Tag Archives: family

The matriarch of the Chavez clan has left us

Photo: bundled-up woman against snowy backdrop
Teresa’s mother, Maria Luisa, during a snowy visit in 2008

Yesterday, Teresa and I received the painful news that her mother, Maria Luisa Carrasco de Chavez Delgado, had passed away after a long, gradual decline in her health in Peru. Teresa had been down to Lima to see her mother three weeks ago. Tomorrow, Teresa will fly down to Lima again, but this time to join her three sisters in laying her mother to rest.

As the matriarch of a clan  of sisters, Luisa (or Celeste to her intimates) welcomed me into her home 43 years ago when I first fell in love with her daughter. For more than 15 years, she lived right next door to us in Miraflores,  She is intertwined with my memories of Peru. When we moved back to the States in 1996, she came up for Christmas almost every year to visit with us and her other daughters, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Dock on the Bay

Photo: woman poses with San Francisco skyline behind
The skyline of San Francisco can’t compete with my wife’s smile.

Of course, Maria Teresa is not in California, but in Lima, Peru, dealing with her mother’s declining health. We won’t be together for St. Valentine’s Day, but she’ll be in my heart.  The photo is from our trip in November to visit our son, Matthew, at Berkeley.

Sunset on Half Moon Bay

Photo: sunset on the Pacific, near SF
The magical moment on the Pacific Ocean: surfers on the lazy waves, the sun kisses the sea and the light turns golden.

I’m just beginning to process my photos from my November trip to San Francisco to visit with my son, Matt. On Thanksgiving Day, after visiting the SF wharves and the Golden Gate Bridge, we headed down Interstate 280 and then cut over to Half Moon Bay, arriving just in time to catch the evening light show.  It was worth the trip.

Sh*t happens and sometimes it hurts

Photo: mother and grown son pose together at airpor
My son Matthew and Teresa have one last hug before he heads off to grad school at UC-Berkeley, aiming for his master of fine art. At Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC.

Yesterday we drove our son Matthew to Dulles airport. He had stripped his life down to an over-sized suitcase and a duffle bag (total 100 pounds, max), a knapsack (with laptop and iPad) and a few boxes that friends and colleagues will smuggle into California. He left his car, some boxes and his new flat screen TV in storage with us (I don’t know if there’s space). He gave up a nice paying job working for a NASA contractor at the Goddard Space Center, though the post was no more secure than anything dealing with the Federal government these days. He could have lost funding in the next round of sequestration cuts.

Continue reading Sh*t happens and sometimes it hurts

Life eases back into glide

Photo: yoga trainee and mock class
In front of the class, I muster my will power and focus to get through the final practicum.

I had all kinds of plans to writing a bunch of entries about my yoga teacher training (YTT) at Thrive Yoga, but I got sidetracked by all the thing that had been piling up during training. Just sorting through the stacks of mail seem to take over an afternoon. I can see myself being swept up by the flow of life and failing to examine this experience thoroughly.

Plus, my son, Matt,  is moving to UC-Berkeley next week to get his master of fine arts so he is dropping off a lot of his stuff for storage while he’s away.  Which means that we have to shuffle our own stuff or donate older items to charity. Our burden of possessions takes over entire rooms. I think my son takes pleasure in reducing his life to two suitcases, a shoulder bag and a couple of boxes sent by mail to the west coast.

One of the prices of being a “renaissance man” (by which I mean a well-rounded man of many outbursts of curiosity, multiple interests, mundane chores,  and middling talents and intelligence to get them accomplished) is that the current crisis tends to get the upper hand on all the other agenda items. Today, a visit to the dentist and the resulting low-grade pain wiped me out for most of the afternoon.  And I get successive visits to my office by my wife to remind me that I owe her big time for her being a “yoga widow” for a month—and she’s right.

Learning something from my daughter

Photo: headshot of female teacher at yoga studio
My daughter, the yoga teacher

I had a special pleasure today in my hatha yoga class at Thrive Yoga: the class was led by  my daughter, Stephanie. We’ve been going to classes together since 2004, and she went through teacher training in 2006-2007 at Flow Yoga and then took additional training at Thrive this past year. She’s been teaching community and kids classes and subbing at Thrive. She’s been bugging me for months (or a year) to take one of her classes, but her teaching opportunities and my schedule always seemed out of sync. Finally, she filled in on a Sunday morning.

I think that the biggest compliment I could give her was that after the first five minutes, I forgot that she was my daughter, and just cursed under my breath that she was kicking my butt in high lunge and Warrior II. It was still a hatha classes, strong on fundamentals and focused on breathing and body awareness, but it kept up a good flow so that I felt touched in my whole body at the end. It certainly was a test for my ego, allowing myself to be guided by my daughter through a yoga routine and holding back from taking a picture of her in the class.

Stephanie’s been teaching a lot over the past week or so because there have been a lot of class openings. Susan and Dave Bowen, the Thrive Yoga owners, led a group on a retreat in Hawaii (and taking some leisure time while they’re out there). Hopefully, there will be many other opportunities for Esteff (as she prefers to be called — it’s a long story).

Away from home

I’ve been out of touch for a while, but here are some things that I should have mentioned before:

  • Capital Dharma mentions my DC meditation page in a post about how to keep a meditation practice going.
  • I am currently in St. Petersburg, FL, at a reunion of my wife’s family. We met “half-way” between Ottawa (the farthest north that one of my wife’s sisters reside) and Lima (where her mother lives). A week in the sun, sand and wave never did any harm, even during the Christmas holidays.
  • Although my lodgings has WiFi and Internet access, it seems to be spotty for doing anything more ambitious than checking e-mail. I had to make several tries just to load the WordPress admin page. I can’t promise that I will be posting beyond this because there always seems to be a busy agenda.
  • Before I left on vacation, I had my hands full of end-of-year activities at work so I did not have much time or energy for posting.

My parents’ interment

Photo: wedding portrait of Lynn and Lorraine Smith - 1947
June 8 1947 - Wedding portrait

Today happens to be my parents’ wedding anniversary, June 8, 1947. For the next six decades, they were inseparable, soul mates (the over-used cliche that’s appropriate in their case). My dad’s biggest concern in his final years was that he would last long enough to take care of her to the end. With his final words to us, he extracted a promise from my sister Judy and me that we could take care of Mom. My mother’s biggest concern was that she did not want to be a burden to us and she longed to be reunited with her husband. Well, she died three months later, resolving that oath.

 

In a simple wooden case, their ashes are surprisingly heavy, as is my sorrow. I’ve kept the case here at home for the past two months. Today I will be relieved of having to care for them. My family will lay their ashes to rest together in the garden of the Rockville United Church in a private ceremony. A small plaque will commemorate their resting place, among the flowers, evergreens and shade trees.