Love Always Wins

Today is the first anniversary of my father’s leap of faith. Like they usually say in newspapers and such, he was surrounded by family. My sister, her boyfriend, my mom, daughter, hubby and me were all in the living room telling jokes when the moment came. I think he wanted to make sure everyone would be OK and hearing us all laughing made him feel better.

It makes me sad when I see my friends remember their loved ones. They all still carry all this pain and they all post these heart wrenching messages about how much they miss their loved ones and how long it has been. I don’t feel that way. Do I cry sometimes when I remember a particular song or something he said? Yes. Do I wish we would have had more time together? Of course. Here is the thing. He had leukemia, he was over 80 and two hospitals in two different countries decided it was a good idea to give this man radiation and chemotherapy. He was tired and it was time. He was not sure until we had a conversation a week before he died. I think that conversation made him ready.

There are a lot of good memories I can share about my dad. I have tons of pictures of him. He and I shared one similarity: we were both the last child. He knew how hard it was for me because he had lived in my shoes. I think that is why he did not want me to work so long as I studied hard and brought him good grades.  He wanted me to have the life he never d

I was a sick little girl when I was young. Ironically the same organs are giving me a hard time now. He used to tell me this story about how one time they took me to the hospital and somebody gave me the wrong dosage of tranquilizer. I can’t remember how they helped me out but apparently I almost died.

My favorite story of all? When I was a little girl, I used to shake my feet from side to side until I fell asleep. It is a nervous tic. I guess now they would call it restless leg syndrome, LOL. The thing is, he used to tell me that I would not stop shaking my feet until he came and kissed me good night. My father traveled a lot as a systems engineer and JC president and member, among other organizations. Allegedly, when he was traveling the feet would move all night. I think he was a little proud that I loved him so much that my feet would not stop moving until he got home safe. Mind you, the way he told the story, I was completely asleep, but the feet would move until I got my kiss on the forehead.

Now this is not about Alzheimer’s. It is not about leukemia. It is also not about care giving or taking care of yourself. Why did I decide to tell you all this story? We all show our grief differently. Some of us focus on the good things and the light we carry with us. Others cry. Others make things, like art work or write poetry. And by the way, every time you have to say good-bye to someone, your own reaction might be different. I don’t know what it is about the men in my family. We were six, three women, three men (counting parents). All the men are gone. I did not react the way people expect. I guess I tend to not do what people expect a lot. I just don’t feel sad about my dad. He was in pain and very ill and I would just feel very selfish if I would have asked him to stay just so I did not have to miss him. That does not make me right or you wrong. It just makes us all different. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

If you are in the process of saying good-bye to your loved one, do your thing. Do not let anyone shame you into

following a certain path. If you want to cry, scream, pout, do it. Do whatever makes you feel better, so long as you don’t hurt anyone including yourself. Forget what the grief counselors and psychologists say. You will find your own way to deal with it and there is nothing wrong with feeling sad, frustrated, happy and proud all at the same time. If you love someone and they love you, they will understand that you have to live through it your own way. NEVER APOLOGIZE FOR BEING YOU.

I leave you with a picture of my handsome dad. Have an amazing day.

My dapper dad in Spain


Last Post of the Year

My father passed away 11 months and 14 days ago. The only silver lining on his passing was that I no longer had a censor on social media. It is not that I was afraid of him as a parent. It was that I know he was set in his ways and I did not want him to worry about me. Still, there were times that I posted things that would terrify him.

Imagine my surprise when on December, his birth month, several people I know personally have started making comments on post about what I should and should not say on social media. Ironically, on my daddy’s birthday, I have something to say about this.

1) Do not expect me to conform to your way of seeing the world. The same way that you don’t want people telling you what to do, who to believe or what to believe in, I expect the same consideration. I am who I am. I don’t like using dirty words online and I have no problem saying them in public. I am overweight, overtired and smarter than average. If you don’t like me for who I am, I am sure you have plenty of people around that don’t like you either. You can always unfriend, unfollow or just forget about me. There are seven billion people in this world. I am sure I will make new friends.

2) I don’t care for what corporate America thinks. My father, my sister and most people who work in corporate America, cringe when I say something bad about a particular company. Funny how they don’t notice when I say good things about other corporations. I have a voice, I am going to use it. Most importantly, if there is any doubt around, I am a firm believer in capitalism. I believe in not shopping where I don’t care to shop. I will often criticize what I think is a mistake by any corporation in the hopes that someday they finally learn that the reason why many are going under is because they have made short-term gain a priority and if they don’t look at the long-term, they will end, just like Sports Authority, Comp USA and many others before them. I also believe that if a corporation wants to tell me how to think and what to say, then I have a right to do the same about them. For example, if I decide to go back to corporate America, I would never sign anything that says I can no longer state my opinion online. For one thing, I never post the name of the place I work for unless that chapter of my life is over. Second of all, it is nobody’s business what I have to say about anything. Third, my handle is rarely my name and there are plenty of people in the US with my name. If a CEO of a company can email his employees telling them that they should not vote for X candidate because that candidate wanted to start a universal health plan, therefore influencing his thousands of employees to vote a certain way, then I have every right to say that I don’t like X company because they don’t sell organic products. Let’s keep this straight. The days when companies were loyal to their employees are over so telling us how to think is now harder than ever. And just so we are clear. If any family member of mine is fired or asked to interfere in what I write, what I support or what I do with my life, it will be a thrill to see them in court. I have lived all my life in fear. That part of my life is over as the end is closer than the beginning and I now see that living in fear is such a waste of energy.

3) Politically correct is not the same as abusive, insulting and offensive statements. Having said that, I have never said anything offensive. I have stated my truth to the best of my abilities and for that I will never apologize. Unlike poor Steve Martin, who called Carrie Fisher beautiful and was bashed for it, I will not take anything back, especially when I am not insulting the person I am saying it to. If a third-party feels offended, they need psychological help because they should mind their own business. That does not mean that you cannot state your opinion. You have every right to say how you feel, especially when it is something that was stated publicly. Where this goes south is when people decide to bash, demean or insult the other person. We are now in a society where people confuse opinions with facts, and where we lost respect for other people’s opinions. We need to stop this before nobody can say anything because it will offend someone. And the offended people need to stop being so defensive.

4) We have created an environment where social media is only permissible for good news. If people share their engagements, marriages, children, promotions, etc. it is OK. However, when a person decides to share their struggles, their divorces, their miscarriages, cancer or any other reality of life, we are frowned upon and told that we should not share our private life. The last time I looked, marriage, children, promotions and all the other things were part of private life as well. Life is not all ice cream and chocolate. Believe me, if it was, I would be first in line. The reason why social media studies harp so much on the levels of depression generated by “social media envy” is because people are more interested in being liked than they are in being real. Where is it going to end? The saddest part of this is when you read stories of suicide victims. You have a family showing you their college kid’s profile on social media as they tell you that they had no idea that their kid was going through hell. You listen to coworkers of someone state how this person seemed so normal on Facebook and yet they were so desperate for attention they bought a gun and proceeded to shoot ten of the people they worked with. People are ashamed to tell their truth. We are scared to say when we are scared, sad, depressed, lonely or overwhelmed. We live in a society where “negative” feelings are to be avoided at all cost and medicated whenever possible. I have news for you. It is normal to be sad, it is perfectly OK to feel lonely, and there is nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed or pathetic every once in a while. Having feelings is not positive or negative, what actions we take based on those feelings can have positive or negative impact. There are people around that will not judge you if you are sad and many will love you in spite of having down days.

The reality is very simple. I know most of the critics love me. But they don’t know me. They think that, because they have been in my life for twenty, thirty or all 50 years, they know me and they know what is best for me. They are wrong. If they were right, they would know that when I tell you that I don’t want your opinion, I really don’t want your opinion. If they really knew me, they would know that at this particular point in my life, I would rather declare bankruptcy than go back to a corporate job. Nothing wrong with people who want to work at a job. Me? I feel like I gave up who I was to try to conform for twenty years, mainly to make my dad happy and help put food on the table. I’m done with that. I am now following my truth. Will it be hard? YES. The funny thing is that because I am 50, finding a job in corporate America right now would be harder than succeeding by myself, so I might as well give ME a chance.

Live your truth people. If you don’t, one day, you will meet your end and you will find yourself crying for everything you did not get to do. I have no intention of doing that.

Day 13: Slow Burn Social Media

It is an irony that the one thing that keeps me connected to what is going on in the world is also slowly burning me.  It is social media.  It is not the way you think.

Today I woke up to an HP update (yes, I still use a desktop and yes, it is an HP, don’t judge me).  This particular update created a situation where all my screens were too big, like it was for somebody with eyesight issues.  I then went to settings to bring it back to normal size with no luck.

I have a small business that I am building right now and use social media a lot.  I also like to keep family and friends updated through that method.  Well, that was not going to happen because the letters were so light that I could not read them.

I wasted the entire day working on my computer to see if I could fix it and nothing changed.  In the end, after restarting two times, I finally got to a happy medium I can live with.  I’m not happy right now.  The truth is I’m burned out and I feel this whole situation caused me to slowly burn on social media.  Oh, did I tell you my cell phone is acting funny too?

I noticed how horrible my day went and I decided I needed a break to recoup, regroup, create new content and build my business properly.  I made an announcement on FB that I was going to be unavailable for the next eight days.  I hope that is enough.  I will keep the blog going because this is an outlet to the love, frustration, learning and beauty that is our journey through Alzheimer’s.  There is so much learning to be done, so many things to be figured out and I just need a break.

I don’t know why we all feel we have to be connected 24-7.  Whether it is watching the news, uploading content, commenting on other’s content, it seems that we are not happy if we are not consuming.  We should stop this.  I think, I am going to create a rule in my house.  One day a week, I will choose to carry no devices and work on nothing social media related.  It is easy to do.  All you have to do is program posts or do it on a day like Saturday when most people don’t pay attention to social media.

I think we all need to unplug every once in a while.  What do you think?  Leave your comment below.