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.