Strong female role models, warriors and survivors in honor of mom's 6th year passing anniversary...
Where to start...this one is going to be very up-close, personal and emotional. It is coming from the deepest emotions I hold on to that keeps me going. *There will be anger, gory details, joy, pride and inspirations so please bear with me. I promise you there is a happily ever after!
I also want to share a bit about the inspiration behind my next design to honor those strong female role models, warriors and survivors that I want to dedicate the new design to. It is going to be a long blog, but I ask you to please bear with me, my ranting writing and read all the way to the end...it is very much worth every typo you will find! ;^)
Mom's short story;
January 19th marks the 6th year anniversary of my mom passing away due to cancer and other complications. My mom was a strong female, a role model for many, a warrior and a survivor. She married young (at 18 years old if I'm correct). She gave up her career dream to become a hairdresser to raise 2 step children and 4 of her own, while our dead-beat dad was cheating, embezzling and drinking his way to the top...or more like underground. She tried to keep the house together while we run amok. She did it with a gentle smile and fearful wooden spoon boomerang that could reached into any nook or cranny you were hiding in to smack you back in time. She tried to make ends means any way she could because...you know that "dead-beat dad who wasn't coughing out what he needed to, but was blowing all of his money on women, new Cadillacs every year and booze" minor problem. So, while she was trying to keep up with everyone's school schedules, camping trips, band practice - all while making stunning wedding cakes or amazing pasteles (Puerto Rican tamales) to sell for little extra money. She was an incredible cook! She could rock the kitchen any day, especially for her huge high school class reunions. Once the fairy tale love story finally hit bottom she filed for divorce...it took her years to build up the courage to do it (and a lot of fear inflicted on her from many years of emotional, mental and physical abuse). During the divorce process, there was abuse, intimidation and gun pointed treats. It went as far as getting forced to sign over property titles in fear for her life and ours. But it didn't stop there. One afternoon after a divorce hearing, while walking out of the courthouse in the middle of downtown Mayaguez, PR, our dead-beat dad unloaded that same gun on her striking her once in the head, chest, and both arms. A whole bullet remained lodged by her heart and the remaining pieces of the one that struck the left arm then wedge itself by the lung were left inside her. She wasn't supposed to survive. The other bullet that hit her head broke her skull, exposing her brain and causing a lot of neurological damage. Every doctor said she would never recover or walk and would be a vegetable even if she were to make it...ohhhh no, not my mom! Boy, they were so wrong! I remember walking down the hospital hallway coming close to her room and hearing her screaming at the nurse that she hadn't cleaned enough to her standards...it was at that moment when I knew she was going to be ok (Oh, If anyone is wondering about "dead-beat dad", he shot himself on the spot like he always said he would finally ending all of our misery...I still have a lot of anger towards him, his memories and just about anything related to him for many reasons but I'll leave that story for a different blog...although I probably will never find anything inspiring of it to write about). It took her years to recover and regain her mobility. But she did it! She started to walk a few steps around and was no longer permanently wheelchair bound. However tragedy struck our already shatter family once again. This time, taking away her son (one of my brothers) and breaking her heart completely. She was never able to recover from this tragedy. She was able to cope with it and continued her every day to day life. But she was never the same with us after that. She became very protective. Her fear of losing another children made it overwhelming for us at times. Many years went by after without any more "major" tragedies. She aged well with a natural jet-black head full of hair, a smile on her face, and her cooking pots full of delicious meals. We grew older, moved away, traveled and returned a few times. A little over 6 years ago everything changed with her health. She started to show signs of cancer and having other complications. And as any good stubborn woman would do she refused to go get checked (I take after her on that!)...she said she was done, she was tired, and had started to make peace with herself and was leaving it all in god’s hands. One day things went really bad and my brother whom had relocated back home to care for her took her to the hospital...during that exam they found some sort of stage 4 cancer that had already metastasized around her abdomen area. Doctors performed an emergency full hysterectomy, but she was never able to recover. She spent the rest of the month in the hospital. And on January 19th, she passed away.
She remained strong and always reminded me to never depend on any man. To always be strong and independent. To always protect myself from those who want to take advantage of good. To do what makes me happy. And of all to always be true to myself. She taught me to appreciate life, even the smallest details, and she share everything. She always said "If there is enough for one there is enough for two to share". She taught me to offer help from the heart without expectation or not to offer the help at all. She always had an open-door policy and welcomed all. She cared and suffer for everyone around her and for those for whom she had never even met...she was my inspiration because she always told me she was living through my eyes. She was my biggest supporter. She pushed me to do more, enjoy more and to live more. She was always thrilled and yet terrified to know what new adventures I had gotten into...6 years have gone by since I last heard her voice and I wish I could share with her so many things. But her words and lessons I will carry forever and will continue to apply them on my everyday life.
Which brings me to the next part of this dedication...while I do want to honor all strong females who have in one way or another inspired me, I know that mom would be so happy and proud of one strong young lady specifically. This young lady and my mom share so much in common with their will to survive, imagination and love of life. It would be unacceptable to not consider her along with mom on this..plus she is mom's goddaughter's daughter (we shall call her mom's niece) and how cool is it to have multiple warrior survivors of this caliber within one family...really!
This is Anilu's amazing story;
Anilú is a bright, curious and imaginative 9-year-old girl who has autism. During 2014 Anilú was diagnosed with leukemia and commenced treatment at Phoenix Children’s Hospital in Arizona.
Through Anilú’s eyes, many facets of hospital were intimidating. Over time, she transformed the hospital environment into a more friendly and welcoming place. Using her fantastic imagination, Anilu’s hospital became a “magic fort,” her doctors became “wizards with coats and potions,” and common medical instrumentation (including I.V. carts and dialysis machines) took on characters of their own. Anilú even imagined herself as a Super Warrior Princess, engaged in a battle against the “poopy cells” that invaded her body. This process dramatically changed Anilú’s hospital experience for the better!
Using Anilú’s ideas as her inspiration, Anilú’s mother (Alma) designed some simple patterns to help bring Anilú’s imaginary characters and vision to life. The patterns form covers for rolling I.V. machines. Once sterile and intimidating, the covers now have an inviting and fun personality!
Now can you all see what I mean?! Isn't she amazing and inspirational?!
In Mom's honor and all strong female warriors, I will be donating 10% of all sales starting January 19th until February 19th to Anilu's program to purchase more supplies to create more I.V. covers to provide for more little warriors fighting their battles against poopy cells and cancer.
So please if you are still reading which I reaaaallllyyyy hope you are, share my site, check out the new design and help me help Anilu's idea grow!
"Soul Anchor" design;
The new design is sketched out of an early 1900's anchor pendant that was gifted to mom on her 15th birthday by her godmother and was later passed on to me on my 15th birthday. It is a beautiful piece of jewelry with such delicate details that will make you awe if you were looking at it under a magnifying glass. It is strong built and yet delicate like mom. The anchor’s meaning (could not be any more direct to what mom tried to give me all my life); No matter if you have sea legs or not, you can appreciate the deeper meaning of the anchor symbol - security, stability, and being grounded. It is a symbol demonstrating that a person is in tune with themselves and hold on to the values they believe in.
Until my next blog and new designs...love, protect and acknowledge your strong females, cherish them and encourage them to continue to inspire you. Help support cancer research and spousal abuse prevention. The #MeToo movement just like Cancer affects all of us regardless of race, background, or society level...don't swipe the dirt under rug to cover up their actions!