reflection: year five

November 29, 2012

in a week it will be five years since my hysterectomy.

fact: i haven’t healed.

accepted truth: it will be a lifelong process.

renewed hope: i will still be a Mami.

the following is a part of a much longer monologue. i’ve learned that i can “give birth” in so many other ways. i write to heal myself and others who can connect to my story. this is my medicine. here’s to continued healing.

My Uterus used to live here.

Right around here.

The uterus is the major female reproductive organ.  The main function of the uterus is to accept a fertilized ovum which becomes implanted into the endometrium.  The fertilized ovum becomes an embryo, develops into a fetus and gestates until childbirth.

I miss my uterus.

I DO NOT miss my periods… but I do miss my uterus.

You see I had plans for it.  It was going to be the proud womb of two beautiful children.  Who already had names and would one day become artist, activists and writers.  And my womb was going to be a vehicle for change.

My girl was going to be named Sarahí Elis.

My boy, Diego Rafael.

I like strong Latino names.

They were both carried out full-term.  Fairly uncomplicated pregnancies; with the exception of morning sickness the first two months and my enormously huge breasts.  Sarahí Elis was tiny at birth.  She weighed almost 6 lbs.  But she was healthy.  And she slept soundly.  She loved to sleep on my chest.  We would fall asleep on the couch together watching Yankee games on mute.

She would be lulled by the rise and fall of my chest.  And I would sing to her, “Contigo Aprendí, a ver la luz del otro lado de la luna.  Contigo aprendí, que tu presencia no la cambio por ninguna.”  She loved when I sang to her.

Diego was strong on his way out.  The little guy was not so little.  He had a big head.  And he put me through some hours.  And when he came out, he came out roaring.  Screaming and yelling like he was mad at the world.  At home, he would only go to sleep if he was between both of his moms.

They would learn to speak Spanish first.  They would know their history and their herstory.   They would be culturally conscious humans.  My little boy was going to look just like his father (my friend Hamlet had already volunteered to help the cause) AND Diego would have my father’s heart: BIG with unconditional love pouring out of him.  My little girl was going to be JUST like me, in every single possible way.

And I was going to nurture their every minute-lasting dream of being a famous singer in the morning and changing that to a veterinarian by mid-day.

I had already seen their first Christmas.  I hoped Los Reyes were able to get them all the toys on their wish list.  I saw them open Tio David’s gift and say, “What the hell is this?”  I was their first kiss on New Year’s Day, their first hug on Valentines; they loved Easter chocolate bunnies but didn’t care much for egg hunts.  They made the BEST mother’s day cards.  They never forgot our anniversary or our birthdays.

I washed their little clothes in the gentle cycle.  I stood in awe when they grew two shoe sizes in less than 3-months.  I helped them clean their rooms, do their homework and tie their shoe laces.  We went on walks together.  We talked about everything.  We played hide-and-seek every day.

I wondered what our house would look like with their smiling faces hanging from picture frames in our living room and their report cards on the refrigerator with that oddly gigantic magnet they made for us in pre-school.  They loved when I made my famous Dominican chicken.  I saw them in their favorite torn-up sweatshirts and those tired jeans -that on their own could make it all the way home.

I told them to get off the phone ‘cause it was too late.  I told them to call their grandma every day.  I taught them about family; about keeping in touch and never forgetting to call each other.

I talked to Sarahi Elis’ teacher about her chattiness in class.  “She’s just very excited about life,” I would say in her defense.  I never got complaints about Diego; as much noise as he made on the way out, he was pretty quiet growing up.  I attended all of their activities.  Diego was into martial arts and playing the bass and Sarahi Elis was all about softball and writing poetry.

I wondered what their moods would be like… I could see them playing with each other one minute and then fighting the next.  I saw them play with our old dog and get excited about the new puppy.  I saw them with their cousins on vacations.  And listened to their countless stories about eve-ry-thing-they-did.

Diego was going to be strong …but gentle.  I was going to teach him how to be a true gentleman.  And Sarahi Elis, well… she was going to be very much like me. Stubbornness included. That is how life was going to show me what it was like to raise me.

I saw them off to their first day of school and cried with them.  I cried with them when they scraped their knees.  I cried with them when they fell off the monkey bars.  I cried with them when they lost their first tooth …when they lost their first love.

I tucked them in… snugged like little bugs in rugs. They jumped into our bed when it thundered.  We hung dream catchers on their windows to keep the nightmares away and left a night light on to keep “el cuco” out of the closet (yes, he too is gay).

I took them everywhere.  We did museums, amusement parks, beach trips, baseball games and movies.  I flew them to Dominican Republic to meet Papote.  I took them to Puerto Rico to meet abuela.  My mother was crazy about them… especially about Sarahi Elis.  And Diego was my sister’s favorite nephew.  My brothers were going to take them on the weekends to play with their kids (who am I kidding; I’d probably end up with all of them).

I saw them graduate from high school.

I helped them with their college applications and got excited with them when they were accepted to their first choice.  I balled my eyes out every time I brought them to their dorms.  We went to visit them when they studied abroad.

I knew they would grow up to want to save the world.  I saw them graduate college.  I saw them fall in love and surely one of them would make an abuela out of me.

I wanted to see my children grow up to be just like me.  I wanted them to be warriors.

…because only a warrior survives a hysterectomy at the age of 29.

On December 7th, 2007 between the hours of 8am and 3pm, Sarahí and Diego’s crib was removed.

The surgery took about seven hours.

They removed my uterus, my cervix and my ovaries.

Once the gynecologist was done… the urologist came in and reimplanted my ureters which had been damaged… he had to cut my bladder, extend it to the top part of the ureters and reconnect them.

I woke up around 4:30pm.

I remember waking up, moving my hands to touch my stomach.  And I felt the gauze pad covering my entire pelvic area.  And I asked if everything went ok and if I could see my gynecologist (who was also a friend of the family); but she had already left.

And I couldn’t see my family yet… so I was alone with an empty crib, thinking about Sarahí Elis and Diego Rafael and with a million questions for God or anyone who could answer them.

I rubbed my abdomen gently… and I talked to them as if they were there.  And I apologized,

I am sorry.  I am so sorry. 

I am sorry I didn’t have you sooner.  I am sorry I had set a date for your arrival.  I am sorry I was so selfish when I was younger and thought that waiting might have helped me provide a better life for you both.  I am sorry we never had the chance to meet, to play… to laugh.

I am sorry I won’t make it to your karate tournament or your softball game.  Sorry that I couldn’t make your recital, that I had to cancel the trip to DR, that the movie is sold out.  Sorry that your Christmas stockings won’t hang from our fireplace and that I am left with a memory that never took place.

But what I am most sorry for… is that I never got to hold you in my arms.

And still, you weigh so heavy in my heart.

The nurse walked in and saw me crying.  She asked on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 meaning no pain, 10 meaning it’s unbearable) how much pain are you in?  I looked at her and said, “100.”  She looked at me and said, “All you have to do is hit this button.  You can hit it every five minutes and it will give you a dose of morphine.  This will alleviate your pain.

I hit the button… and drifted.  Hoping I would forget everything… hoping this was all a dream.  The pain of not being able to see Sarahí Elis and Diego did not go away with Morphine.  In fact, five years later, time hasn’t healed it either… it is something that will be A PART of me and APART from me, for my lifetime.

And so all I can do now, is give birth to these words…

shadow & light

March 10, 2012

seeking clarity
i dive into the darkness
of my Self.

i find my way to the vastness
of these empty doubts.
the air is filled with worry.
i inhale deeply…
my lungs exhausted.

i breathe you in
like oxygen,
like you’re good for me.

i cannot recall a time without you
in my life. you’re like an appendage:
my arms. my legs…
but you have no function
except to make me heavy.
and sad. and disconnected.

i have to find a way out.

loneliness,
i am letting you go today…

so that i may emerge
out of this darkness.

this inner light is too bright
for you to keep dimmed in your shadow.

you must go now.

god wears a size S

February 7, 2012

it is no mystery why the world can’t find god.

you have made god so small,
theologians have been searching in the fine prints
of scriptures only to loose themselves in translations.

your rhethoric and rules
have diminished god
to simple verses misquoted
from altars and pulpits alike.

religions read hatred from their Book
and claim righteousness.
they have been
everything but right.

throw up scripture
on billboards…
give tracts to distract.

god never wanted to be read.
god wants to be lived.

but you have made god so small
in Love and so big in hatred,
your microscopic view
increases macroeconomic blessings.
while churches get rich
on people’s fears,
faith is bankrupt.

god never wanted to be a business.
god wants to be lived.

you have made god so small
and insignificant,
you have people believing
that hell is place in the after-life
not on the tip of your blasphemous tongue.

gestation of a book

January 26, 2012

for three years.
three long years…

i’ve been experiencing
morning sickness.
throwing up the words
of my childhood,
into this book.

my swollen hands
can’t hold a pen long enough
to wait for this embryo
of letters to take the form of words.

this lyrical fetus
grows…
but the chapters
drown in water retention.

so i am giving birth to pre-mature poetry…
before the umbilical cord strangles this piece of me.
hoping in an incubator,
truth will develop in the lungs of this poetic child.

locksmith

January 6, 2012

i wish
i wasn’t born
a poet.

instead,
i would’ve
liked to have been
a locksmith.

my entire existence
would be dedicated to
the art of making
and defeating locks.

i’d lock up my sentiments.
secure them in a place
where they’d never be hurt.
no key. just a combination
of infinite numbers written
in braille ’cause Love is blind
and only it would know
how to unlock me.

i’d work on deciphering
combinations.
i’d learn to unlock
fears and insecurities.
i’d work on bringing light
to the darkness of a vaulted
soul and free it from itself.

but i am just a poet
whose safe
is a pen and paper
that unlocks at the simple
turn of a connection.

expired

December 1, 2011

in the time and space
that exist in the geography
of distance

lies
a sometimes
uncanny moment
that shows the illusion
to be real

there are days
i feel you so close
i swear you never left

right

here you are
sitting in the void
i think is empty.

one is only as far away
as the heart that misses them.

so really, you’re not gone

if every beat
pounds your name
on my chest
escapes from my lips
with every word i speak
you are heavy on my tongue.

a gypsy, you come and go
traveling through my veins
with an expired passport.

my circulatory system
carries your dna

i begin to bleed you out…

so that i may let Her in.

birthday wish

November 30, 2011

when i met you, you were just 26 years young…

i will be celebrating 59 years of the gift of your life on friday, dec 2.

how beautiful your light. how comforting your words. what sweet sound of love your voice.

i know that i am not the expectation you had for me… i know you pray that i will change… i know you wish me different…

but i… i think you’re the most beautiful blessing in my life. and i wouldn’t change anything about you. not even the parts that wish me different than who i am.

i wish you health. laughter. Love. blessings that shower your worries every day. i wish for you strength. courage. an unshakeable faith.

i wish for you peace of mind and heart. that all your hearts wishes come true… except the one that keeps me in your prayers under the disguise of your beliefs.

i Love you Mami. in ways that lead me to frustrated enlightenment: i am at peace with all that you are. i will meet you where you stand.

may your days be filled with an uncontainable happiness.

amor propio

November 30, 2011

perdí.

este juego de cartas
me barajó la reina de corazónes
para luego darme espadas
de doble fílo,
matando el sentimiento y la ilusión.

la noche me jode.
es larga. oscura. traicionera.

el silencio no deja de hablarme.
mi cabeza dando mil vueltas,
tengo los sueños mareados.

la soledad
me acompaña.
tratando de seducirme,
acaricia mi piel desnuda
de seguridad.

yo no siento nada.

y el nada se sienta
en el amanecer
de mi desvelo.

me levanto…

endulzo el amargo
del cafe con la esperanza
de un nuevo día.

no he perdido nada
cuando todo se transforma
en caminos que me llevan
a la ruta de mi verdad.

mi verdad…

Amor propio.

tiempo mas tiempo

November 22, 2011

el reloj
marcando la una
y otra vez que te dice,
“date tiempo.”

se hacen las cinco…nsecuencias
mas pesadas por negarte la oportunidad.

vuelve a ti.

tu familia. tus amigos.
te esperan.
para renovar tus fuerzas.
alimentar tu alma.
fortalecer tu espiritu.

escucha.
el silencio
te lo dice todo.

paciencia.
contigo misma.
sin prisa.
todo caera
en su lugar.

tiempo mas tiempo
te dara la suma de paz.

es tiempo.

el reloj marcando
las doce…nas de bendiciones
que te esperan.

pero es ahora,
el momento preciso
para volver a ti.

1%

November 22, 2011

the toxicology report
shows your levels of “i care”
are dangerously low.

they’d inject you
with a double dose
and hook you up
to an IV bag,
but your body
temperature is so low,
it just might
freeze in your veins.

i’ve been next to corpses
that had more warmth
than you.

anger
is a disease.
it has become a
pandemic
it took over
your global body.

your vomit
contains feces.
the same shit
you swallowed
all these years
to make yourself
believe that somehow…

___________________

time of death:
0231 hours.