This is hard for me to write as this brings up so many emotional feelings. Of sadness but at the same time of happiness. I briefly talked about the lost I had which was the first love of my life which was Juan Carlos Rivera which followed by the lost two people of few close people I was close to, my paternal uncle and Godfather Miguel Lopez and maternal Grandmother Juanita Campos. Looking back at these tragedies in life is extremely hard as it brings back the pain that I felt when I got the news. All in a feeling of helplessness that in all situations had me saying the eulogy as my gracious aunt Janie Campos “The Bear” gave me when she felt I was the one that should speak on the family behalf that my family for whatever reason was “ashamed” for me to speak on behalf as telling me not to do so, but stepped up when my aunt “the closes of the sisters” couldn’t come to terms with it at the last minute. So much comes from these tragedies as the ugliness of human nature gets the best thing leaving one thing that is an injustice to the legacy. The two times that I showed imperfectly best case scenarios of how a family should remain are the Rivera’s who now living back in Puerto Rico still being resilient as ever during the natural disasters that devastated their livelihood and my paternal family, continue to be consistent in the things their deceased loved ones continue to portray. The characteristics and the traditions that was of the dearly departed.
I remember the first time I heard “Just a Dream” was after my divorce feeling free of the what I will stay say “unintended” wrong doing that became the result of the marriage as there were a few things that I also grieved in the wake of the aftermath. It was on a Memorial Day, which I didn’t feel like partaking in any shenanigans with anyone as I just needed time to myself, which journaling was just a hobby that I never thought would lead to my writing venture. I was always deep as the writing that traced back in high school followed the composer of music, which back then I also played the piano, but stopped due to a shattered dream by my choir teacher that said “I would never fit the industry standards” which was when I stopped playing the piano. I was listening to the cd as I was in a Carrie Underwood moment playing the first album “Wasted” which had me write about the things that I passed up in life were of just poor choice, not realizing the tragedy that was Juan Carlos was a memory I purposely forgot as the tragedies that life had already thrown made me feel like “life already
“The things that I passed up in life were of just poor choice, not realizing the tragedy that was Juan Carlos was a memory I purposely forgot as the tragedies that life had already thrown made me feel like “life already given up on me.”Frieda Lopez – Dark of Mourning Lost – Gains a Light of Life
given up on me”. Which the song that played from Carrie’s Underwood “Carnival Ride” which I already felt a heavy heart hearing the instrumental intro to the heart was the trigger that would make me relive that moment that engaged and with his mom and sister would get that call on the PrimeCo. phone line he got all of us which then was the only one he could call from where he was stationed at while the happiest moment we all spent in picking out my wedding dress (that unfortunately at the time didn’t have a relationship with my mom) would experience the most tragic and heart ripping news about the man I was destined to be a wife too. That in a attack where he was stationed ended up killing civilians and soldiers and for the first time in my young adult life, I would experience the heartbreak and mourning of losing a love of my life. That Juan Carlos was found dead. One of the things I remember from that day was while I was trying to fix the veil that his sister and his mom helped picked out was hearing the screams from the corridor of the dressing room thinking that something horrible happened and rushing out with the veil on, I see his sister holding his mom in tears with this recognizable face that my best friend in high school had when we got news of her sister getting murdered in high school. Where the weakness of my legs made me fall to the floor and had me break down at Alfred Angelo’s that had me cry in agony as his mom being as nurturing as she could said “reyna, he’s gone”
The shiftiness that resulted from that tragedy was my inability to accept that moment in my life admitting that it happened made me into someone I didn’t want to be. Feeling that there was no hope for me. That I was cursed. That happiness wasn’t meant for me. I felt that for the longest time. The funeral which was the traditional military send off was every time I hear “Taps” makes me become emotional for the those mourning the loss of their shoulder. I get it. The sound of the rifles firing is like those bullets are being shot into your heart, which writing the book and talking about that one moment made me understand. Denying this experience however made still made me a person I didn’t want to be. Not seeing the pain that others feel, not being empathetic. Just wanting my existence to be pleasant, which the uncontrollabel that would happen by misfortune to those who I now have a different empathy for realized that the pain they inflict wasn’t a personal attack, it was something that I had no understanding about, that the things I purposely forgot was a vengeful gap I filled from a tragedy I never healed from. Where I started getting a resentment towards my mom and my dad that in all retrospective wasn’t something they deserved. That the things they didn’t realize was that the pain they had was starting to be deflected on me.
The one thing that I realized that through the three most devastating losses in my life, the one thing that left my physical life was the rocks that I depended on to keep me strong. The death that also had a military theme at the wake and the funeral was of my Uncle Mike, which ended up in a wake of destructive behavioral patterns that ended up just getting me in a mess of trouble, one of them leading to depression. That cause, binge drinking in the sorority that enabled my binge drinking. Which every lick of trouble had me call to God for help, which temporarily only made me find contentment and never consistent happiness in the things I gained or the things given. As gratitude lacking led back to the losses I never came to term with.
One of the things that the three rocks and the hearts that I gained was that pain and situation was never permanent. That in the physical world we live in, it’s just a temporary home. Juan always the amazing and positive force he was said drink till it’s gone but never enough to get to where your going. Which is how we ended up meeting as his family owned this restaurant that closed down years now that had the tropical essence that I was lacking in my life as being latina had me masquerading only as Mexican, which is why I embrace my heritage that encompasses the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Brazilian, Cuban, and French origins my heritage comes from. My uncle Mike always believed in “Semper Fi” where you can see where my faithfulness no matter what comes from as this the marine motto that means “always be faithful, no matter what” and my grandma Jaunita as vulgar as she was always said don’t turn your back on your history for a good dick down” which we will not go into the vulgar Spanish translation.
Aside the negative that many resent my biological mother from not doing, I don’t regret anything that is of what she’s done and who she is. One of the things I wrote in the book I gifted to her was “I will always love you no matter how much it hurts” because the truth is I always will. Which the lesson my Uncle Mike, the voice of reason for my dad always told him why it’s wrong for him to hate her. My mom has shown that she loves me as it hurts her to see me in pain, it kills her to see my heartbroken, and a piece of her almost died when she heard I almost died too. Which no matter whether she’s actively a part of my life or not, I will always do things to one day when she finds peace, will make her proud. Maybe then she will end up completely content if and when I find the right guy I am meant to be with. As she has been waiting to see me w
When it comes to mourning the things we must always remember is that they will forever live in our hearts. The tears in writing this special blog in the wake of Naya Rivera’s passing is that the lost that we have must not go without thinking about the things these amazing people that touch our lives bring. They bring the light when we couldn’t’ find the light in the darkest of places. When I think of all three of my angels, I remember the amazing they brought into my life. The ability to love again, the ability to continue fighting, the ability to be loyal to myself. In a world where we are told what we want to hear and never get what we really need, it’s always those voices that play in my head telling me “mami, really?” “should i hang myself now or after the coquetaso?” which Juan always said when I was sure about the truth I couldn’t see and just stubborn not to admit he was right. My Uncle Mike always when I felt the world let me down and I was too weak to fight would always say “sometimes you may think you are not the best, but you gotta fight if you want to be the best” which always came from the multiple disappointments that life threw at me and my maternal abuela would just say when I was going to give up ” eres puta or que?” which had the spanish interpretation of “are you gonna just lie on your back and let the world fuck you” or “are you gonna grab it by the balls and buck it up” what’s the slogan she passed on to many of her daughters that she may have seemed abusive, just was a way that she toughed us up. She always felt that the world was soft and said that we become softer and softer over time. Which is true. Which made me rely on “Wasted” 10 years later figuring out what way life was going to take me or where I was going to allow life to take me.
One of the things I realized that I was a little codependent on people as the strength that I lost was found in other people that weren’t ever authentic to original magnificent force that was Juan, that was my Uncle Mike, that was my abuela Janie, and the force that was Naya and all the other angels who brace us with their grace. It’s funny that in everyday life at the times that I would need them the most, I would get signs that were just off the wall. My grandmother had a thing for roses which randomly I will smell roses, my uncle Mike always had a thing for calling million dollar baby and champ which I randomly hear out of nowhere sometimes, and Juan “besos con quesos” always a saying after the Mexican dish that is quesadillas which is honestly tex-mex was the one thing he would always say when he just felt that I needed a pick me up or when after a long day and being a broke college student and him a man working to make his own way keeping away from being dependent on his family would make quesadillas with the goat cheese he loved smelling it from the entrance way and would shout from the hallway “Besos con quesos” always saying why I was the best Bonnie to his Clyde. Smelling the same cheese and vanilla candle he loved burning every time we would just lie on the couch and talk about the things we didn’t realize. Some where he would joke saying and “here I thought I was a rebound” and me saying “and here I thought you were a pendejo” which I never felt insecure or doubtful with. Which makes me wonder how could I ever of forgotten him as he was the standard for the relationships I never got. What made him different was he was a noble man, a man that valued togetherness, family, and the pride in earning his keep. Never judgmental and never wanted what anyone else wanted. Because he always said “the greatest things in life are free” which ironically enough I got a call from his sister saying I was an aunt again. Which we talked about the things that we are faced in the world and how we both are dealing with it. She loved the book and said that I need to write about the moment that I felt lost but the amazing thing I gained out of it. The ability to celebrate life. Because back then the talent they saw in me in singing was something they always thought i should of pursued is the ticket she feels that will get my foot in. She told me something that she never told me which was that Juan always called me his “Songbrid” which was a reference to Fleetwoods Mac song. As she ended up saying was the my families influence that she thought of him today when a bird perched up on the window and even seeing her and coming to the window didn’t have him fly. That the bird just kept on singing away while the classic rock station she listened to played “Songbird” which is what had her call me. Where picking up my newly born nephew reminding her so much of Juan made her say hemanita “I love you like never before.”