I carry your light

Dear Lari,

Today, you would have been celebrating your 49th birthday.

Young Lari

I always thought you would outlive me, even with you being older than me. Giving the longevity on your family’s side, I thought that was for sure. I know you probably thought the same.

I guess the joke is on us.

So here we are. I am here and you are in a different realm.

You were always a guiding light in my life. So, today, and every day, I will continue to honor your light by being light in my own life and that of other people.

Young Lari and Husband - Circa 1995

I am not saying I am turning in to Mother Theresa or some other saint. Tampoco, Lari. No exageremos. I might just be nice and kind an hour a day. That’s it.

Kidding, aside you know what I mean. I carry your light around me all the time.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I chose to be light and a positive force. In many ways, I am still trying to figure out how that looks for me in its entirety, but I am marching forward with falls and all.

So, today, I will laugh, cry and enjoy whatever moments life brings.

I miss you and celebrate your light, kindness, playfulness, directness, honesty, laughter, love, energy and your beautiful soul.

Lari wearing pink for hope 2011

Will forever love you.

[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]
By E. E. Cummings

I carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go,my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Happy Friday

I am feeling elated.

I attribute that feeling to small but big every-day life occurrences.

Like having a productive week rolling out proposals; meeting and interacting with new, cool, interesting people; catching up with friends, face-to-face and over the phone over the last few days; or receiving a call from my kid just when I was thinking of him in which he just told me about the great, busy day he had….

Small but big everyday occurrences, you know?

I am grateful for all the people in my network (new and old friends) for contributing to my nurturing/healing/happiness/inspiration/creativity.

The feeling might not last as all is fleeting in life but I am basking in the glow of the moment.

I send my love, gratitude and positive vibes to you, my friend. I wish for happiness, love, joy, health and big and small stuff to fill you with spiritual, physical, and mental buoyancy.

Happy Friday!




Remembering – A Year has Passed

Dear Lari,
A year has passed since you left this realm. The months have passed too fast. Some of them are now a blur. But a lot has happened in those 12 months.
The kiddo and I took an amazing trip to Colombia. I finally got to see my brother after 12 years or so. I know that’s something you wanted to have happened. The kiddo went to your native land for like two weeks. What’ else?
Our son graduated high school and is now on his second week of college. A lot, for sure. I do wonder what you and I would be doing around this time as empty nesters. I wonder a lot about such things.
How would life have been if you never got ill? The last four years have been such a trial and challenging journey, shaping who I am today and who knows how it has shaped our kiddo. You and I were never ones to dwell on the past or the ifs of life. The only path is forward without looking back.
I look at our kid and it fills me with joy to see the person he is. He is a resilient and tenacious young-man. He has such a welcoming an opening heart. I don’t think we have to worry too much about his path in life. Like all of us, he might stumble but he seems to have a good head on his shoulder. I am so incredibly proud of him. You would have loved the recent story he shared with me.
He wanted to drop one of his classes and add a music one instead. So, he had been looking at two options. I can’t remember the specific classes but let’s call them A and B. In the process, he decided that he was going to contact the professor for class B and forget about A after already getting ready to email that professor. He set out to find the professor for class B instead, going to the music department and even talking to the head of it. The head of the department was not encouraging and reluctantly gave him the contact for that professor.
Immediately after that, he set out to go back to his dorm only to get caught by heavy rain. He decided to find shelter at the nearest building. While hunkering down, he started hearing the sounds of a piano being played somewhere inside of this random building. The sound of the music led him to a room where an older gentleman was playing what our kiddo describes as just an amazing piece of music. He clapped after the playing had stopped and approached the man at the piano. Turned out the guy was the professor for class A, the first class he had originally intended to take. The professor signed him up on the spot for the class.
I can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing our kiddo tell me this and other similar stories of his experience thus far in these last two weeks.
As he moves forwards finding himself and forging his own path, I am too doing the same. Basically, hon, I am taking it one day at a time without much planning. I am letting serendipity and life take me where it takes me as I explore different hobbies and activities. I am keeping as active and open to life as much as possible.
I wish you and I were on this path together exploring, traveling and trying new experiences. I miss you, but I know you are there with me helping, guiding and enjoying the journey.
Your energy is always with me. I sense you roaming the cosmos, smiling upon us and experiencing your own journey beyond anything imaginable.
This doesn’t mean your absence doesn’t pain me. It does, beyond words. Today, especially, sweetie. I don’t know how many times I have shed tears today. They just come in waves. At the Zumba Class Maria dedicated today for you, I have to tell you that hearing some of those songs brought both joy in me and tears to my eyes. I could picture you dancing all over the room, going around saying hello to people and encouraging the newbies.
Maybe I need these tears today. I don’t know. All I can say right now is how grateful I am to have been able to share a lifetime with you. Grateful for the love you gave me. I am grateful for the experiences we shared. I am grateful for our son. I am grateful for life having you put me on my path. You made me a better person.
I miss you and will forever love you.

The Silence and Void Remain

All leads back to you, sweetie.

Ambient noise, new and old songs, sights, surrounding sounds, memories, places, random happenings. All bring me back to you.

The need to cry or the uncontrollable emotions that would bring me to my knees are no longer a stronghold. Still, the void, the empty space, remain.

No matter how busy I keep with projects around the house and with work, the unavoidable silence and void cannot be filled. The only consolation of being occupied is not having the time to pause to contemplate or get stuck on that black hole of a space.

Nothing can replace your laughter, our conversations, your advice, your touch, your smell, your presence, our being together in a room without taking. The silence, the void, remain.

Please, don’t think that this means I am always brooding and devoid of happiness. I laugh, enjoy the moments that life offers, and, for the most part, I feel okay. Our son is a big part of my happiness. He is great. I love that kid. Can you believe that he did a performance at the school today!? I know. I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Also, I can’t believe he will soon be graduating from high school and going off to college in the fall. How crazy is that? I still remember the day he was born as if it was yesterday. Oh god. How I wish things were so different. How I wish you could be there for his high school graduation, seeing him with his cap and gown…

I can hear you saying, “Juan Manuel, y que vas hacer ahora solo?” I too ask myself that question and I don’t have a satisfactory answer. I have no clue what I will do when he is finally all settled in school.

I know you had strong feelings encouraging me to find a girlfriend or a companion, but I don’t think I am ready for that, yet. Physically perhaps, but mentally and emotionally, I am not ready. You would laugh if I told you that I’ve downloaded dating apps; the whole thing overwhelms me, to be honest. For now, my dating app profile will remain as Jon, King of the North — it’s a Game of Thrones things, sweetie.

I don’t know, hon. Perhaps I will travel on my own and take on and explore old and new hobbies. All I know is that no matter what I will do, the silence and void will remain.

I miss you and love you

Just a thought

Five months today since then.

I have this thought that all I need to do is search in the most remote parts of the world….

..I imagine running on cobbled streets somewhere in a hidden corner of the world, traveling to a place no one has ever heard before, unearthing every unturned stone..running through the heat of the desert faster than the fastest vehicle to break the matrix of reality into another realm….and there she will be waiting for me for another kiss, another embrace, another smile….

Five months have passed. I am still searching, still running, still waiting…

I know. I know. It’s just a thought.

capri, 9-17-07 018

A moment

Venting Monday: I get asked a lot how I am coping. Honestly, for the most part, I am doing okay. Sometimes – thank goodness not frequent – I struggle to keep my sh!t together. Dealing with people or circumstances at those times is a struggle.

At those times, I really don’t want to hear any cliche statement or advice. Unless you have gone through a similar experience, please don’t say anything. I know folks mean well but hearing that “time heals,” “she is at peace now,” or that “she is always with you” do not comfort me.

Sure, there is truth to those statements. I have experienced loss before – my parents, friends and distant relatives.

But, this pain, this pain right here that I am experiencing is different from all other past experiences. So, I would much rather prefer a hug and a smile than words that do not bring me solace.

I don’t mean to be ungrateful. I am not.

Just sometimes, those statements make me feel worst. I am just venting.

Nothing personal. I am just having a freaking moment where I am lost in the fog.

brown mountain view

Nothing is the Same


The vicissitudes of life remain the same. The daily routines continue, the must dues remain – bills, appointments, work deadlines, household errands – and the sun and moon continue their ever presence. Nothing has changed. Yet, everything is different.

Sure, things haven’t been the same for the past three years, beginning when my wife was first diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer in September of 2015. Still, we tackled and wrestled with the change together. We carried each other throughout the journey. Now that she is gone, all is not the same. Her passing has altered my entire universe, leaving a void in my heart.

JM and Lari

I am indeed grateful to have the support of family, a wonderful network of friends and incredible people that my wife left behind for me to tap into, but I do stand alone now. I no longer have my partner to discuss decisions, share news, laugh together or just talk about this and that.

The mornings, evenings, hours, days are just not the same. I am not the same. I am more sympathetic to people, but less patient for self-pity and for people dwelling on the small stuff. If my tolerance for that was low already, it’s even more so now.

I am calmed and find comfort at knowing that she is no longer is suffering. Yet, I feel a wave of anger festering inside me – anger that she is no longer here; anger for not anticipating things; anger towards the disease that took her; anger at the things we didn’t get a chance to do together; anger at her for not telling me what do with all her stuff; anger for just wanting to live a normal life; anger at my own anger; and just anger towards the unfairness of the world for giving me these cards to deal with.

I miss her, terribly! I hate not being able to see, touch, kiss or hear her. She is gone forever from this world, a fact I am still trying to grapple with two months later. Yes, she is constantly with me in my heart, mind, and soul. I do feel her presence, but it’s not the same. She was a whole of me and now that’s gone.

Rationally, I know others in the universe have it worse than me, but I am entitled to my anger. A line from “Fight Club” comes to mind: “I felt like destroying something beautiful.” Well, sometimes I feel like punching a wall, taking a bat and breaking glass bottles or a nice car… destroying something beautiful.

No need to worry, though. Not that I would. Instead, I am taking that energy of anger and putting it into focusing at work, lifting weights, jumping rope, journaling, practicing yoga and tackling and creating projects for myself. Instead of destroying something beautiful I rather create something beautiful.

If I don’t have the patience for self-pity, I don’t tolerate my own. As I said, I am less patient for many things now. I need to be proactive rather than destructive.

This doesn’t mean I am suppressing my anger. Just channeling it in other ways. Or so I tell myself.

I look into the vastness of the world ahead of me and I just try to take it one day at a time, conquering and dealing with whatever comes at me the best I can. I know I am not alone.

I am blessed to have my kiddo who is just an incredible source of inspiration and strength. If my wife was my guiding star, my kid is my rock. He has been ever since he was born.

I know together we will continue to carry each other as we move forward in this journey……

Gabriel and jmm - stone mountain

This and That