Author Archives: Lydia Samaniego

Mama

IMG_20170514_104911_991Amá

January 26th 2017, 9:40ish. I had returned from a yoga class an hour or so earlier. I showered, ate dinner and sat to relax. I felt a good tired feeling and was ready for bed.

2:00 am. I awoke from a dead sleep to incessant pounding and ringing of my door bell. “What?” I was a little scared. I was alone. Maybe it was just some neighborhood kids playing a joke. I’ll ignore it. The pounding continued. Now I was mad. What the hell! I got up trying to grab something to beat someone with for frightening me. As I approached the door, I saw flash light beams maneuvering through the kitchen window. What is this?” I thought. I peeked through the door peep hole. Three men. I opened the door annoyed. “What!?!!”

I can’t remember if the man in the middle asked me if I was Lydia or if my mother was Bertha. It is a blur. “Is your mother Bertha?”

“Yes, what is it?”

“She has been in an accident.”

“Is she alright?” I interrupted.

“I’m afraid she didn’t make it.” Again, I don’t remember his exact words, but that was the jist.

They were three police men, two officers and one detective. After they ascertained that I was alone, they never left my side. The detective asked if they could come in. He asked me to sit down. I had so many questions. He lovingly answered them all as my stomach did somersaults and my heart felt like it was literally breaking. It hurt so much. He said he would not leave me alone and asked if there was some place he could take me to be with family. “Yes” I said.

I called my siblings with the terrible news, those who would answer their phones anyway. The rest found out through others.

I tried to get dressed. I forgot how to put on pants. It took what seemed like way too long to put on clothes. I think my hair was still in a bun from the night before, hair half falling out or I put it in a horrible-looking-falling out bun. I don’t remember. I didn’t even brush my teeth. I forgot. I don’t remember if I packed a bag. I grabbed my phone and my purse and I left with the detective.

The other two officers left in their patrol car and the detective ushered me into his police SUV. He drove me to my sisters where I would meet my brother who was on his way also. “I don’t know if you remember me,” the detective said. “I’m Jamey.”

“Jamey! Oh my God!” I responded as I reached to hug him in the car, apologizing that I didn’t recognize him. Honestly, I didn’t see anyone’s face that night.

Jamey and I had grown up together. I think since Kindergarten. We even went to Catechism together. I think my mother, after leaving this earth, quickly got to work, as was so her. She knew that I was the only one of her children alone and personally sent Jamey to get me so I wouldn’t have to handle this heavy moment by myself. Apparently, when there is a death or multiple deaths at an accident scene, each victim is assigned a detective for the case that will ensue. “Why did you choose my mother?”

“I don’t know. She seemed so peaceful and alone so I went to her. I didn’t know she was your mother until I went through her phone and found all of your siblings and you in her emergency contacts.”

It is Christmas day, almost a year since she left this earth and it still doesn’t seem real. For the first time in my life I feel truly alone. My dad died eleven years ago. Both of them loved me unconditionally and they knew me so well. When he died, I still had my mother. Now there is no one on this earth that knows me like them and I feel like an orphan. I have the love of my four boys and if I didn’t have that, I would be totally alone, but thank God I have them. My brothers and sister, well, we have each gone our own way to some extent and although we all still love each other deeply, life gets in the way and people choose priorities. And rightly so.

My mother was and still is an extraordinary woman. She was Catholic to the core. Although people would say she was religious, and she was, but far more than that, she was a true woman of faith. She genuinely loved unconditionally. Even when I would be an ungrateful daughter, she responded to me in love. She was the earthly embodiment of love.

My son, Joshua, told me during the week following her death as we were all preparing her service and I felt my heart breaking, he said. “Mama, every time you feel the pain, tell her how much you love her and how thankful you are that SHE was your Mama.”

I did as my son advised and I still do. And here I say, “Merry Christmas Mama, I love you so much. Thank you so much for being my Mama and for loving me so much. I miss you. The world is not the same without you, but I know you had to go and that you are so happy, returning to eternal bliss. I am so, so lucky we had the relationship that we did, that I had you on this earth with me for the years that I did, and I am so lucky that my heart is filled with the emotions that I feel about you. I love you Mama. Thank you for being my Mama.”

Life goes on. A “new normal” I will find, as Officer Jamey told me would be the case. I’m getting there or maybe that will always be the case. But no matter what, even though it hurts, I am so thankful.

 

 

Amá

26 de enero de 2017, 9:40 h. Regresé de una clase de yoga aproximadamente una hora antes. Me duché, cené y me senté para relajarme. Me sentí bien cansada y estaba lista para ir a la cama.

Las dos de la mañana. Me desperté de un sueño muerto a los golpes incesantes y al timbre de mi puerta. “¿Qué?” Estaba un poco asustada. Estaba sola. Tal vez fueron solo algunos niños del barrio jugando una broma. “Lo ignoraré.” Pensé.  Los golpes continuaron. Ahora estaba enojada. ¡Qué demonios! Me levanté tratando de agarrar algo para golpear a alguien por asustarme. Cuando me acercaba a la puerta, vi luces en la cocina de linternas que se asomaban por la ventana. ¿Qué es esto? “Pensé. Eché un vistazo por la mirilla de la puerta. Tres hombres. Abrí la puerta molesta. “¡¡¿¡Qué!?!!”

No recuerdo si el hombre en el medio me preguntó si yo era Lydia o si mi madre era Bertha. Es un borrón “¿Tu madre es Bertha?”

“¿Si, que pasa?”

“Ella ha tenido un accidente”.

“¿Está bien?” Lo interrumpí.

“Temo decir que ella no sobrevivió”. Una vez más, no recuerdo sus palabras exactas, pero más of menos fue así.

Eran tres policías, dos oficiales y un detective. Después de que supieron que estaba sola, nunca se apartaron de mi lado. El detective preguntó si podían entrar. Me pidió que me sentara. Tenía muchas preguntas. Él amorosamente respondió a todas mientras mi estómago daba saltos y mi corazón se sentía como si literalmente se rompiera. Me dolía tanto. Dijo que no dejaría mi lado  y me preguntó si había algún lugar donde pudiera llevarme para estar con mi familia. “Sí.” Le dije.

Llamé a mis hermanos con las terribles noticias, aquellos que responderían a sus teléfonos de todos modos. El resto de ellos lo descubrieron a través de los otros.

Traté de vestirme. Se me olvidó cómo ponerme los pantalones. Tomó lo que parecía demasiado tiempo para ponerme la ropa. Creo que mi cabello todavía estaba en un moño de la noche anterior, el pelo medio cayéndose o lo puse en un moño que parecía horrible. No recuerdo. Ni siquiera me cepillé los dientes. Me olvidé. No recuerdo si empaqué una bolsa. Agarré mi teléfono y mi bolso y me fui con el detective.

Los otros dos oficiales salieron en su patrulla y el detective me condujo a su SUV policial. Él me llevó a casa de mi hermana donde me encontraría con mi hermano que también estaba en camino. “No sé si me recuerdas”, dijo el detective. “Soy Jamey”.

“¡Jamey! ¡Oh, Dios mío! “, Le respondí cuando alcancé a abrazarlo en el auto, disculpándome por no haberlo reconocido. Honestamente, no vi la cara de nadie esa noche.

Jamey y yo crecimos juntos. Creo que desde Kindergarten. Incluso fuimos al Catecismo juntos. Creo que mi madre, después de dejar esta tierra, rápidamente comenzó a trabajar, como ella siempre lo hacía. Ella sabía que yo era la única de sus hijos sola y envió personalmente a Jamey a buscarme para no tener que pasar este momento tan pesado yo sola. Aparentemente, cuando hay una muerte o múltiples muertes en una escena de accidente, a cada víctima se le asigna un detective para el caso que se producirá. “¿Por qué elegiste a mi madre?” Le pregunté.

“No lo sé. Parecía tan tranquila y sola, así que fui hacia ella. No sabía que era tu madre hasta que revisé su teléfono y encontré a todos tus hermanos y a ti en sus contactos de emergencia”.

Es día de Navidad, casi un año desde que me madre dejó esta tierra y todavía no parece real. Por primera vez en mi vida, me siento verdaderamente sola. Mi padre murió hace once años. Ambos me amaron incondicionalmente y me conocían tan bien. Cuando él murió, yo todavía tenía a mi madre. Ahora no hay nadie en esta tierra que me conozca como ellos y me siento como un huérfano. Tengo el amor de mis cuatro hijos, sí, y si no tuviera eso, estaría totalmente sola, pero gracias a Dios los tengo. Mis hermanos y hermana, bueno, cada uno de nosotros ha seguido nuestro propio camino hasta cierto punto y, aunque todos nos amamos profundamente, la vida se interpone y la gente elige sus prioridades. Y con razón.

Mi madre era y sigue siendo una mujer extraordinaria. Ella era católica desde del fondo del corazón. Aunque la gente diría que ella era religiosa, y lo era, pero mucho más que eso, era una verdadera mujer de fe. Ella amaba genuinamente incondicionalmente. Incluso cuando yo me comportaba como una hija ingrata, ella me respondía con amor. Ella era la encarnación terrenal del amor.

Mi hijo, Joshua, me contó durante la semana posterior a su muerte cuando todos estábamos preparando su servicio y sentí que se me rompía el corazón, dijo. “Mamá, cada vez que sientas el dolor, cuéntale cuánto la amas y cuán agradecida estás de que ELLA haya sido tu mamá”.

Hice lo que mi hijo me aconsejó y todavía lo hago. Y aquí digo: “Feliz Navidad Mamí, te amo muchísimo. Muchas gracias por ser mi Mamá y por amarme tanto. Te extraño. El mundo no es lo mismo sin ti, pero sé que tenías que irte y que eres tan feliz, que regresas a la dicha eternidad. Tengo tanta suerte de tener la relación que tuvimos, que te tuve en esta tierra conmigo durante los años que compartimos juntas, y tengo la suerte de que mi corazón está lleno de las emociones que siento por ti. Te quiero Mamí. Gracias por ser mi Mamá”.

La vida continúa. Una “nueva normalidad” la encontraré, como me dijo el oficial Jamey. Estoy llegando o tal vez ese sea siempre el caso. Pero no importa, a pesar de que todavía duele, estoy tan agradecido.

“Now why don’t she write?”

“Now, why don’t she write?” (A quote from the movie, Dances with Wolves).

Maybe you have been wondering, “Why hasn’t she written?”

Well, I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth just yet. I have been in Spain finishing up my course work for my master’s degree in Spanish language and culture. Now I need to finish writing my thesis, ugh.

It has been an amazing experience these past two summers. I am so, so grateful that I have had this opportunity to travel through some countries in Europe, live in Salamanca, Spain experiencing life the way Spaniards do and meeting so many beautiful and amazing people. From the depths of my heart, I am so thankful.

Here are some of my favorite moments. The following pictures are shots from the past two summers that I remember fondly. You know those moments in time when everything feels right, at peace and pure joy? These are some of those moments.

 

“Bien, ¿por qué no escribe?”(Una cita de la película, Bailando con lobos)

Tal vez has estado preguntando, “¿Por qué no ha escrito?”
Bueno, no me he caído de la faz de la tierra por el momento. He estado en España terminando mi trabajo de curso para mi maestría en la lengua y la cultura española. Ahora tengo que terminar de escribir mi tesis, uf.
Estos últimos dos veranos ha sido una experiencia increíble. Estoy muy, muy agradecida de que he tenido la oportunidad de viajar a través de algunos países de Europa, vivir en Salamanca, España experimentar la vida como lo hacen los españoles y conocer a tantas personas hermosas y maravillosas. Desde lo más profundo de mi corazón, estoy muy agradecida.
Éstos son algunos de mis momentos favoritos. Las siguientes imágenes son memorias de los últimos dos veranos que recuerdo con cariño. ¿Conoces esos momentos en la vida cuando todo se siente bien, en paz y alegría pura? Estos son algunos de esos momentos.

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Mi querida plaza mayor. We spent so many afternoons and evenings basking in the centuries old ambiance laughing, sharing and drinking wine. I will cherish this plaza always. It holds a special place in my heart. (Summer 2015,2016)

Mi querida plaza mayor. Pasamos muchas tardes y noches disfrutando  en su ambiente riendo, compartiendo y bebiendo vino. Apreciaré esta plaza siempre. Ocupa un lugar especial en mi corazón. (Verano 2015,2016)

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This was a great afternoon. The restaurant owner, Antonio, showed us how to make paella. Not only was the paella delicious, the afternoon was filled with laughter, cooking lessons (and drinking lessons, we also learned how to make agua valenciana) and great company. Just a perfect afternoon! Have you ever let down your guard and allowed yourself to just be you and much to your surprise, but so thankful, that everyone receives you as you are? And so it was, a beautiful and freeing dinner party. (Summer 2015)

Esta fue una gran tarde. El dueño del restaurante, Antonio, nos mostró cómo hacer paella. No sólo la paella era deliciosa, la tarde se llenó de risas, clases de cocina (y lecciones de beber, también aprendimos cómo hacer agua valenciana) y buena compañía. Una tarde perfecta! ¿Alguna vez has bajado la guardia y te has dejado ser uno mismo y sorprendida, pero tan agradecida, que todo el mundo te recibe a medida como eres? Así fue, una hermosa y liberante cena. (Verano 2015)

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We had just taken our first exams, happy with our results and relieved, so that night we went out dancing, tasting the Spanish night life until the wee hours of the morning. No inhibitions, just be and let be. It was a good night! Churros anyone? (Summer 2015)

Acabábamos de tomar nuestros primeros exámenes, contentos con nuestros resultados y aliviados, de modo que, esa noche salimos a bailar, gozando de la vida nocturna española hasta las primeras horas de la mañana. No inhibiciones, ser y dejar ser. ¡Fue una buena noche! ¿Churros alguién? (Verano 2015)

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Upon the Wall that encloses the centuries old town of Avila, overlooking the new town. The walled city of the blessed Santa Teresa de Jesus! This was one of those times I ventured by myself, happy to be with myself. It was a blistering hot, great afternoon! (Summer 2015)

Sobre el muro que rodea la antigua ciudad de Ávila, mirando hacia la nueva ciudad. ¡La ciudad amurallada de la bendita Santa Teresa de Jesús! Esta fue una de esas veces que me aventuré por mí misma, feliz de gozar conmigo misma. ¡Era un tarde ardiendo de calor y magnífico! (Verano 2015)

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The street where I lived, la calle Traviesa. (Summer 2016). La calle Traviesa, donde vivía. (Verano 2016)

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A picnic near el Puente Romano. Again, one of those moments when everyone is feeling the love, laughing, enjoying food and drink, a moment when everything is just right. (June 2016)

Hicimos un picnic cerca del Puente Romano. Una vez más, era uno de esos momentos cuando todo el mundo está sintiendo el amor, riéndose, disfrutando de la comida y la bebida, un momento en que todo está bien. (Junio de 2016)

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El Puente Romano. I took my brisk walks over this 2000 year old Roman Bridge every morning before I went to class, (well, most every morning). I did my best thinking here. (Summer 2016)

El Puente Romano. Hice mis caminatas sobre este Puente de más de 2000 mil años de edad todas las mañanas antes de ir a clase, (bueno, casi todos los días). Caminando es cuando me venían mis mejores pensamientos. (Verano 2016)

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This picture is my most favorite. It captures it all. A friend and I broke away from the rest of the group, hiked up through the forest, blazing our own trail, arriving at some huge boulders at the top of the mountain, where we could see the Castle, the Palace and all of Sintra, Portugal. (July 2016)

It was one of those moments in life when you are doing exactly what you want to be doing with the exact person you want to be with and the adventure is perfect.

These are the moments you know you are alive. May we always choose to live. I am so, so thankful for everyone I met, every moment I lived, good and bad and every drop I got to experience. Thank you! Thank you with all of my heart!
So now you know why I haven’t written. Much, much love to you.

Love,

Lydia

 

Esta foto es mi favorita. Captura todo. Un amigo y yo nos separamos del resto del grupo, fuimos de excursión por el bosque, haciendo nuestro propio camino. Llegamos a algunas rocas grandes en la parte superior de la montaña, donde podíamos ver el Castillo, el Palacio y todo de Sintra, Portugal. (Julio de 2016)
Fue uno de esos momentos en la vida cuando estás haciendo exactamente lo que quieres hacer con la persona con quien deseas estar y todo es perfecto.
Estos son los momentos que sabes que estás viva. Que siempre optemos por vivir. Estoy muy, muy agradecida por todos los que conocí, cada momento que viví, el bien y el mal y cada gota de experiencia que me tocó vivir. ¡Gracias! Gracias con todo mi corazón!

Ahora sabes por qué no he escrito. Con mucho, mucho cariño.

Amor,

Lydia

I wish

I wish

I wish so many things.

I wish “I’m sorry” could be enough to make the wrong into all that is right.

I wish pride would go away.

I wish the way you love could be the language of how I want to be loved.

I wish I could walk into a loving embrace and the past be erased.

I wish you could just say, “I’m sorry”

I get excited about coming home and sharing my day, snuggling on the couch, going dancing together, sitting side by side at a game, making new friends, traveling together, experiencing new adventures, but my smile turns into a frown when I realize you’re not there. I wish so many things.

I wish you saw me.

I wish we connected when we made love.

I wish all the mistakes could be forgotten.

I wish you knew me.

I wish so many things.

I wish

 

Ojalá
Deseo tantas cosas.
Ojalá un “Lo siento” fuera lo suficiente para convertir el daño en todo lo que es bueno.
Ojalá el orgullo no existiera.
Ojalá la forma en que me amaste hubiera sido la forma en la que quise ser amada.
Ojalá pudiéramos envolvernos en un abrazo amoroso y borrar el pasado.
Ojalá pudieras decir: “Lo siento”
Me emociona la idea de volver a casa y compartir nuestro día, acurrucarnos en el sofá, bailar juntos, sentarnos lado a lado en un partido, conocer a nuevos amigos, viajar juntos, experimentar nuevas aventuras, pero mi sonrisa se convierte en un ceño fruncido cuando me doy cuenta de que no estás allí. Deseo tantas cosas.

Ojalá me vieras.

Ojalá nos hubiéramos compenetrado.
Ojalá todos los errores pudieran ser borrados.
Ojalá me conocieras.
Deseo tantas cosas.

Ojalá

 

It’s gonna be a good year

 

It’s gonna be a good year

It was new year’s day, 2010, when my brother picked up a penny as we were heading to the BART station and said, ”Hey, a penny, it’s gonna be a good year.” “Yes it is,” I said. I felt it in my heart. One month later, I got the news that no one expects to hear. The news that sent me spiraling into a dark abyss of fear and uncertainty.

You know it’s not a good sign when the receptionist asks, “Is someone going to accompany you to the appointment?” It was a rainy day, closing time. We waited for about an hour in the office as the doctor spoke with everyone else, even though I had been called back before the other patients. I could hear him through the walls laughing and joking with the other patients just minutes before he said, “it’s bad.”

When I got home, dragging the dark, heavy diagnosis in my soul, I sat down hard on the couch, fixing my stunned gaze on the fire place, and there, I saw it, him, the grim reaper. I didn’t see him like I could see you, I felt it. It was like a palatable presence that could only be sensed. But this entity was neither sinister nor scary. It was somber yes, but full of love. “I know you.” I said in my mind. “Yes. We have met before.*” He said. The entity continued to convey that he did not come to take my life but to give it back, to wake me up. He was my friend.

Yes, 2010 was a good year, the year that has brought me to this place, here with you.

I’m not saying that these years have not been difficult. God knows it’s been excruciating. There were times I didn’t know if I was going to live. And sometimes I wanted to give up and die. It seemed easier. But I have to believe that everything happens for good. I mean, I could choose to dwell on all the negative sides of this experience. I think that whatever I set my heart on to believe will become my reality. Therefore, I choose to believe that all things happen for the good of everyone involved. And so it is.

Hope.

Until next time.

Love,

Lydia

*That’s another story. I lost my first husband. As a way to remove the horrors of that experience from me, I wrote about it. And, at the pinnacle of all the chaos, that was the first time I met my friend. The story is rough, but complete. It’s called, To Hell With You. Maybe I’ll post it here, some day, if you are interested.

Welcome!

Hi! Welcome! And thanks for stopping by my Blog.

Before I introduce you to LoveLydia, please allow me to tell you what to expect from my posts. I simply want to share my experience and impart some thoughts that have accumulated and continue to accumulate throughout this journey and beyond. There’s no particular order or sequence just pieces of a puzzle that I hope will emerge into a beautiful picture.

So, here we go.

So what is LoveLydia all about? Well, I had always wanted beautiful nude pictures taken of me. But, I wanted to wait for that right time when my hair was long and luxurious, to lose those extra baby pounds, to tone up just a little more. But that time never came. Breast cancer came.

I went through the whole circus; that conventional journey that someone might expect: surgeries, chemo, tons of drugs, more surgeries, etc. As I went down this journey and all that I experienced and felt, I wanted to give back in a way that resonates with me.

I saw many pictures of women who had gone before me, bravely showing their new bodies with pride and triumph. But it frightened me. I didn’t want to resign myself that I had to come out of breast cancer emotionally and psychologically scared, not to mention, the obvious, physical scars. To me, healing is more than beating cancer. It means reclaiming my prior, unmangled body and clearing the emotional and psychological trauma that led up to and came from this experience.

An idea came to my mind.

I wanted an artist to paint and decorate my body celebrating all that is beauty and feminine to me. I wanted flowers and symbols and designs mixed with jewels and pearls. And then I wanted photos taken. And I wanted people to see these photos. And when people saw the portraits, that maybe their first thoughts might be beauty, art, femininity, anything but cancer. Had I seen a portrait like this in a hospital, doctor’s office or a cancer ward, maybe I wouldn’t have been so frightened. I would have said, “I want to come out of this looking like that!” inspired with greater courage and strength.

But I didn’t know how and for what reason exactly to get these images out into the public.

I’m still not put back together. I don’t have a left nipple. My breasts are still not level nor the same size and other things I could numerate from all the surgeries. And, I’m not fond of the idea of having another surgery, to come out looking less than what I deem is worthy of me. So I kept searching for other alternatives.

My search led me to TeVido Biodevices, a private biotech company working on 3D printing to restore a woman’s NAC (nipple areola complex) and later the entire breast! That’s right, take out the diseased breast and print out a new one made from the woman’s own healthy cells! Sounds like science fiction, doesn’t it, but TeVido is working on this as you read this. Can you imagine the possibilities!? The world needs this technology readily available to everyone.

Immediately I emailed Laura Bosworth, the CEO of TeVido Biodevices, asking if she could use me as an experiment. She graciously replied that TeVido was still a few years out from human trials. “Well then, how much money do you need to bring this technology to doctor’s offices everywhere?” I asked. “30 million,” she said.

And then it hit me. What if I sell my portraits and donate the profit to her vision!

I presented her with the idea and she was honored by the gesture and she agreed to be teamed up with LoveLydia.

And here we are.

It is our goal at LoveLydia to raise 30 million dollars so TeVido can bring this technology to the public. So doctors can take out the cancer and leave the woman whole. So that women will no longer be able to identify with me.

In a nutshell this is how LoveLydia came to be. As you read subsequent posts, I’ll fill you in on more details.

That’s it for my first post. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your time with me. I have enjoyed our time together. I hope you have also. Please join me here again in a few weeks for another post. Follow us on Facebook to know when the next blog comes out.

Until we meet again.

Love,

Lydia