Tuesday, March 8, 2011

My Mother's Beauty

My mother, my rock my best friend is gone. It has been several years but it feels like a lifetime.
Death can make one feel as though the earth has stopped revolving, the stars have stopped shining and the moon has lost its glow, like life itself has ended.
As I remember her I also remember that every ending has a beginning.
I walked backwards through her life following her footprints and as I reached the beginning I was welcomed by “My Mothers Beauty”
The Beauty I had forgotten in my solitary grief.
Her Beauty reminded me that she is still very much a part of me. She is the tulips that grow in my garden for it was she who planted the bulbs that greet me each spring renewing her love for me.
Her Beauty is in my son’s laughter as I sing to him the lullabies that she sang to me, lullabies so sweet that my heart can still hear her singing.
She is with me when I cry for she taught me that tears are not a weakness but help to cleanse the soul.
Her Beauty is in the forms of my hands for they are an exact duplicate of hers, hands that hugged me and taught me to express beauty by creating the simplest things.
And as she taught me how to bake cookies, she taught me that the true Beauty was seeing the smiles of those who received the gift from your heart.
Her Beauty is in my reflection when I look in the mirror for staring back at me is all the goodness that was in her soul.
I feel her when I pray for she taught me Faith in God and to believe in Miracles and Angels.
She taught me to give the best of myself without expecting anything in return.

She is the courage that I have for she taught me by example that ones’ pain should not be an obstacle to stop you from greeting the new day with a gentle smile.
Her strength is reflected when I face the world with my head held high, on my own terms and without excuses, but mostly with love and kindness for all things.
Today I miss her as I will always, but with my heart a little lighter for I remembered to bathe in her Beauty.


Sunday, February 27, 2011

On God's Mercy

I asked God
Where are you?
Where is your mercy?
Why has thou forsaken me?

 He answered
"I am in the kiss of the wind,
In the birds song,
In the sun that caresses your face.
My mercy is in your
awakening To a new dawn,
It is in your heartbeat,
In the smile of your child.

I have not forsaken you
For my angels surround you,
I am your refuge,
I am your strength.

(Pictures Courtesy of Carlos I. Fernandez)

Friday, February 25, 2011

On My Lifes Journey

Sometimes when faced with a serious illnes one wonders about the subject of death, some find it an unpleasant topic. For me it is a thought that is constantly with me but it also has been an opportunity to take inventory, to look at myself in the mirror and reflect on wether I am comfortable with the person staring back at me.
Do I trully love her? Did I make a difference, did I spread light? Did I leave the world a better place? Did I teach my son the right lessons, Did I leave him enough values to guide him through life and did I leave him a wonderful legacy to pass on to his children?
Did I give enough love? Did I recieve enough love in return?
When people think of me will a smile tickle their face? Did I complete my Transformation and fully understand the importance of my Life's Journey? Did I stop to smell the roses along my path?

I hope that when people look back at what was my life they remember someone who was true to herself, a compassionate friend, someone who lived life to the fullest and smiled in spite of the difficulties. It is my hope that when I leave this world I have at least touched another human being and left it a better place.
There are so many little things that I hold dear to my heart but the most important things are Love of Family, Friends the memory of my Mother, my Son's laughter, Carlos smile and the knowledge that I had the ability to open up a heart, that I loved and was loved in return.
If allowed to keep something from this lifetime it would be the remembrances of these few things, for it is the simple small things that really fullfill our hearts and in the end really matter.

Photographs Courtesy of Carlos I. Fernandez

Thursday, February 17, 2011

On Dialysis

The first time I heard the word Dialysis I was 16 years old. I had gone to the doctor with flu symptoms, when I didn't get better the doctor ran tests and found that my kidneys were failing. Not one but both.
The words Dialysis, Transplantation, Fistulas and Rejection were swirling in my head and soon became part of my daily vocabulary.
My mami said "I'll give you one of mine, I will make it all better" For the first time in my life I yelled at my mother telling her I didn't want her kidney, I wanted mines to work.

And so it began my love hate relationship with a machine. It took 4 years for my kidneys to fail completely. I was 21 on an April day in 1984 when I began the process of Dialysis. I had treatments for 6 months then I recieved my first kidney transplant. A mediocre kidney the doctor called it he gave it at most 3 years. 3 1/2 years of struggles in and out of the hospital with infections and rejection episodes. Another year back on Dialysis and then another kidney transplant that lasted 12 years. I am thankful for those 12 years as I left the hospital and was in good health for the life of the kidney I was only back to the doctor for my check ups.
In May of 2001 I returned to revisit my old friend, we have been together for the last 10 years. There are days I don't want to go to the clinic, I rebel and say I am not going but in the end I pack my bag and pillow and off I go.

The toughest days are those when I go to the clinic and there is an empty chair and you know by the quiet in the waiting room that someone has passed away.
Sometimes my fistula doesn't work and I have to have repairs done to make it work again. The last arm surgery was very painful and my arm was unrecognizable.

Sometimes while the arm heals a Dialysis Catheter is placed in my chest it is uncomfortable and itches something terrible. Not the best way to have dialysis as the line goes directly into the jugular vein and infections are very common. Can't take a shower or get it wet.

I like to think of myself not as someone who is tied to Dialysis but as a person living and enjoying life who happens to go to Dialysis. The process has given me the gift of Life, precious moments with those I love, the ability to enjoy my garden, crochet and all the little things we sometimes take for granted. I am remembering to laugh loudly and smile often, to gaze at the moon when it's full, to savor every kiss as if it was my last one.
Many have told me that they could not live my life but I feel we never know what we are capable of until we come to certain crossroads in our lives. All of us have more courage and reciliency than we give ourselves credit for.
I plan to be visiting this old friend for a very long time, I know our friendship will have it's ups and down but we will see it through, after all this friend is my lifeline and my very heartbeat.

Monday, February 14, 2011

On Love

Love……such a small and powerful word. It means so many things to different people. We look for it to fulfill us, to satisfy our longings. In my life I have loved and lost, some relationships were more painful than others. As I look back I have taken the goodness from each one, the bad experiences and mistakes have served to remind me of what not to accept in my life. In loving I have learned to give my best but at the same time I have learned to never be so involved in someone that you loose your sense of self. You must put yourself first, take care of yourself and be in tune with yourself, only then can you truly give the best of yourself to someone else.

Of all the things I have learned I think the most important is that Love cannot stand alone. Love on its own is wonderful and will take you through the good times. Through the hard times Love must be surrounded by compassion, understanding, trust and compromise. It must have a foundation of all these things for these are the tools that will guide you through when the world around you seems to be falling apart.

Sometimes in life when you least expect it, you find what you were always looking for. Thank You Carlos for coming into my life, for bringing a ray of sunshine to my days, for being my lover and my best friend, for accepting the person that I am and showing me the true meaning of Love.

To My Special Butterfly:


I was lost, you found me.
I was in pain, you healed me.
I had forgotten Beauty,
You decorated my Soul.
I was in darkness,
You showed me the light,
of the Moon and the Stars.
I was broken,
You mended me
and made me whole.
I had lost Faith in Love,
You opened up my heart.
You took my hand
and walked by my side.
I am no longer afraid,
You taught me how to Fly.

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Friendship

Someone once said that "No man is an island", those words ring so true for we could not survive without the caring, compassion, touch and laughter of another human being. We as humans need to connect with others; we need to share in our triumphs as well as in our disappointments.

We need to know that there will be someone there to listen with an open heart, to hold our hand when we are unsure of ourselves, or just to laugh and smile because the sun is shining, because there are rainbows, because in spite of all the chaos and uncertainties, the hurts and the pain, life is good. Hope and Faith are everlasting.

Through out my journey I have encountered many beautiful butterflies each have touched my heart in their own unique way. Some may have listened when I needed to talk, some may have leant a shoulder when my Soul needed to cry.
Some held my hand in silence as I looked for the strength and the courage to go on. On days when life was easy some shared in the laughter and the joy. When I really needed it some gave me a gentle kick to get me going.

I thank every single one of them for being there, for caring and sharing but most of all for taking the time to stop in my little corner of the universe.

On Butterflies

Many have asked me why I love Butterflies, to me they are very symbolic there are so many lessons to be learned from them. It's metamorphosis from it's cocoon is a painful process and yet it emerges as on of God's most Beautiful creatures. They have tought me that the hard moments in life are worth while for they build character and give us courage.

Butterflies to me signify Transformation.
Before a butterfly is born,
it must spend time in a cocoon.
The process prepares it to become
a thing of Beauty.
In life the stepping stones and trials
that I have encountered are my cocoon.
They serve to strengthen me,
to help me grow,
to make me more Beautiful of Soul & Spirit
and thankful
for the Beauty that is Life.

"As The Butterfly Sheds it's cocoon,
And emerges Beautiful
With Wings of Steel,
So shall I emerge more Beautiful,
More positive and stronger
Than I have ever been"

Photography Courtesy of Carlos I. Fernandez