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Showing posts from 2016

Cry If You Want To

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"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."

When you think about someone that has passed, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Is it their smile, their gaze, the way they made you feel about yourself?  What was it about that person that left your insides gutted?

Since my mother passed, I have heard a lot about making sure that I stay strong. Stay strong for your husband. Stay strong for your kids. Stay strong for your father. Stay. Strong.

What does that even mean? Truly, what does it mean? I am a person that feels a lot of things and I manage to handle my emotions in a productive way. My mom's death has not allowed me to do that. I cry at the drop of a hat if I even attempt to speak about her. And I ask myself, "Why can't I speak about her without crying a river? And why d…

The Holidays without Mom

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Thanksgiving without my mother was rough. I thought that I was okay but I've been getting flashbacks since her 6th month mark. When I let my mind go, I see her face flashing in my mind and in everything I see.

In honor of her we set up her table as it would have looked had she still been here. And since she wasn't, we had to settle on a photograph and a candle that will burn only on special occasions.


I began the day preparing the food for my family as well as crying all day. Little bursts of sadness throughout, from start to finish.  I went to visit her resting place to break down more than ever.

Thanksgiving was a solemn day for me as I reflected on all of my memories of her. She was my treasure in life and now my angel in the Heavens.

My favorite Thanksgiving memory was this one:

On Thanksgiving Eve many moons ago, in the living room of my childhood home, I sat reading as my mother prepared for the next day. The turkey, that had yet to be seasoned, was being used as a danci…

A Year of Firsts

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When someone you love passes away, the first year is always the hardest. The holiday season can bring about such emotional turmoil that many of us that have lost someone are not able to handle it. I am no different.

My Year of Firsts began with Father's Day. I always remember being able to call my mother to ask her for the hundredth time, "What should I get Papi for Father's Day?"  This year, I had no one to ask.

Chloe graduated from Kindergarten and my mother did not see the pictures of the celebration.

Daniel turned 8 and she wasn't the first one to call him to wish him a happy birthday.

Adriana even started menstruating and I couldn't call my mother to express the horror that my 10 year old was ascending into womanhood so early.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. THE first Thanksgiving without her and the reality is taking a toll on me. It started just last week, at her 6th month mark. Migraines, sleeplessness, exhaustion. Reality just keeps hitting me over and ove…

The Ring

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Here I sit alone on a dusty dresser, my owner gone from sight. She wears me faithfully to show the world her loyalty and love for her husband and the dedication for her children. I do not know where she would have gone. It seems like an eternity since she has held me. 

We are inseparable.

Sometimes she takes me off when I get in the way. When she calls it a night, she lies me down carefully, linked in her watch, until it is time for us to begin our day again. I am always close by, never too far from sight.

The places I have been with her! 

Memories of the road trips we have shared. 

Visiting her children in different states. 

Our final move to this house. 

The day we were first introduced.  

The feelings of love, immeasurable. So many stories and so many good times. 

As the years wore on, she was a bit more low key and did not travel as much. We mostly went to church or shopping with the man she loved. 

My favorite times with her are when we were alone and she sits to reflect on her life when i…

My Road to Healing My Grieving Heart

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Many of us have to find our own path toward healing that doesn't involve anyone else. Since the way we all grieve is personal to our own story, we have to go our own way to find inner peace. By no means will the grieving period end because your love for that person is real. Grieving IS forever. But yesterday someone who is grieving the loss of her husband told me, "You can't fall apart but you can cry." 

And that's what has been happening to me. I have been holding in all of my pain, all of my tears, and not allowing myself to grieve my mother openly. Granted, here, I grieve her. On my social media pages, I grieve her. But when it comes to saying the words out loud and speaking my reality into existence, I cannot find the words.

I noticed myself turning to anger and outbursts instead of turning to comfort. I'm definitely not ready to reach out to family and friends, my current situation doesn't allow me to be so raw and vulnerable in person. In that regards…

McCarton Foundation Bronx Early Intervention Center

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I am reposting a blog post I wrote in November of 2015 when I attended the McCarton Gala that was for the purpose of raising money for its Bronx Early Intervention Center.  Please consider donating to the McMarton Foundation. It is an important cause that is near and dear to my heart. The Bronx is struggling and so are its special needs children. The donation can be as low as $5, no amount is too small.

Blog post:  http://autismandthreelittlebears.blogspot.com/2015/11/on-november-19-2015-my-husband-danny.html

Thank you to those that have already donated.

This is the donation link: https://www.classy.org/fundraiser/821500




Tired and Angry

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When someone that knows me well asks me how I'm doing, I immediately feel the frog in my throat. I know what they mean when they are asking me that. What they are really asking is, "How are you coping since your mother died?"

I don't like to speak about her or think about her too much. Like with most things that upset me, I try to shove her memory way, way down in my heart where my love for her and my missing her won't hurt me as much.

That's how I am coping.

I can now bring myself to see her picture or watch videos of her but I'm beginning to feel disconnected, like I don't know her. I wonder, "Who was she, really? What is she thinking about in those moments captured by her pictures? In those videos?" In almost everything, she's smiling or laughing just as I will always remember. But that is not my mother anymore. My real mother is gone.

I am so tired of crying and the ache in my heart is holding me still. I don't want to be like th…

My love and my laughter, from here ever after

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"Grief wasn't done with me. It leaves me when it's done."
~Queen Sugar, TV Show on OWN

How raw can grief get when you are ready to say, "enough is enough" and you begin living again?

It is so incredibly hard to get to that place. Between the memories and the dreams, I just can't move forward from my grief yet. When I write in my journal to my mother, I always ask her to help me forget her. I know it sounds cruel but the cruelty comes from the cycle of life and death than from the words I write on paper.

Do you know how difficult it is to hear your father say to you, "Why did they take my wife?" How am I supposed to help him heal from that? What should my response be? I know his is a rhetorical question but it is a valid one. Why was she taken?

We can bring in all the explanations in the world and none of it can satisfy my need to know the answer to the looming question that takes over my mind on a day to day basis and to the thought that...

Sh…

Autism and the Dreaded Playground

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I hate the playground. 

Am I wrong for saying that? I mean, I really do hate it there. Nothing puts an already anxious autism mom over the edge than hearing your child or partner say, "Let's go to the playground."

Sure, it is highly recommended because it provides:
 Exercise for your child! Making new friends and socializing! Helping with the overall performance in school!Fresh air! It's good for the soul!
But I hate taking my kids there. My anxiety, which has tripled since the diagnosis, kicks in every time.
How many people will there be? How will the other children react to the kids? How will the adults react to them?What if one of them has a meltdown? Or both of them? Or all of them?What if I can't control them?What if I lose my cool?Ack! People!
Public outings always have a potential for high stress levels for parents. Malls, dining out, movies are on a different level though. You and your children don't necessarily have to interact with other people. Those out…

5 Months Later

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"It'll get harder before it gets easier."

That's what my cousin Lissette said to me about losing my mother. But I wish I knew when it would get easier because so far, easier hasn't even shown a glimmer of itself. Some days I feel like I'm in the same space as the first day I found out my mother was gone. I may not cry as much on the outside but on the inside, I'm rupturing. When I hone in on what I'm feeling, it stings my heart. Here I am 5 months later feeling as heartbroken as that day. I just want to be rid of it already.

Some days I wished I wasn't so close to her, that I didn't love her as much as I did. I could move on from not having that loving relationship. I wouldn't miss her. But I went from knowing her every move from the day I was born, and to then not having her around anymore. That reality is unbearable.

I always hated being the youngest. I knew the day would come when I'd have to say goodbye to my parents forever and I'…

Clarita the Woman

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Once you become a family woman, some of us tend to put our needs on hold.  It becomes about building a home, being there unconditionally for your partner and taking care of your family.

Then the children arrive and we can lose ourselves. Taking care of the home becomes our main priority and then, if we are not careful, we become a shadow of the woman we once were. That part of us can go away so swiftly that she may become just a memory. And as the years pass, the woman of our yesteryear's is gone. We are alone, rundown and we begin to feel unappreciated.

When I sit and think about all that my mother did for us, I feel like I should have done more for her. Given her more and realized that as her child, it shouldn't have been all about my needs. But mothers do not lean on their children for strength and guidance. Mothers are the bridges, the chains, the glue that holds everything together. Mothers are the caregivers. We, as mothers, put on a brave face. We, as wives, build a fou…

Stages of Grief

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Grief is supposed to come in stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. The thought that after five stages I'll be done with my grief and be good to go is so unrealistic to me.These stages come for me within the same day, the same hour, the same minute.  And when I am going through these stages it seems that some other stages should be recognized.

FEAR

How will your new life be without the one you love? Celebrations and holidays will pass and my mother is not here to celebrate, those are the times when it will be the hardest. Daniel turning 8, Father's Day, her 78th Birthday, Chloe turning 6 and so on and so on. There are so many more celebrations to come for the rest of my days here on this earth. I am dreading the holiday season. She enjoyed celebrating beginning with Halloween. She'd tell me how she would sit outside handing out candy or be ready inside with her bowl waiting for the doorbell to ring. And now what?

ABANDONMENT

So now, in my mind, I am all …

A Candid Side of Me

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She is my first thought in the morning and my last thought at night.  She visits me in my dreams and is the reason why I drift off during the day.

When I was younger and up until it happened, I always had the fear of one of my parents passing away. Sometimes I would dream of it. When I dreamt it, I'd immediately wake up crying and run to check on them or call them to make sure that they were still here. My mother would say, "!Ay Dios mio! No digas eso!" Now I am living my worst nightmare.

When she first passed I thought of ways to get through it. I had many people extend themselves to me but with a loss this great, no one could save me from my grief. And I could save no one else. I had to save myself. I am still trying to save myself.

I started my journal of her and in reading back in the first few days of her death, I don't know how I am still standing. It has to be her power or her teachings that still have me here because it is most certainly not my own will. I wa…

A Memory

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I can bring tears to your eyes; resurrect the dead, make you smile, and reverse time.  I form in an instant but I last a life time. What am I?
If you were to ask me to live in this moment, you would see that my moment is dark and dreary.  It's very lonely in my space even though many people are here with me too.  In my heart, however, I feel alone in this process and it has been taxing.  But as is life, the way to heal is to move forward. Supposedly. My pep talk to myself every morning is, "You can do this." Every morning.
How can you live in your mother's house? How can you see her things? How can you cook in her kitchen? "You can do this."
How can you wake up every morning? How do you not cry for her all day? How can you live? "You can do this. You can live this day. You got this."
"You got this. You got this. You got this."
"I can't. I'm breaking down."
"You got this. You got this. You got this."
"I can't…

A Therapist's Advice

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The saddest thing my father has told me since my mother died was, "She was waiting for you."

Me and my mom in my christening outfit

In March of this year, Danny and I found out that the owner of the house we rented was putting the house up for sale.  And given New York's surging rent prices, it was proving difficult to find a place to live that was suitable for the kids as well as near to their current schools.  When I gave my mother the news, her response to me was, "Move over here."  

That was my mother's solutions for all my financial woes, "Live with us."  But given that services for special needs children are scarce from state to state, my biggest fear was losing their services in New York and the kids being stuck in a school environment that would not address and stimulate their needs.

Little that I know that the choice to move to Florida would be made for me.

We all know losing a mother is tough. All the things that could have been flash before …

An Autism Pause

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Why a pause? Because I am affected by something else that is greater than the way I feel towards autism.
My thoughts are consumed by the greatest loss of my life, the death of my mother.  Autism ties into my relationship with her, but for now, I'll be weaving in and out of it.  For right now, without her, there is no me.


In memory of
My mom was a funny petite little person wrapped up in your average traditional version of what a Latin mother is supposed to represent.  She loved her family, she liked a clean home, she loved to cook for her family, and she loved to garden. And April Fools. Seriously. Same joke every year. For years.
I see her legacy in the flowers and trees she planted. It was her biggest accomplishment to date, so personal and so therapeutic for her. When I see all she has done in her garden, it is hard to believe that she created such beauty with her bare hands. Pictures can never do it justice. It is a sight to behold. Many times when we spoke, she would be in her ga…

Happy 6th Birthday Chloe!

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Today we celebrate Chloe's 6th birthday. When I think of all she has accomplished since her autism diagnosis, I am astounded.

Chloe, age 6
When she was diagnosed in 2012, I knew it was coming. She shared a lot of the same behaviors Daniel exhibited at that age, so I wasn't surprised at all. 

For Chloe, I was more in the know of how to parent a child on the spectrum since I was already an autism parent to Daniel.  And although the diagnosis was not a surprise, it still saddened me to be raising another child with a disability. It pretty much sucked. 

What I want for them is that idyllic life where they can work for their opportunities and actually have a shot at a fruitful life. Go to college, get married, travel. A someday that my son will say to me, "Hey mom," or, "I love you mom." A day when someone will stop claiming to know all about autism because..., "I've seen a show," or "What's Daniel's specialty?" "He still can'…