Posted in Zoos need to go!

RIP Harambe

Another senseless death at a zoo of an innocent animal. The leader of the troop at the Cincinnati gorilla enclosure is dead.  Harambe shot dead for protecting a child. Look at this article and the videos. By all eye-witness accounts this happened because the mother was not attending to her child.  This magnificent gorilla did not deserve to die.  Just last week two lions were also shot dead due to the illogical actions of a mentally deranged man in a Chilean zoo. I think zoos are a thing of the past. Let us have sanctuaries like my friend’s in the Tampa area. Let us bring our children and grandchildren to places that harbor and protect all animals. Let them interact, not gawk! I digress. I need to put my feelings about poor Harambe into words.

First we need to discuss the mother. I want everyone to know I do not JUDGE others, but where was she? I see videos online of her child in the enclosure with Harambe. Then I find out her profession is child care. If this had happened to my child I would have crossed fences, nets, everything to get to my child. I hear her say “Mommy loves you.” It seemed phony, not what I would have done…I would have hopped over that damn fence and dropped in even if I broke something.  Where was Mommy while child entered this area after repeating to anyone who could hear “I want to go in that water?” It makes one ponder for just a moment this world of social media we live in. Is it possible this was the greatest scam ever? I have not seen any eye-witness say anything other than the child kept repeating he wanted to get in the water. Now, if we heard our grandchild or child say this, especially at the age of three, we would either pick them up or put them in a stroller. It is simple. End of this part. I don’t have facts, just opinions. My opinion is that the mother was negligent.

Harambe described by many as a gentle giant who visit this zoo. He was the leader of the troop of gorillas and now they are all grieving for him. We can watch the many videos of Harambe pulling this child through the moat and react with horror, or we can think about how we would react if we saw a child drowning or hurt in the water. Harambe was reacting to an emergency, the way a gorilla would with his troop. The injuries at first reported as grave, serious and more. In actuality they were a concussion and some scrapes, the concussion most likely from the fall the scrapes from Harambe pulling him away from the moat. He then stood protectively over the child. It is obvious from the many observations from eye witnesses and the video footage.

Finally, this begs the question “why have zoos anymore?” They are outdated and cruel. This should never have happened, we shouldn’t go to see animals in cages. If we want to educate our children and grandchildren there are so many other ways. Take them on a safari, buy them books, let them watch the discovery channel, go on nature walks with them, take them to animal sanctuaries, but please stop going to zoos! RIP sweet Harambe. I know you were protecting and you didn’t deserve to die.harambe-22

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Posted in friendship

Apology to Spare?

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Gabe and Michele photo
My best friend for 38 years. A friend is always by your side and supports you. Gabe personifies this and more.

Why is it so hard to apologize when you are wrong? I often wonder this in my musings and meditations. I have a lot of acquaintances, but only a few I consider friends. These are friends who are with me when I need them. Some who show up out of nowhere, just because they heard I have trouble. People whom I have never had a harsh word with, nor have I ever had a snide comment from them to me or me to them. If they want to tell me something, they do. I listen. If it is not something I want to hear, I still listen. I take it under consideration and I learn from their advice. After all they are my friends and their advice is worthy of consideration. Always. I love them. They support me, even when I up and move to Colombia with a younger man. They support me because they see I am doing well. They support me because they are proud of me. They just support me. This blog is for them. I can’t put everyone here…but I will put a few. Because I appreciate all they have given me in life. I love you all very much. You know who you are. Some are newer to my life, some have been with me and my adventures since I was a mere kid…some I lost touch with but they found me because they missed me. I have found some of my old friends on my own also. I have no words to say except thank you. This blog is for all of you who have never spoken an unkind word about me, who have been there for me through my best moments and my most horrible moments. You are really wonderful friends.

So if you need to apologize you should. Life is short and apologies are sparse. If I offend someone I say I am sorry. Always. Maybe, just maybe this will change just one person out there who needs to apologize but hasn’t. Is it really worth losing a friendship, family member, lover, marriage over? I don’t think so. Apologies are a way for us to make things right again.

Misha and I with Marley
My daughter was always my best friend, no matter what we went through
Posted in Uncategorized

What a Ride!!!!

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Gabe Parapente 5
Gabe is sideways because he asked his pilot to take him on a crazy ride, which he wrote about later…he had the best time ever, and is still talking about it. He went sideways, almost upside down and with the air current wherever it took them!

I had a bucket list adventure with my best friend recently. It was something I thought about for over five years. I finally did it, and believe me that day we left I was in a panic. Who jumps off a mountain? How could I commit to this? YIKES! I have to admit I always thought this when I take my guests on the Parapente adventure here at Villa Migelita. I would say ‘Oh, wow this is the most famous sport for our area of Colombia!” While I was thinking OMG I am not brave enough for this! Guess what? I was fine. I committed to it because my best friend and his partner were here and I thought ‘now or never’ because if I was going to do this it would be with my best friend. I did it. I still feel elated and surprised by such an amazing experience and will always recommend it for everyone who visits because now I have done it.

Parapente 22
Flying above The Valle del Cauca, Colombia
Parapente 21
Floating

It was a very peaceful experience for me. It was not scary. It was a gentle lift and I was soaring over our precious Earth, looking down as if I was an astronaut in a space shuttle. I felt as if I was a flight attendant looking out of the window of the airplane after we took off when I worked for Delta. It was so harmonious with what I believe in. It was the Universe and being in touch with the cosmos. It was quiet, it was tranquil, it was not a rapid descent but a very slow floating above the beauty of the mountains. I never even had a flutter of trepidation when my pilot strapped me into the little chair I sat in. I just lifted up like a cloud into the sky before I even thought that I was leaving the mountain.

With all the Parapente offered here in Colombia, you can enjoy a ride like my best friend who went all in for a ride of a lifetime, with a lot of turns and ups, downs and roller coaster adventure. You can do what I did and just float down to the ground enjoying the views while the cool air brushes against your face. It is about what you want. I highly recommend this wonderful sport to anyone. I see young children on the Parapente all the time. Anyone, any age can do this. It is not an extreme sport it is a gentle passage into the sky that will leave you breathless with excitement and wanting to do it again!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Thrive, Flourish and Live Your Life

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Have you ever felt there is more to life than this? A cliché statement, but so true for most people at some point in their lives. You drift through life looking for, then hoping you can do something to help yourself out of the situation you are in. You feel stuck in a job, marriage, relationships that are not working. There is not a person alive who hasn’t felt this way at some point in their life. Then you are old and full of regrets about the way life passed you by. We are constantly bombarded by social media about someone who is doing well, or has changed their life for the better and you wonder “why not me?” It makes you feel down, wondering why some people achieve their dream while you can’t find yours. But actually it isn’t that way at all. Every person who has started a business, or has decided to make changes in their life knows that it starts as a concept you can envision, but you are not sure how you will go forward. It can take years and a lot of really difficult moments to achieve your aspiration. The difference between you and that person is that they have overcome fear to take a chance. Most successful entrepreneurs when asked will tell you they failed many times BUT they kept trying. That is the key to flourishing in life. Let go of fear. It is just that simple. Take a chance on your dream. See what happens. It might not work out like you expected but you will know you did the best you could to get yourself on a different path from the one you are now on; the one that makes you unhappy.

When I moved to Colombia, I had an idea in the recess of my mind..it was there in a shadowy corner ready to emerge, but I suppressed it. When asked by friends why I was expanding my Villa so much, I would say ‘Oh, I want to have a hotel.” Did I believe what I was saying? Not really. I wanted a hotel but didn’t think it would actually materialize. That being said I was still doing all the right things to make it happen, which was a subconscious way that my inner self was showing me the correct direction to take. I wrote to editors and they answered me, and then I was published(scroll to page 8) about my dream, and more than once. I just kept moving forward, even when I felt inside it wouldn’t  happen. I believe a lot of us become overwhelmed with life as we know it. I changed when my daughter died. I became a bit fearless and did things I wouldn’t have ever considered before. If we look at life the way I suddenly viewed it after her death, we do become fearless and that is when we can really move towards our dreams.

To thrive we must find our passion and follow it. I did it accidentally. I didn’t have some major business plan in mind. I just sort of fell into things as they occurred. Yes, I did all of this ‘by the seat of my pants’, as my mother used to say. It has worked out well, but again, I live in the moment so tomorrow I could regret all that I have accomplished up to this point. One thing is for sure, I have impressed myself with my resiliency, my tenacity, my inability to give up even when things look grim. Yes, things have been grim for me more than a few times. That is why I say let go of fear, let go of distractions, let go of overwhelming thoughts and just live your life the way you want to live it. Thrive and flourish by being the person you want to be, not what you think others want you to be. Always remember your joy is there inside of you, it never has left you. No matter how many horrible things have happened in your life, your intensity for life is inside of you. But you have to be the one to realize it. No one else can give you this ability to create a new life. Only you.

 

 

Posted in child death

Truthful Words About the Death of My Daughter

Yesterday was just lousy. By that I  mean really damn horrible. I actually cried for most of the afternoon, until I fell asleep, it was that kind of lousy day. It was a day I want to erase from my memory. But just maybe this post will show others about proper etiquette when dealing with the death of a child.

I had someone tag me on Facebook about finding a dog almost dead on the side of the road and trying to save it. She wrote that all she could think of was me and what happened with my daughter who was left dead on the side of a highway after she was murdered by a hit and run driver. I know she meant well. I actually answered that I was glad the dog had someone to hold it while it died..because I was. In actuality, I should have said ” please take me out of this post as I can’t handle the image you just sent to me that I pictured as my daughter instead of the poor dog”. She wrote of blood coming out of the dog’s mouth, and of it taking its last breath. All I could think of was my daughter and what she must have looked like laying there on the side of the road when she was hit. Was she still alive? Did she suffer? The questions that I have worked 6 years to overcome, and in one moment this ignorant post brought them back. It was horrible to envision, especially at 6 am in the morning when I first awoke.

It doesn’t matter if it was just last week or 6 years later, parents of a deceased child are not any better than they were when they first heard the news that their child is dead, they have just learned to live with their grief. Some such as me have made positive changes in their lives, while others struggle daily to just get up in the morning and go on with life. We parents of a deceased child know about letting go of certainty, and a willingness to embrace life as it is. That is what happens when you finally are starting to adjust to the death of your child. The biggest obstacle to overcome is your mind, and it is important when you respond to others you use control as your response is your power.

So, let us explore my reaction to this awful but totally well-meaning post. I handled everything wrong. I should have written a nice message to her to take it down, as it was very upsetting to me. But, I didn’t. I answered the post honestly about how hard it is for me to still live with the murderer of my daughter free on probation, but I was happy she was able to be there to comfort the dog. A few more comments and it was over. I know she did not know how severely she had affected me. People are oblivious about the way grief can paralyze a person. I went on with my day but was very sad. My companion kept asking me “what is wrong Michele?” I couldn’t really put it into words as I knew I should have shut down the post immediately…then I kept getting notifications from others commenting and I went to stop the notifications and the post was gone. I was relieved and wrote my friend that I knew she meant well and I felt happy that she had thought of Misha. I didn’t say anything unkind, nor confrontational because I am not that way. But then, I am tagged again with the same post. She took it down and put it back up. That made me angry. I try to embrace a way of living that is not argumentative but it vexed me when it went up again. I had felt incredible pain answering the first post and now I had to answer again? Once more I will accept the blame as I should have ignored this second post. This pressure of social media is truly intense at times, especially when my name is mentioned and I am the reason for the post. So I commented that I had said something earlier and that I was very pleased with my life in Colombia with hummingbirds, butterflies and nature. That I felt her with me and I had gone on to create Villa Migelita in her name  and put my website along with my answer.

This is when it got ugly. Not in a horrible way, but let’s be honest, it was not nice, because I show that I have gone on to create a life my daughter would be proud of…which I also said…and I got a response from someone who was just being mean. Seriously, shouldn’t this person have written, “good for you to have created this dream in your daughter’s memory?” Instead I’m reprimanded for putting my website on the post!  If it was inappropriate to put my website there ‘oh well’ ! The post was about my daughter who was left dead like the dog at the side of the road and I was showing people I have moved forward! When it comes to social drama, letting go of other people’s rude remarks is the best step forward.  Most haters don’t really hate you; they just hate where they are in life, and you’re a reflection of what they wish to become.

My heart is bruised from yesterday, and is still bruised today. I have a good life now. I have maids, they see me crying. They become upset. They come to me to ask what is wrong and I tell them the truth; that I was reminded of a picture I saw in the newspaper the very morning after I found out about Misha’s death because of someone who is my friend. She was lying on the side of the road covered by a black bag, but I knew it was my daughter. I don’t want to picture her that way. I want to see her like the cover photo on this blog. I know I will continue to heal until I die. Life is always changing, when something ends or leaves something new happens. I know my sad crying jag will soon be gone, but I won’t get over it quickly. It is just not possible when it is my child I am talking about, and she is dead.