The Happiest Moment in My Life

I was asked to write an essay on the happiest moment of my life. I always thought that the happiest moment in my life had been the birth of my children. It was undoubtedly one of the happiest moments but I discovered that there was another instance which involved my family as well. Unfortunately, it was following a tragic moment in my life, however, it helped me find the peace that I needed.

I was blessed with three wonderful children: two sons and a daughter. On July 9, 2007, at 11:17 p.m. I received a call which no parent wants to receive. My oldest son, Richie, was involved in a pedestrian accident and didn’t survive. He was 20 years old, a sophomore in college and a good son. I was devastated, there is no pain worse than the loss of a child. I have often heard that the worst pain is giving birth. But that’s not true because that pain is immediately replaced with joy after having set eyes on our newborn. With the loss of a child, well, there are no words – nothing to replace the pain. I didn’t know where to turn, who to talk to or what to do.  For the following six months after Richie’s death, I lived in a zombie state of mind taking antidepressants every day. I didn’t want to see or talk with anyone. I became a hermit in my home hiding from my own children and husband. That was until the day of Richie’s birthday.

It was January 8, 2008. Richie would have turned 21 years old. I had requested the day off from work. I needed to be alone with my grief. My other two children were at school and work. My husband was at work as well. I slept in until about noon. I didn’t have any plans so there was no rush to get up. After showering I proceeded to the kitchen to take the antidepressants. I grabbed a cup of water and took out one of each of the pills. As I was about to pop them in my mouth I heard a soft voice very close to my left ear say, “Mom, you don’t need that.”

Those words stopped me from taking the pills. They were so clear. Somehow, I felt it was my forever 20-year-old angel in heaven who had whispered it to me and I found myself responding,  “You’re right Richie, I don’t need them.”

I threw the pills away and emptied the contents of the pill box in the trash can. On that day, I realized that I had a choice. I could live in sorrow and continue to take antidepressants for the rest of my life or I could live a great life for my son. If I were to live for Richie, I had to see the world the way he did. He didn’t worry about things he could not control. He always said there was no such thing as a coincidence. He was a very positive, outgoing person who always found the good in every bad. He wanted to live life to the fullest. That was the day I decided to make a change and I vowed to live for my son. I would do for him what he could not and I would begin by returning to college to complete what he had started. I knew he would be very proud of me. He would have wanted me to take control of my life and live. This was my opportunity to make my son proud of me like I was of him.

My first step was to attend grief counseling sessions. These sessions helped immensely allowing me to vent my frustration and cry away my sorrow without judgment. Then on February 8, 2008, I enrolled in college to complete what my son could not. This was my tribute to him. Even though my son’s major was Business Administration, I chose to major in Accounting. As a full-time student and employee, I dove into my books and was determined that I would, not only complete my degree, but I would do it with high honors. It was also therapeutic for me since it kept my mind busy. On July 2010, I completed an Associate’s Degree and graduated Suma Cum Laude. I didn’t attend graduation because my goal was not yet fulfilled. So, I enrolled again to continue towards my Bachelor’s Degree.  Finally, by July 2012, I had completed my Bachelor’s Degree.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude and I knew deep within my heart that Richie was proud of me.

It was Saturday, November 10, 2012. On this day, I would walk with my graduating class at the Orange County Convention Center. I felt so proud of myself. We arrived early, parked and proceeded to the hall where the ceremony was going to take place. We walked through the long corridor to the hall side by side. There was no one else walking by or near us. It was only my husband, youngest son, daughter and myself. I was at the far left next to the wall, my husband was at my right, my youngest son was to my husband’s right and my daughter was at my son’s right. However, there was a very strange feeling of someone else walking by me. It felt as if my son, Richie, was there with me between the wall and myself. I glanced to my left and saw nothing but I could feel him – his perfume, his big smile, his happiness, his energy – right next to me. It was such a strong feeling and it made me so happy. It accompanied me through the ceremony as well. I felt it again when I was called and walked up to receive my diploma. Richie was there right next to me. I felt it when they called out to all students who graduated Magna Cum Laude to stand up and Richie stood up with me. I knew it was him, my son. I knew that, even though he was not with us physically, he was indeed with us in Spirit. And I knew he was very proud of me.

So, when I think about what the happiest moment of my life was I know that there have been many happy moments. But this was the one moment which made me the happiest. I was happy because I achieved a goal with high honors. I was happy because I was the pride of my children and husband. I was happy because my 20-year-old angel in heaven somehow showed me that he was extremely proud of me. He also showed me that even though he is not physically here, he will always be with me in Spirit. And I was happy because the Lord showed me, once again, that the Spirit never dies just like it states in John 11:25-26; and that makes me happy.

Happy 31st Birthday in Heaven

January 8, 2018 marks 31 years since I first became a mom to a healthy 9 pounds 1 ounce baby boy. We named him after his dad and called him Richie. He was my oldest and the one who resembled me the most in thoughts, ways and looks. Richie was very curious and a good son. I was blessed with three good children and am thankful for that.

Just like I have a good relationship with my younger two children, I also had a good relationship with Richie. I say “had” because he passed away on July 9, 2007 – 10 years ago. The fact that he died so long ago doesn’t make the pain any easier. In fact, this week has been rough for me and I’ve shed plenty of tears.

I sit in my family room and look at his photos on the wall  when he was a baby until his last year alive.  I begin to remember all the wonderful moments spent with Richie and I smile. Then the thought of not having that anymore makes me sad, and it doesn’t help the pain.

I remember when we would share some of the same taste in cookies, candy and coffee. Like me, he too, liked mint Oreos, peppermint patties and Starbucks coffee. I grin at the memories of those moments until the sadness creeps in and it doesn’t help the pain.

I remember his common phrases like, “There’s no such thing as a coincidence,” “$100 is pocket change,” and “So, yeah” after he’d finished talking. I can see him in others when they say any of these and I giggle thinking of him. But, knowing I will never hear him again doesn’t help the pain.

I can see so much of him in his younger brother in gestures, actions and in appearance. It does make me happy. But at the same time, it hurts to know I will never see him spending time with his siblings, and it doesn’t help the pain.

Every year during his birthday, angelversary, and holidays, I think maybe this will be the year when I will have my last cry. And, every year I experience the same roller coaster of emotions. It doesn’t get easier, I just learned to live with it and after 10 years I realized that it will never go away. Now I understand others that have gone through this horrendous experience.

I once had a friend who lost her son from a heart attack at the age of 36. Her name was Anita. I knew Anita for a few years before she told me about her loss. It had been 14 years since her son died and her grief was so deep that she was still taking antidepressants. I know another person whose mother lost a son at the age of one year old. She told me that he would have been her older brother. It had been 41 years since his death and her mother cries every night for him. Also, within my online grief support group there were a few moms who were grieving the loss of their son/daughter. Not all of them had the strength to continue living and ended committing suicide.

I didn’t want to live on meds for depression, cry every night for the rest of my life, or ever have the thought of committing suicide, so I dealt with it differently by living for him. I thought that maybe, just maybe my grief would not last so long since I was taking a different approach. But I was wrong. It doesn’t matter how you grieve, losing a child is the worst experience I’ve ever had, and nothing can take that grief away. I now understand Anita and the other mom’s.  Anita passed away sometime last year. While it saddens me to know about her death, I know she is happy to be with her son again.

To hear these things scared me a bit. I didn’t know what to expect. Would I grow crazy in desperation trying to reach my son? Would I fall into a deep depression? Would I be able to continue living? When you lose a child, your world turns upside down. You don’t remember that you have other children, spouse, family or that there are people who love you and want to help. It takes a lot of courage and faith to lift oneself up and continue living without your loved one. It takes a lot of love from your closest family, friends and co-workers to lift one’s spirit. It cannot be compared to the loss of a parent, sibling or friend. The bond between a mother and child is one of a kind – I dare say it is the strongest bond there is.

Yes, I’ve been sad and quite emotional these past few days. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about my son. He lives forever in my heart and I’ve finally learned that it doesn’t matter how long its been, I will always miss him, love him and cry for him and that’s okay. I now know that it will only go away the day I meet him in heaven.

So, on this day, January 8, 2017, in memory of my son and in support of all those grieving the loss of a loved one; I ask that you hug your children, partner, parents and or siblings and let them know just how much you love them. Blessings to all.

Happy 31st Birthday my son. I love you and miss you so much.

~ Love Mom

2017 A Good Year For Me

Looking back at 2017, I must admit that it has been a wonderful year for us. There were some ups and downs, but who doesn’t have those? It’s part of life. The year began with a very good tax season outcome that brought me new clients. That was a plus which I didn’t even prepare for, but it was good.

It was followed by an awesome trip to Amsterdam, Bruges and Paris in which I had the pleasure to be accompanied by my husband, our daughter, my mom and my friend. Yes, I did come back with pneumonia and asthma, but I saw it as an extra 2-week “vacation” to lounge around the house while recuperating and that was good.

A couple of months later we were able to “forcibly” upgrade our bathroom. Well, we found that the culprit of the asthma that I was having was caused by the mold in our bathroom, so it had to be taken care of. Since it was already gutted, why not go ahead and redo it, right? So, with the help of my sister’s design, D&R Designs, we redesigned our bathroom and that was good.

In June I underwent a partial left knee replacement surgery. My knee had been giving me problems for a while. It began either buckling or locking this year, so it was time to do something about it. I was finally going to have a stable knee. It would no longer control me, ha! I went into surgery on June 26. It was a successful knee recovery and that was good.

However, the same wasn’t happening for my left foot. It had been swollen since the surgery. I thought it made sense since I had knee surgery on the same leg. While my knee healed, my foot continued to swell and was painful to the point where I ended up in the emergency care where x-rays were taken. The doctor said I had sprained my ankle. How? I had no clue. I was given certain instructions and an ankle brace to use for about two weeks. Two weeks went by and it just got worst.  I went back to the orthopedic group to have my ankle checked. The doctor claimed to have seen cases like mine after knee surgery. I always sensed it had to do with my knee surgery but I’m not a doctor. More x-rays were taken, and I was given a steroid shot. He told me to use compression socks, elevate my foot and ice it and he’ll see me in two weeks. It didn’t get better, it worsened. I was sent for an MRI and finally, had an answer.  I had two torn tendons on either side of my foot. I had to use a boot for six weeks and with caution because it could affect my recently operated knee. I wore my boot diligently and followed all his instructions. I even added kinesis therapy and used the kinesis tape. Six weeks went by and I began going to physical therapy. As hard and painful as it was I stuck to it until I completed all my eight sessions. I was willing to do this because I had another trip coming up in November and I wanted to be fully recovered. Therefore, I continued physical therapy at home on my own. I was finally discharged from all doctors and physical therapy and that is good.

In September I began a blog, Debbie’s Reflection. You can subscribe at  www.debbiesreflection.com. I write about my trips, grief journey, spirituality and restaurants. It’s still in its beginning stages and not fully exposed but I’ll get there. The comments received thus far have been positive and inspire me to continue blogging.

In November my husband and I took a wonderful trip to Italy (Rome, Venice and Pompeii) with the awesome company of my daughter, son and son-in-law. It was a great trip – so much fun, so much laughter. It coincided with our 33rd wedding anniversary, so we contacted the priest at Basilica San Marcos to see if we could renew our vows on November 22. I really didn’t expect anyone to respond to my email and was surprised to receive an email from Monsignor Giuseppe Camiloto letting us know that he would do it on that day at 11:30 a.m. after the service, so we did it and it was good.

Arriving in Rome and after a bit of walking, I realized that I would not be able to walk too much because my foot was still in recuperating mode. We ended up renting a vehicle to get around – not that we needed it. We were well centered in the heart of Rome with walking distance to all the major sites, but my foot couldn’t handle it and that’s okay because I didn’t want to put too much strain on it and injure it again. Even with my foot acting up I had the best time ever in Italy – best trip so far and that was good.

The year went by fast and the Christmas season was already here. Our Christmas Eve party was a wonderful one – the food, the company, the games – a great night! Today is December 31, 2017, the last day of the year. For me, it was a very good year with all the good things and the bad things. But I take those bad things as blessings that have opened up a door to improving some part of my life.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my friends for their moral support with your comments on Facebook and on my blog. Thanks to my co-workers for keeping our work environment a fun and exciting one. Thank you to my immediate family (Mom and siblings) for times spent together. Thanks to my daughter and son for being the loving, supporting children that they are. Thanks to my son-in-law for loving my daughter and being the great person, he is to us.  Special thanks to my husband for taking care of me when I was sick and disabled, for loving me unconditionally and for being there for me 100%. Most important of all, thank you Lord for all the blessings you have bestowed upon me, for always keeping me in a positive attitude, for lifting me up when my grief emotions begin to surface,  and for your love. Without you I would not have had such a wonderful year.

Yes indeed, 2017 was a good year and I know that 2018 will be better. My advice for all is to never let go of your dreams, believe in yourself, have faith, look for the positive in all the negative and have a blessed 2018. May all your dreams come true. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2018 EVERYONE!

Emotional Harp Concert

Today, I had the pleasure of seeing harpist Jan Jennings give a solo concert with her beautiful gold harp at the Morrison United Methodist Church. Jan is an award winning professional harp player in the Orlando area with more than 25 years of harp playing.  She played Silent Night, Hark, The Herald Angels Sing, Silver Bells, Winter Wonderland, I’ll Be Home for Christmas and a few others.  It sounded so peaceful and angelical. Now I see why angels are often portrayed with harps.

Jan’s golden harp

Jan’s harp was gold and stood tall on the chancel. With its golden sparkle it looked majestic – such a beautiful instrument. She spoke about the harp giving us basic information. Did you know that harps have pedals just like a piano? I didn’t know that – well, there really isn’t much I know about a harp anyway.  I also did not know that the harp is one of the oldest known instruments of all times.

Returning to the concert, it was very relaxing and quite easy to immerse myself in the music. It really hit me when she played “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” All of a sudden it was like I was seeing my forever 20-year-old angel in heaven standing next to her. Tears began streaming down my cheeks. It was overwhelming. I’ve had my son, Richie, on  my mind quite often lately. These emotions have a life of their own striking when you least expect it, especially during the holidays. But, I am grateful to the Lord for giving me the chance of experiencing his presence at the concert with such a beautiful song. And I am thankful to Jan for playing it so beautifully.

Bless be all during the holidays and every day.

Ten Years of Grieving

I know the true meaning of motherly love. I know what it is to love deeply. I know the true meaning of missing someone so bad that it hurts. I know because I experience it every day.

It’s been 10 years since my son, Richie, passed away. I know many people expect me to be over his death by now and quite frankly, I thought I’d be too. But that’s not the case. Every day I wake up with the intention of living life to the fullest for my son. Every day I thank the Lord for choosing me to be his Mom. Every day I thank the Lord for giving me good children. But every day my heart aches to hear my son’s voice again, to spend time with him and hug him. And, as the holiday’s approach it gets harder.

My children, son-in-law, husband and self.

A few weeks ago, my family and I traveled to Italy and while there, my husband and I renewed our wedding vows in the St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. It was a special place and moment. Richie loved Venice and wanted to visit the “streets of water” as he called them when he was small. But that was not meant to be. So, when our family vacation fell during the same week of our 33rd wedding anniversary, we thought it’d be a great opportunity for us to solidify what we promised 33 years ago. It was sort of a tribute from us (my husband, daughter, son and self) to my oldest son, Richie.

St. Mark’s Basilica in Venezia

It was a small service held on the same day I got married, November 22, at 11:00 a.m. Monseñor Giuseppe Camilotto performed the service and blessing. Afterwards, my children and son-in-law walked up to us. Mons. Giuseppe pointed to them and asked, “I vostri bambini?” I signaled that only two of them were and showed him my necklace with Richie’s photo and let him know that my eldest died. Monseñor placed both his hands over his chest and with deep sorrow gave us his blessings and a hug. You could see the sorrow he felt. Of course, it made me teary eyed. He then addressed those attending the service letting them know it was our 33rd wedding anniversary and that two of our three children were present and the oldest died. Everyone was very polite, showed their affection and congratulated us. We then proceeded to light a candle for Richie. It was a beautiful moment, but it didn’t stop the roller coaster of emotions from emerging.

Husband and I with Monseñor Giuseppe Camilotto.

Last night I had a dream with Richie. In my dream he was alive but missing. I desperately searched high and low to find him. I wanted to hug him, kiss him, talk with him – just spend time with my son – but I couldn’t locate him. I didn’t know where to look. Then, I had a mere glimpse of him standing up spraying water onto a car. He was thin, frail, balding and had a horrible case of acne on his forehead. He looked nothing like my son but in the dream, he was. However, I was not able to get to him. It was as if I was peeking through a hole at I don’t know what or where and that was it. Usually dreaming with my son makes me feel happy and helps me ease the pain a little but last night’s dream did not. If anything, it made the feeling of missing him worst. Yes, I know I need to think of the happy moments. But unless you’ve experienced the loss of a son/daughter you would never be able to understand these feelings. Heck, even I don’t understand them.

I’ve found that writing about my feelings and experience helps me relieve the pain for a while. If I don’t I will continue to have these tears building up and rolling down my cheeks. Could it be because the holidays are around? Maybe, but then again, a mother’s love has no limits, time or age. At least mine don’t and I don’t anticipate to stop grieving ever. If at 10 years the pain is still there and the wound in my heart has not healed, it will never heal. But all in all, I am thankful to the Lord for giving me such wonderful human beings to raise as my own and a loving husband.

Missing my son… love you so much.

Lighting a candle for Richie
Lighting a candle for Richie
Lighting a candle for Richie
Lighting a candle for Richie.

Dreams That Comfort and Are Full of Sorrow

I had a dream. It involved my husband and three children. In the dream my children were still young – about 9, 8, and 7 years old. They looked just as they did back then. Richie was just as curious and extrovert, my daughter with her big sweet cheeks and a tremendous appetite even though she was thin, and my youngest was his loving and hyper self. I don’t know what the dream was really about. All I remember was that we were happy to be together and that my husband and I enjoyed watching our children run around, play and then come running to us with big hugs and kisses.

Even though I enjoyed my dream and was happy, I realized that it was just a memory, a beautiful memory that will always live with me. My heart feels partially happy, but there is an inevitable, non-healing hole where sadness seeps through.

The part that Richie took with him when he left this world and that I know will never seal again. Whenever I enjoy a moment of happiness, it becomes bittersweet because my thoughts always turn to, “If only Richie could enjoy this,” or “ Richie would have liked that,” and sadness takes the place of the hole. I can’t patch it up because nobody will ever be able to take his place. I know my two other children and husband feel the same way.  We only have our memories to live by. While many say that I should think of the good times we spent with Richie, it doesn’t mean that those memories will make us happy because sadness will immediately follow.

I had a dream last night that brought me happiness, but in the end, it also brought me sadness. Even though it’s been more than 10 years, I realize that it doesn’t matter how long it was.  My son will always be in my heart, and I will miss him forever.

Rest in peace my son. Mom loves you.


Diary of A Grieving Mother’s Heart

by Debbie Centeno

Ten years of journaling my grief, anger, sadness, and joys now available in Kindle version and paperback on Amazon.

 

Bullying Among Adults

 

 

 

 

 

I often hear about children being bullied in school by their classmates and sometimes among siblings. I never heard about bullying among adults in the workplace. I once experienced a bullying situation among adults – more specifically – elders!  I did the bookkeeping for an elderly community some time ago. I’ll call the bullied elder, Jane. Jane was a volunteer at the elderly community. Jane was a sweet, compassionate lady in her 80’s, about 5’ tall, porcelain white skin, beautiful blue eyes and a smile that brightened the office every time she walked in.  Jane came in on a weekly basis to help the office manager (the bully which I’ll call OM) with her daily chores. OM was sometimes a sweet elder in her mid 80’s, but most of the time a scornful, perfectionist who was always looking at other’s flaws but never found any within herself.

One day, when I arrived OM was in the office with her abhorrent self.  I did not allow OM’s negative attitude to disturb my day.  Most of the time I brushed off her comments.  Every time a community elder approached the customer service window OM received them with a scornful face.  Most would look at me but all I could offer them was an apologetic smile.  Many had mentioned to me how rude and obnoxious OM was.  Other than let the board know, there was nothing I could really do.  OM treated the elders as if they were a plague and had no sympathy for anyone.  She seemed to intimidate them and no one dared to stand up for their rights.  I didn’t personally know the elders in the community but it did bother me to see OM’s treatment towards them.

However, none was as hurtful to me as the treatment towards sweet Jane.  Jane arrived at about 10:00 a.m. with her glowing smile and warm greeting.  I’m not quite sure what the issue was but OM apparently was waiting for Jane to arrive to discuss a recent “issue” of wrong doing by Jane.  Apparently, Jane mistakenly gave out wrong information and OM jumped at the opportunity to reprimand Jane.  Remember, Jane is a volunteer helping OM.  OM’s voice did not conceal the anger and frustration that she held inside because of Jane’s mistake.  Jane giggled a bit.  I could tell that her giggles were from nervousness.  Jane apologized and vowed to ask OM next time before offering any information.  But OM’s emphasis to make a point did not hear the apology or preferred not to accept the apology because she continued to accost Jane until no one else’s voice, other than hers, was heard.  No more than an hour after the first rant came the next one and all because Jane stapled the documents in the wrong spot.  OM was adamant that the documents be stapled on the top right side of the documents and the staple needed to be straight.  Jane stapled the documents on the left.  Frankly, I don’t know why Jane continued to volunteer her time to help OM.  I took the opportunity to talk to Jane and let her know that she didn’t have to tolerate such belligerent behavior from OM and encouraged her to speak up or just stop volunteering her time.  I mentioned to Jane that OM’s behavior, for me, is sort of an adult version of bullying.  I asked her if she wanted me to speak to OM about it.  Jane was so sweet that all she did was hug me and said she would be fine.

To make the story short, in the 2 ½ hours I spent there, OM tormented Jane 5 times for petty things.  Even though I tried not to let OM get to me I was already a bit upset at the attitude towards Jane.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, OM was as rude to me as she was with everyone else.  I just chose not to let it bother me – until that particular day.  Om’s constant badgering at us took a toll on me and I stooped to my lowest level.  She was surprised at my reaction and asked me why I was giving her an attitude.  I replied that I was giving her the same attitude that she had with everyone during that morning.  I let her know that she would benefit from some meditation and told her that there really was no reason for her to be so stressed out at work.  After all, it’s not like if it were a Fortune 500 company losing millions of dollars.  She just looked at me and did not reply.  I had not anticipated losing it but I did.  I then left the premises.

What compels an adult person to be so obnoxious?  It’s not an age thing.  I’ve had the privilege (and continue to) spend a lot of time among elders and more than 98% of them are as sweet as can be – at least with me they are.  I really wish that OM would take my advice and find a place that offers meditation so that she can find that sweet person within herself.  It’s no wonder her daughter’s live up north.  I pray OM to find peace and happiness in her life.  Lord knows she needs it.

A Full Body Massage

There I was waiting…waiting for Carlos to be ready. Carlos, a young, tall, thin, well-built, muscular Costa Rican male with dark, long, black hair pulled back, green eyes, and a skin so tanned that it shimmered like gold. He wore white sweat pants and a tank top shirt that contoured his well-built six-pack abs and muscles. And his low, strong, sexy voice just made it all too perfect.

As he approached me, I noticed his strong, big hands. His finger nails were short and well-groomed, yet very masculine. I sensed his eagerness to begin the session as he handed me a clear glass of white, sparkling wine. I, too, was eager to begin. The wine was succulent and felt cold against my lips as I sipped it little by little. But its sweet, delicate taste kept me wanting more. I loved it.

The atmosphere completed the scene. There was soft music that filled my ears, the dimness of the room glowed with the flickering of the candles, and the aroma of the scented candles filled the air. It was the perfect stress-free environment. The smooth wine was just the last touch to make me feel at ease – no worries at all.

Carlos signaled for me to lie down. I felt blissful. The fragrance from Carlos body was intoxicating, but it was a sweet intoxication. It, too, made me feel relaxed. He slowly poured the warm oil over my skin. I moaned softly as his fingers penetrated my skin. His soft, smooth, long fingers stroke my neck slowly, but intensely. He followed a circular motion throughout my shoulders and upper back. It felt so good – like a caress. Slowly, he continued to my lower back. Soft, gentle, circular strokes caressed every inch of my back and arms.

I moaned with delight as he reached my thighs and legs. I felt the warmth and scent of the lubricating oil on my skin. His circular strokes were tender – yet strong enough to feel the power of the effect. I did not want it to end. It was just perfect – so invigorating and refreshing. He continued towards my calves, ankles and feet. His fingers caressed each and every toe in just the right way. With his circular strokes he reached the heel of my feet. Oh, that felt so good. Every inch of my body tingled with his touch. I was in pure ecstasy and nearly falling asleep.

Then, all too soon, I felt it. It was feathery-like, yet strong enough, to jolt me up from my blissful state. The feeling of Carlos fingers massaging the arch of my feet as if he was tickling me. I just could not contain myself. Laughter disturbed the peacefulness and joy of my massage at the spa, and all too soon, it was over. Had I let Carlos know that my feet were very sensitive and ticklish, he would have not gone that far. Had he not touched my feet I would have enjoyed it just a little bit longer.

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.

My Morning Commute

During my morning commute to work, I leave my windows down – not because I want to but because my a/c broke so I don’t have a choice. I don’t mind though. I learned to take in nature and enjoy it. The smell of morning dew, the aroma of freshly mowed grass (until I approach the maintenance guy with the mower spewing the smell of gasoline), the cricket’s screech through the dense grassy areas, the bird’s early morning song and the fresh breeze that hits my face while driving on Hwy 27. I just love nature!

Every time I stopped to wait for the light to turn green, I glanced around from car to car to observe humankind. I saw a young lady putting on her lipstick, a well-suited man sipping his coffee, a couple eating their breakfast, a man that was yawning, about 6 or 7 people on their cell phones, a woman who appeared to be arguing on the phone. I wonder what upset her so badly that made her face beet red – or is she naturally a beet-red skinned person? And then there’s the “texter” texting away at the stop lights while the impatient driver behind her honks his horn 1/8 of a second after the light turns green. It’s like if he already had his hand on the horn ready to blast it. Heck, I think he honked even before the light turned green, not at me but at the “texter.”

Ah, but my favorite character is the one I saw through my rear view mirror, the young man in the green Honda erratically driving, cutting in front of everyone from one lane to the other and blasting his music. I wondered what his rush was? His desperation didn’t do much because somehow I caught up with him at the light and I didn’t even go the speed limit! I guess he likes to be the first at the stop light. The light turned green, and he accelerated just to be standing at the next light for a more extended period of time than the rest of us. Does he not realize that? Lucky him that the police officer that we passed was too busy giving out a ticket to another desperate driver.

So, I drove on observing humankind and their acts while still catching a glimpse of the erratic Honda lunatic swerving left and right, speeding through traffic blasting his music. I finally reached my left turn. Just 5 more minutes and three more stop lights and I would arrive. That was a nice drive. Then I realize that the lunatic in the green Honda has turned down his music, was in front of me, and was turning onto the Big Lots parking lot. What do you know, I didn’t even have to speed, and we arrived at His destiny at the same time. Lol! Sending lots of love, light, and peace to you my dear lunatic. Maybe we’ll meet again tomorrow.

Life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. ~Dennis P. Kimbro

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