December 31, 2017
This past year we survived hurricanes Irma and Maria on Vieques, Puerto Rico. Maria wiped out the electrical, water and communication infrastructures on the island so that we were without power, running water, cell, and Internet for almost two months.
Grocery store shelves were bare, ice was scarce and the three gasoline stations were closed more often than they were open.
Finding the basics (food, gas, water and ice) was a daily quest. Somedays we got lucky, and other days not. On the “not” days our conversations went something like this.
At the Gasoline Station:
Us: Do you know when you will have gas again?
Gas attendants: No, maybe mañana.
At Isabel II Plaza, by Mayor’s office:
Us: So when do you think the cell phone reception will be working again?
City officials: Soon. We’re working on it. Maybe mañana.
At Ice house and convenience stores:
Us: Any ice today?
Ice and store people: Mañana, maybe mañana.
At the Grocery stores:
Us: Are you ever going to have gallons of water here ever again?
Grocery cashiers: Of course we will. Maybe mañana…
And so on, and so on…
When I’d come back from one of these foraging missions John would raise his eyebrows as if to say “Well?”
My reply, more often than not, was, “Maybe mañana, honey.”
As the days wore on and we saw little progress happening, we learned that “maybe mañana” never meant “tomorrow.” It just meant “NOT TODAY.”
Fast forward to today. December 31, 2017.
I’m sitting here on a beautiful Caribbean beach, in Mexico, reflecting, like many others worldwide, about the past year. I’m not going to sugar coat it, this past year has been one of the most grueling we’ve ever experienced, both physically and emotionally. Here’s what I mean.
On January 6th, my nephew Luke chose to leave this world. He had had some ups and downs as a teenager, but we genuinely thought he had found his peace and was happy. He was one semester away from graduation at Texas A&M. I, as his aunt, had no clue about the pain he was living with.
As John and I comforted each other about the loss, we thought back to the last time we were with Luke. It was Christmas 2016 at my brother’s house, about two weeks prior to his death. Before we left that day we made the rounds to all our family members thanking them for gifts, hugging them and telling each one how much we loved them. Luke was a great hugger. We choose to remember the brightness he left in the world with that last hug. We love you and miss you Luke.
About my Mama
On June 15th, my Mama took a fall when going into IHOP with my Daddy. She ended up in the hospital because of it, where she experienced infections and complications that lead to her death on July 6th. The past few years she had many physical challenges and as she told me often throughout her last months, “Anel, I’m just tired.” She was ready.
Mama was the glue that held our family together. She was my rock during hard times and always knew exactly what to do during any crisis. She called John her third son. She made us giggle and always made us feel loved. You made me Mama. I love you and miss you so much.
Many years ago, I was a theatre teacher. Joanna was one of my shining stars at a very young age. She was my Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland and Annie Oakley. As a teen, she dated both of my sons and just “hung out” at our house a lot. During those years, she was the daughter I never had.
She sparkled when she entered a room. She was one of those special people that everyone wanted to be around because she made everyone feel good. She exuded love. Joanna grew into a beautiful woman and awesome mother.
On November 17th, she was taken from this world in a horrible car accident. I am honored to have been a part of your life Jo. I love you.
About the accident
Last week John and I were traveling from our housesit here in Xcalak, Mexico to Chetumal. It’s a three hour trip, but Chetumal is the closest city to find a good assortment of groceries and supplies. Halfway there, we were one of the first cars to come upon a terrible accident involving a tour bus. The passengers on the bus were on a cruise vacation and had taken a day trip, off the ship (docked in Mahahual), to visit Mayan ruins in Chacchoben.
Twelve of the passengers were killed and most all of the others were injured in some way. We offered to help, but by the time we arrived it was a recovery effort rather than a rescue situation. We were told to turn around and go home. So we did, in solemn silence, all the way back to Xcalak.
These 2017 tragedies have left us heartbroken, but they have also given us a new resolve about how we will approach things in this new year. Whenever, someday, in the future, later, in time, probably and maybe mañana no longer exist for Luke, Mama, Joanna and the twelve bus passengers. Their mañanas are gone. Life is precious and none of us know that we will ever see mañana.
So John and I have purposed to live each day of 2018 with the following resolutions:
If it’s at all possible, get ‘er done today.
Phone conversations with friends and family:
Never say goodbye on a phone conversation, without telling that person that you love them. Never.
When you are fortunate enough to be with someone that means something to you, hug them. Let them know how you feel. Before you part, hug them again.
Talk about Love:
Never waste an opportunity to tell someone special to you that you love them, because mañana may be too late.
A special note to our readers:
We’d like to thank you for reading our stuff and looking at our photos. Your support means so much.
May the new year bring peace, joy, hope, laughter and love to you and your family.
Anel & John