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Lupita

Since 2010, “Writing From Merida” has been a wonderful way for me to share my life, with friends and family who live all over the world. Some days blogging is therapeutic – a way to get things off my chest – and this is definitely one of those days.

Five weeks ago, my sister-in-law, Lupita, was diagnosed with cancer of the stomach and pancreas – Stage 4 cancer – very aggressive cancer.

And on Tuesday night, she died.

It was so fast – too fast to understand. Her husband, children, brother and sisters – all her extended family, colleagues and friends – are in shock.

Lupita’s children, Raul and Bertha, were her treasures, and she doted on her husband, Raul. She adored my kids too. She helped me sew their Halloween and Carnaval costumes. If I was ever sick, she looked after them, and she cooked their favorite Yucatecan foods.

Although Lupita loved family life, she was not a stay-at-home mom. To tell the truth – she was Wonder Woman. She worked full time at the Seguro Social, and was always the first to offer help to any one who needed a hand.

And she fought for those she loved. Her husband once got cheated by an acquaintance – and a few months afterwards – she saw the guy downtown. She demanded that he return the money he’d swindled. “I spent it,” he sneered. She shrieked for the police, and he high-tailed-it down the street. The cops were too slow, so she took off after the SOB and actually leaped through the air and pinned him to the ground. I should mention that she was wearing high-heels AND was 7 months pregnant when she did this – literally – she was a “pursuer” of justice.

Oh goodness – she was determined. Married at 19, she did not have the opportunity to follow a path that included a degree – but when her children went on to University – she got her high school diploma, and then studied for her Bachelor in Tourism. During the 6 years she worked towards her goal, she kept her full time job and also looked after the needs of her family. She always handed in her assignments on time – she inspired her classmates – and her professors.

Lupita taught me so much about living in Yucatan – like how to trapiar (mop the floor with a long-handled squeegee and a rag) She tactfully reminded me about special family events that were coming up, and saved me much embarrassment over the years.

Wednesday, at the funeral home, more than 200 people came to tearfully bid her goodbye. Bouquets of roses, lilies and gladioli perched on every edge, ledge and other flat surface. The casket was open, and although I felt nervous to do so, I wanted one last glimpse of my great friend. She had on the cream-colored dress that she bought for Christmas last year, and her makeup was applied just as she liked it.

Now the big question is: How will I, or anyone else who knew and loved Lupita, learn to live without her.

30 thoughts on “Lupita”

  1. Dear Joanna and Jorge,

    Please, accept my heartfelt sympathies for such a great loss. Indeed, what a shock and, indeed, what a loss! My heart goes to you both and know that I am thinking and praying for you both and for Lupita’s family as well. You write about Lupita with great love and with such a sense of loss. Having people like Lupita in our lives are sure signs that we have been/are blessed by God. Lupita was a blessing… a blessing that will continue to be present, although differently. The feeling of loss must be immense… both of you are in my heart.

    Tomorrow will be a travelling day. Returning home. To Mérida.

    Abrazos, José

    1. Thank you José. Indeed I am feeling at a loss. It is so hard to deal with this. But your words are a comfort. Lupita will always be with us but as you say, it is now very different. I look forward to seeing you

  2. You’ve kept her spirit alive by sharing these stories. I wish I had met her! She sounds amazing, and she was so fortunate to have a sister-in-law like you these past five weeks.

  3. My deepest condolences on your loss. You were all blessed to have had such a great friend in your life.

  4. I agree with Debi. Lupita will always be a part of you and she will always be in your heart. Peace and blessings to you and Jorge and your families!

    1. Thank you Cat. It is comforting to have so many happy, poignant memories. People from Yucatan often say, “Recordar es volver a vivir.” or to remember good times is like re-living them.

  5. I am so very sorry to read of you loss of Lupita. My sincerest condolences to you, Jorge and all of your family. Through your words, Lupita was and is an inspiring being that will never leave us, she will only grow stronger to be with us in our lives. Hugs and prayers for you all.

  6. I’m so sorry to hear this Joanna! I only met her once but liked her very much. Even when we know it is coming our hearts are never ready. Time will be your friend.

  7. Joanna, I’m terribly sorry for your loss. You have spoken and written about Lupita often in the past and of her support in your life. I hope those memories of her will give you comfort.

    1. Thank you Deanna, last night we attended the funeral Mass and deposited her ashes in the family crypt. Now she is at rest and we can begin to heal. The memories of her will always be sweet.

  8. Joanna,

    My deepest condolences to you and the family. Lupita sounds like she was a wonderful person. I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to meet her when I was there.

    Hugs,

    Kim G

  9. Joanna and Jorge: I just got to your blog at this wee hour of the morning and my heart goes out to you in the loss of such a good friend. From your writing Lupita was certainly a beautiful person and I am sorry I never had the chance to meet this lovely lady. Life is so precious and it is so important to love those who truly enrich our lives like Lupita did yours. My sincere condolences to you and your family.

  10. Joanna, that was a lovely description and tribute. Now I, who did not know her at all, have learned something from her as well.

    I suggest–you and yours will miss her, AND she’ll still be with you. People of such good will do not really leave us.

    1. Thank you Alinde. Yes, Lupita was an amazing woman and will always be with us. Sadly we can’t talk to her anymore but we do have lots of memories that we’ll constantly re-visit. Through our stories, she will live on

  11. Joanna and Jorge, I am so very sorry for your loss. I imagine it is best for Lupita to have gone so quickly but it must have been devastating for those of you who loved and needed her to have lost her so suddenly.

  12. Dear Joanna and Jorge, what sad, shocking news. Lupita sounds like an amazing woman, what an example she leaves for her family! Our condolences to you all as your mourn the loss of your sister-in-law. May your memories bring comfort.

    1. Thank you Joanne. We miss Lupita now and will always miss her. But she did a lot of the things she wanted to do in her lifetime, and that is a comfort to us. We only wish she could have been with us for longer

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