questions about ice cream.

Timothy loved the cake decorations and complimented my cake decorating skills.  He especially enjoyed the ice cream clown cones, which were nothing other than a vanilla or chocolate upside down ice cream cone with a cherry as its nose, icing as its eyes, mouth, and decoration.  His Mom didn’t buy those since Timothy liked French vanilla and I never made French vanilla ice cream cones.

One time on their usual visit, I said to him, “Wow Timothy, you are so lucky to have a Mom who brings you to get ice cream every day!”  Timothy replied, “I sure am,” while licking away on his ice cream cone and chatting as he usually did.  There was something about that little boy that made me stop what I was doing just to listen to him talk.  Whenever I was swamped, his Mom would prop him on the counter closest to my decorating area, and he’d continue to talk to me while I worked.  He always made me laugh and smile.  Timothy made me happy.

Unexpected News

I had not seen Timothy in about a week. One day, Timothy’s Mom dropped in by herself and purchased a pint of French Vanilla ice cream.  I asked her about Timothy, she responded that he was ill.  I thought maybe he had a cold or something like that and asked.  Her response left me in shock.  She said, “Timothy has cancer and doesn’t have much time to live.”  She told me that he knew but didn’t understand it too well.

She told him that he could have whatever he wanted in the world and all Timothy requested was a French vanilla ice cream cone every day until the day he went back home to God.  I was speechless and other than “I’m sorry” I didn’t know what else to say.  She smiled, thanked me and told me that most likely she would be able to bring him on Friday or Saturday if he was feeling better.

Anticipating to see him that weekend, I made a single French vanilla clown cone for Timothy and wrote his name on the clown’s hat.  It would be my little gift to him.

Friday came along and in ran Timothy with a massive smile on his face.  I could hear him yell “Hi Miss Debbie” in his sweet child voice.  I turned around from my decorating area and went to greet him.  He asked for his usual French Vanilla cone, and while he ran to the fridge where the cakes and clown cones were, I told his Mom about the clown ice cream cone I had made especially for him and asked if it were okay.

When she gave me the authorization to give it to him, I walked over to where Timothy stood and asked him if he knew how to read his name.  He responded that he did, so I motioned for him to look towards the clown cones.  When he saw his name, he got very excited and asked if it were for him.  I responded that it was and gave it to him.  I will never forget that look of happiness on his face over an ice cream clown.

The Old Dingy Crucifix

The next day, Timothy and his Mom returned.  Timothy had a gift for me.  He brought in an old worn-out, thin cake decorating ideas book and a small gift wrapped by him.  He handed me the book and gift, and I proceeded to unwrap it.  It was the crucifix.  He told me that he wanted me to have it so I would never forget him.  For the first time since I knew Timothy, tears rolled down my cheeks.  He was the sweetest little boy I had known.  I thanked him, he ate his usual French vanilla cone, and they were on their way.  That was the last time I saw Timothy.

A few months went by when his Mom dropped in by herself.  I didn’t need to ask.  I already knew that she wasn’t there to buy ice cream.  She was very sad.  She looked at me and said, “I just want to thank you for your kindness towards my son.  Timothy passed away a month ago.”

The rest of my day was a sad one.  I didn’t know Timothy that well, but he was such a delight that it was easy for anyone to feel love for him.  Remembering that the crucifix was on top of the counter where I decorated cakes along with the cake decorating booklet, I walked towards it.  I took the crucifix in my hand and vowed that I would never part from it or forget Timothy and I placed it in my purse.

So as of today, every time I switch purses, I make sure to transfer the crucifix into my new bag.  And every time I come across it memories of Timothy flood my mind. With no doubt, I will never forget him. Thank you, Timothy, may you rest in peace.  With Love Miss Debbie