I used to kind of live in Mexico. Alas, only for a minute: about six months, off and on, the year my husband was there, working on our scruffy little beach house. That sweet house in a tiny fishing village called Chuburna Puerto was for our retirement. We called it Casa de los Sueños, house of dreams, and it was lovely. My Facebook Memories today are showing me all sorts of things related to Mexico, to Mike, to my friends, Brenda and Grace.
On April 1 last year, Brenda and I returned home from a truly magical cruise down the Pacific Coast of Mexico. We were celebrating her having survived months of chemotherapy and radiation, though we would find out a week later that a cure was not going to happen for her. On that trip, just off the coast of Baja, Mike and my friend Patty’s husband, Harry, conspired to send us a trio of whales which frolicked 30 yards off the front of our boat, a seemingly impossible occurrence in the way it happened, but one which was confirmed over the next week by several evidential mediums. “Of course we did that. Of course.” Just a day after our return, I flew out to meet Grace in Yucatan for what we called her “last hurrah” trip after her terminal diagnosis. Both Grace and Brenda were dead six weeks later.
On April 4 of 2010, our morning in Mexico looked like this. Coffee, the love of my life, and our little red bench. Plus some binoculars to watch the dolphins and pelicans cruise by. Heaven on earth, truly. What could possibly go wrong in our charmed life?
A year later, April 4, 2011, this:
“Mike’s in St. John’s again. Pretty perky this morning; give him a holler and say hello.”
Mike, who had come home to help me pack and ship our belongings to our casa, did not remain perky. A series of medical mistakes landed him in ICU later that day, and there he was neglected to the point that he went into cardiac arrest. For two hours, I thought he was dead. The long-lasting result of that nightmare beyond a severe bout of PTSD for me was a total loss of kidney function. And that changed our lives completely, taking away the dream of a life south of the border and leading to his death a little over a year later.
But this is the memory that really touched my heart as I read this morning. It means something entirely different today than it did on April 4 of 2010:
“It is a happy, joyful day at the beach. I love the way whole families set up camp, from infants to grandparents. Yesterday, when the afternoon wind kicked up, we watched a whole string of folks join hands, wade into the waves, and hang on to each other, laughing and hollering as the waves rushed over them. Makes me miss summers spent at my family’s cabin at 99 Springs.”
It was beautiful to see back then from our big porch overlooking the water. But on this day, it is a reminder to me of how to get through life:
Set up camp with those you love. Join hands. Wade in. Hang on. And celebrate.
That any of us get through this crazy human existence is a miracle. Best to hold tight and laugh and holler as much as we can. The waves ~ of grief, of trauma, of sadness, of all of it, the good stuff too ~ rush over us, but they also recede. There is joy to be found in sticking together.
Hold on. All will be well. It already is.