ReTracing 2011

Reflection Question: Where did 2011 begin?

I feel like I’ve been talking about 2011 since it begun, so I’m trying not to talk myself out of this post before it even begins. In totality, 2011 has been a catalyst for change in my life. I was comfortable in the beginning of the year. At 25 years old, I had yet to experience true heartbreak, grief, loneliness, disappointment and feelings of worthlessness. The year begun with my Tia in her last month of life, loosing her courageous fight against what begun as colon cancer. I witnessed¬† first hand a life being depleted from a body, but was reassured in my Tia’s steadfast faith and knowledge that her body was only a temporary condition, and the spirit–eternal. In the beginning of the year I was fighting for an almost 3-year relationship that I believed would culminate in marriage. In the beginning of the year I had no idea how my publishing internships would turn into full-time work, but was holding on to the idea that writing for a living could be profitable. In the beginning of the year I learned how callous the corporate world could be, after receiving an e-mail from my boss of 5 years that I was laid off days after my Tia was laid to rest in Costa Rica. In the span of months I had lost a family member, my job, my relationship and had to physically relocate because I was living with my ex.

In the face of fight or flight– I flew. I got a one-way ticket to Costa Rica, not knowing how long I would stay or how I would pick up the pieces of my life which I clearly had no control over. Enter Globe Tracer, this blog, which was birthed out of my need to document my time in Costa Rica and lessons I learned in my recovery period, if you will. Eventually what ended up happening was those things that angered me the most– getting fired and dumped over e-mail, became those things that set things in stone for me. I know I deserved more respect than that, but how long could I stay angry at those people and expect to keep moving forward? I definitely couldn’t change what they had done, and they probably will never know how DEEP that cut me. So what could I change? To this day, I repeat this anecdote to myself on those days that unforgiveness and angering thoughts replay in my head.

Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

It’s so simple, yet, plenty of us are intoxicating ourselves daily.¬† Forgiveness is not an easy formula, a one-size-fits-all for every person and every situation. But acknowledging you need to forgive someone and taking the steps you need, at your pace, to DO it is imperative. More for you, than anyone else.¬† There is an indescrible freedom in forgiveness, if you stick with the journey. I am not at that point 100% yet, but I won’t stop until I get there…

#Godisworking,

She

ReTracing 2011

On Inspiration (In memoriam)

Recently, I learned that the word inspiration is synonymous with the word breath, more specifically to breathe-in. In medical terms, to inspire is to breath-in and to expire is to exhale. But to expire can also refer to something ceasing to be valid, or to come to an end.

The catalyst of 2011 for me has been expiration. The physical death of my Tia at the end of January was the leader of the troop. In my 26 years of life I had never experienced grief until that point, and while she was a cancer survivor for some time the rapid decline of her health (when it returned aggressively) left me shocked. I kept asking myself during her last week of life ‘Have I said everything I need to say?’ ‘Is there going to be something I regret when I think back to this time?’ Most of my energy during the decline was focused on taking the supporter role because my cousin (her only daughter) is more like my older sister.

My older sister is the type to put the air mask on anyone who’s incapable around her before herself. And now she was loosing the only person who FED her spiritually, emotionally, and who could tell her the truth without insulting her. I did everything in my power that I possibly could to be there; ran to the hospital whenever she needed to make a decision, took turns with the night shifts and even got in touch with the proper spiritual authorities when we knew that date was creeping near. One night I was in the room with my Tia while my cousin ran out to get something to eat. I noticed her nails were unkempt and she would not have that (nunca!/never) so I thought I would give her a manicure. At this point she was already on an oxygen tank and her lungs were filling with liquid, in other words she had less than a week of life left. I ran to the convenience store of the hospital and purchased a filer, nail clip and a pretty light rosy nail polish. I figured I would ask the nurse if the strong smell would disturb my auntie before I put the nail polish on. When the nurse came in the room, I asked:

Would it be a good idea to paint my auntie’s nails? She would never stand for her nails looking like this, even in a hospital.

NURSE: *pause* I don’t think so hun. We want her to be as comfortable as possible. You do realize what’s going on here?

I don’t know if it was her way of trying to say it without saying it, but I was hit with incredible sorrow when she released those words into the room. She finalized what everyone could only think or hint to. There was no coming back, this was the end.

In the weeks following January 31st, I learned what the end meant. I booked my last-minute flight to Costa Rica, since she was to be laid to rest at home. I would get out of work and proceed to making my way to the hospital, forgetting she was no longer there. I would be up late nights asking myself bizarre questions like ‘Did she realize that would be the last pedicure she would get when she was getting it ?’ and crying thinking to myself that my older sister would never be the same again. In the last weeks, my Tia also did not speak (except to shake or nod her head) when she was uncomfortable or hungry so I also would wonder to myself if she knew what was going…and if she accepted it, was bitter, was ready? These kind of thoughts plagued me, but I knew my older sister was probably having worse thoughts than I, and I tried to remember that it’s not about me!

This Monday, October 24th will have been my Tia’s 67th birthday. October marks 8 months since she’s left us. Although I would rather her be here, I know that her passing set many things in motion. Her memory inspires me to want to be remembered as she was, a community pillar and respected servant of God. At the funeral, I will never forget the man who used to wash her car crying hysterically from the back of the church.

There is irony in the end being the beginning, and my wake up call that life is too precious to stay miserable in a job, path, or with a person that is the cause of more pain than happiness. We hear it all the time, and are reminded when we hear of another death that life is short. Life is short, life is short, life is short. I’m tired of taking that lightly, of getting that short-lived boost and then going back to taking life for granted.

Does every breath INSPIRE you? Are you doing more complaining than LIVING? If so, what can you do to change that? Do you even want to?

Learning to LIVE inspired,

She Traces

In loving memory
On Inspiration (In memoriam)