Cheers, Dad.

There are so many things I could say, and so many things I want to say, that I don’t know where to really begin. There are a thousand thoughts running through my mind, and they all seem equally important that choosing the first thought to put into words is the hardest thing I can think of doing. Well, except for having gone through the last ten years without you. I know that you are here but you are not HERE, physically. You are around me, smiling, laughing, and trying to put a boot up my ass when I need it. You are not here, and I have struggled with this for the whole time since you left this world physically. I have resented you, I have been madder than hell. I have wanted to yell at you. I wanted to ask you so many questions about life that I never thought about as a kid. I wanted to know why you just weren’t here, anymore.

And, then, I realized that you could not be my Dad anymore here. It scared the shit out of me, honestly, because to be honest, you were the number one motivator of my life, and I could hear you coaching me through college, through getting my first job after college, and even through the boys I dated. I wanted your advice because you were the guy I wanted the approval of, I wanted your opinion because it just mattered that much. I know you would have told me over the last few years to have listened to myself because you and Mom would have taught me this. But, you weren’t here to tell me. I’m sure you’ve tried to tell me throughout the events that have happened. I wanted to hug you, when I got my house. I wanted you to come and tell me just how proud I was with a hug when I graduated college and tell me “you did it”. I wanted you to be the person who walked me down the aisle, or the guy who told me I’m proud, simply because you are my Dad and I was your little girl.

As I sit here, and I write this to you, I know you know I haven’t sent your ashes to Dawne, this part is the hardest because I know you are really, truly gone. I felt like you watched over me in my apartment when Mom moved to California, and I can’t even begin to explain the difficulties I’ve had with you being gone when it comes to wanting those lectures you used to give me. Dear old wise and pain in the ass Dad… I am SO mad you are gone. I am afraid of losing you and I can’t do it, I don’t want you to be gone from my mind and my heart.

My friends have come and gone, I’ve not liked everyone I’ve worked with, and I’ve had the pleasure of hearing your voice at times when I’ve finally had that ‘click’ moment that I know what you were talking about when I was a kid.

I’ve had happy moments, I’ve gotten Mom texting on a cellphone, and she has an iPhone no less. I wouldn’t have pictured it, but it’s true. Mom wanted to dump your ashes in the river but I wouldn’t let her, I told her you didn’t want that. She’s still her hard ass self. Dawne and I saw each other for the first time since we visited when I was 10. Keira and I talk too. My goal is to have us all in a room for a picture one day. That will be the day you shout “oh, shit!” but I think it will put a very big smile on your face.

I never know about guys. I know you gave me the run of how you thought my life should go, you know ‘finish high school, go to college, and get a job…. THEN you can worry about boys’ so far your wants for me have come true Dad, it’s a little baffling at times how on point it all has panned out. I suppose that if I listen really close that I will hear you say “I think you got it” when it comes to the guys who mean a little more than a friend to me.

I stopped playing music, except Nancy is after me to play Bells at church and you know, I think you planned that. It still is very raw, because it’s one of those things that you wanted me to do, and I liked to do and I didn’t want to fail you, you know, because you were the one I wanted approval from.

The last ten years has taught me a lot mostly that I have to depend on myself and my instincts. I have been resilient, persevered, and I have evolved. Bianca has two cute boys, who I know would have loved to know you. I just hope you watch over them, and somehow someday give them each some kind of glimpse of you. I am writing a book, slowly. I have a few pages written but mostly, I know that I want to write it because it’s how I want to remember and preserve your memory. I am so scared of letting you go that I know it’s probably keeping me in the pattern of grieving but this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life. Dad, this is not fair. You left me, but I know that to keep you here would have been probably not the best either, and that is something I have to deal with and make peace with.

I have been in therapy for the last six years, and I recently have made progress with the fear of imperfection and approval seeking habits I developed subconsciously. You picked booze over me, and it really ate at me when you got lost in the bottle. I know you saw me go through that dark time in my life last year and I know you probably really pulled the parent card somehow with the Big Guy upstairs. Somehow it all worked out that I got another chance to really make peace with some demons inside of me. I wanted to believe that you were there helping me and watching over me as my drinking habits slowly got worse and worse and I pulled myself out of it, and upward. I didn’t want to be you and use drinking as a coping mechanism, but I wanted to you to know that I am not ashamed of you, but I am proud you were my Dad. I wish you would not have used booze as the method of your escape and coping and that maybe you were less of a yeller at home, but I guess it helped to shape me into the person I am, and give me the reasons I do not do some of the things you did, and the reason I am a nice person deep down and why I care so much about those I really hold close in my life.

I don’t think there is an easy way to say good bye, but I know that one day when you and I meet again, I will have so much to say and talk about. I keep holding on to your memory so fiercely that I wish I didn’t have that as the only method of holding but I will have to “make due” with what I have. I have cried about four times since starting this ‘letter’ but I just want you to know that every time I see a dozen roses, I think of you. And the last time I saw you, which is exactly ten years from today. And, I am so beyond thankful that you told me you loved me.

I miss you Dad, more than I can say, this little letter is just a glimpse of what I hold inside. If I could have another minute, I would just hug you.

I can’t make myself say goodbye. So, I’ll just say good night, and that I love you.Image


I can totally sympathize with the child as I grew up bilingual. I think the only reason I’m fluent in Spanish is because my Mom hauled me off to Mexico every summer for two months and I was forced to speak Spanish. I was a stubborn child, and still am, so what can I really say?
Yo entiendo.

In America

Editor’s note: Rose Arce is a senior producer at CNN and a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.

By Rose Arce, CNN

(CNN) — I am sitting in the North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina ensconced in a piece of pure Americana. A CNN debate between the Republican presidential candidates is unfolding beneath a sea of cardboard red, white and blue stars and stripes.

“I favor English as the official language of government and I think that creates a continuity,” Newt Gingrich says, punching away at his opponent before a roaring crowd of Southern Republicans.

There was continuity weeks later at the CNN debate in Jacksonville, Florida, where nearly a quarter of the population is Hispanic. “I also believe that in our schools, we should teach kids in English,” Mitt Romney says to thunderous applause.

What American — Latino or not — wouldn’t applaud…

View original post 951 more words

Life: Unexpected.

I received a text from my Mom yesterday:

“Hola mara como estas tengo que darte una mala noticia tu tio Luis acaba de fallecer solo te aviso para que estes enterada no tenemos mas detalles hasta pronto love Mom”

“Hi mara, how are you, I have to give you bad news, your Uncle Luis just died, I’m letting you know, we do not have any details, talk to you soon, love Mom”

Yeah, my day went from awesome to shitty in 2. 5 seconds.

I believe in everything happening for a reason. The sole reason I went to Mexico for Christmas, for the first time in six years, was because my Tio inquired about when I was going to visit again, he was worried I had forgotten the family, in October. He and my aunt just celebrated 50 years of marriage. I decided that shortly after he said that, I was going to ask for the time off. I was shy of vacation time by 8 hours but my boss and I worked on getting me the OT I needed to take as comp time. I was bound for Mexico December 23rd, stopping at my Tia’s in Tijuana; she couldn’t believe I finally made it south of the border. We made it to Ensenada the next day for Christmas Eve; finally two days, two planes and two houses later, I was at Abuelita’s (grandma). Approximately an hour or so later, my Tio stopped by, my Abuelita is 94 years old and is pretty much senile but she is feisty. She started to cry that her boy was there, and he calmed her, took her hand, and said I’m here, it’s okay Mom.

My uncle has always been soft and nice with me, and my Mom. I was awed at his soothing skills for his mother. He came by and visited everyday I was at my Abuelita’s. I went to the ranch for Christmas Day. I was happy to be at the favorite place of my childhood. I would go horseback riding all day everyday I went. Sure enough, at breakfast my uncle told me to grab a horse. I did. I proceeded to grab this beauty.

Old Blue Eyes here proceeded to almost knock me into a watering hole at one point. This was after I had to tell him to keep moving, past the yummy, tempting lush green plants he kept bending down to eat. I rode around, it didn’t take nearly as long as it used to when I was kid. I was around the property and back at the house in 2 hours. That’s when my Uncle proceeded to tell me “subate al cerro…go to the top of the hill” I climbed down to open the barbed wire fence, meanwhile Blue Eyes started walking away but was stopped short when he got his reigns on his hoof and was essentially stuck. He just looked at me with a guilty face of “so maybe I was trying to leave you”. A short while later, I got to the top of the hill, and took this picture:

This is the view from the top of the cerro (hill) down onto my Uncle’s land/farm and house. I was planning on blowing it up, framing it, and giving it to my Uncle. Now, I still plan on giving it the rest of the family. Just kind of as a reminder of all the hard work he put in, how it paid off, and just as a fond thing.

I also decided, oddly enough, that I wanted my Uncle to walk me down the aisle since my Dad is deceased. It’s something I can’t watch at the weddings I attend without sadness and bitterness. My Father will never walk me down the aisle. His anniversary of his death is this coming Tuesday. It will mark 8 years. I wanted my Uncle to walk me down the aisle, because honestly, while my Uncle was having back issues and walking slower than normal, I knew he’d bounce back, and would at least be around to walk me down the aisle in the next five, seven years. Alas, the news of his death, was a blow to say the least. I immediately broke down at work. I’ve also been back and forth all day: happy, sad, shocked. I’m so out of my element, when my Dad died, I wasn’t like this when I was told. I was very quiet, I bottled it up. I took three and a half years to start the anger part of the grieving process.

I had a dream about horses last night. I will forever associate horses with Mexico and my Uncle. I will really miss him. He was a man of few words, and he could be downright mean uncle, but he definitely was loving. I am just super thankful I was able to see him before he passed.

I will miss you, Tio. Hasta Luego.

My Bucket List

Not really writing this with any particular thought, just more or less how things pop into my mind.

I want to keep a blog consistently
At least the that’s the idea. I want to be able to look back and see how I thought this time next year, because the world is not going to end on 12-23-2012. Sorry, world, pick a different day for the Apocalypse.

I want to give up alcohol for a year
The trick is to do it on a year that no one important is getting married. 2012 actually looks ideal but I will need a less stress job first, yes, my job drives me to drink…damn glad I like everything except cheap vodka.

I want to donate blood
I never could donate when they asked in college or work, and I have always managed an excuse, generally it was I literally had been out of the country or I didn’t weight enough or I was anemic.

I want to live in Spain or Italy and teach English
I want to do this for a year while I’m still unanchored by children, a husband, or a house. I will come back to the USA unless I meet some European and fall madly in love. Which is highly unlikely given my kind of luck.

I want to open my own cupcake shop
One day after I’ve traveled the world, I want to open my own cupcake shop, serve coffee, have lots of books and comfy couches, and decorate with my pictures I’ve taken of all the places I’ve visited.

I need to buy an urn
My Dad’s ashes are currently in my dresser, on a shelf, I need to find an urn, preferably a US Marine Corp emblazon one. It will be the temporary home until ‘see visit Montana’

Visit Montana to spread my Dad’s ashes
My Dad made sure he told me countless times he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes spread among the mountains of Montana. My Mom wanted to dump him in the river in our backyard but I yelled and now I have the ashes. I haven’t figured out when it is I’m going out to Montana to have my sister do the ashes spreading because that’s what my Dad wanted.

I want a beach house
I want my own beach bungalow, on some sandy beach. Whether its the coast of Spain or the Outer Banks, I will have the ocean as my front yard one day.

I want to get married in Napa or Mexico or Key West
I want a wedding surrounded by family and close friends. I want good food, good music, and good wine. I want memories that will last forever. I want to get married close to where a good chunk of my family lives, Mexico, the rest of my family has flown before and/or can afford it. I essentially want a big fat Mexican wedding.

I want to get a picture of me and my 3 sisters
Pretty self explanatory, we’ve never been in the same room before. I just want one picture.

I want to visit Antarctica, Africa, and Austrailia
I have two connections the would make Austrailia and Africa enjoyable but Antarctica, that’s gonna take some thought.

I want to visit Alaska and Hawaii
Mostly so I can I say I’ve been to all 50 states.

I am determined to be debt free by NYE 2012
With the exception of student loans, I plan to be free of credit cards and car payments by the end of 2012, a whole year from now.

I feel this is a sizable list, one which I will probably add onto when I think of more things but for now will do.

My Uncle’s Ranch.

My Tio Luis told me to pour myself some tequila. Not something I thought I’d ever hear come out of his mouth. My mom and I sipped tequila together, another first. I should also mention that my grandma said as I poured

that’s not a shot…

yes, Abuelita…

Let me go back and start with how this morning started, Christmas morning…I woke up at 7, first time I’ve slept past 430 in 3 or 4 days. I’m the first to really get moving, which is odd. after mom gets moving and making tea, I told her I was getting in the shower…

no hay agua caliente, the hot water heater is broken.

yes, that’s my luck, the latest example of Murphy’s law come true in my life.

I guess I have to use the bucket… Here I thought I was gonna have 5 star accommodations (sarcasm)

My mother’s response:

welcome to Mexico.