Posted in Awakening, Cali Colombia, Colombia, Colombian healthcare, Entreprenuer, exercise, freedom, Healthcare in Colombia, hip surgery, Journal of surgery for hips, life lessons, strength, Uncategorized

Two Months Later

I was really apprehensive before my two month check up after my arthroscopy surgery on both of my hips. I am going to tell everyone something I have not admitted to myself. I hated the therapy in Cali. It seemed too easy to me. I felt very upset to be stuck in Cali away from my Villa and my pets. I would get up and go as instructed, but I hated that I was staying in Cali, while I could be in Paradise in my own home! I had a lesson in humility yesterday by my famous surgeon Doctor Bernardo Aguilera of Cali, Colombia. He said patients like me make him afraid. He said to me “Michele, you are in amazing shape, but you have to listen to me. I need you to take it easy and do what is instructed by therapy. You cannot do any hiking for at least another month, you need to start a new therapy in Aquaclara near you! I will send the therapy to them as instructed and you can memorize it. I understand you are an athlete, an inspiration to others, but you can ruin what I did after 4 hours of surgery.” I was not happy because I feel great, I have no pain. I wanted to hear my acclaimed surgeon tell me I am a miracle (which he did say..sort of) but he shut me down! He said “You need to just stop this, I have patients once in a while like you. You scare me.”He put me in my place rapidly. I was like look at me, and he was like NO you are doing things way to soon. Dios Mio! So I was totally shut down.

I will start a new therapy next week. I am being humble. I have so many who follow me and think Michele is amazing and strong. I am, and I am also obstenate, stubborn and think that I know what is right. Hah, I have met my match. This doctor is very good at what he does. In fact, he told me during my first visit. He gave me his percentage of success for results.  I believe it is 96% success for surgery, but I am the person that gives this wonderful doctor the 4% of bad results. I think I know better. I do not. He was brought into my consultation yesterday because his young doctors learning from him are following me closely. I am NOT young, I am very athletic, and I am stubborn and I hate that someone tells me to do therapy that is too easy. I even asked my surgeon “how are the others at this two month mark?”He said not like you at all. AHHAH I felt vindicated, but alas, I was again put in my place. I am doing much better, but again in his words Ï am scared by patients like you”

So yesterday was a lesson in humility. He made the intern doctors do an exam of moving my legs and I was great, but he made them stop. He said “No more”and talked to me again. He speaks English, like I speak Spanish. We communicate fine. He was very explicit in his instructions of my next month before I see him again. I will do what he says, and I will be very careful. So that is where I am. I am starting a new physical therapy and I will do exactly as instructed. I know I am not the normal patient now, which I knew before. However, I think my world renowned surgeon prefers the people who listen and do exactly as he says. Stay tuned for a follow-up. I am admitting I was wrong, and perhaps I am overreaching. Michele

 

 

 

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Posted in Colombia, Colombian healthcare, exercise, expat life, friendship, hip surgery, Journal of surgery for hips, life lessons, strength, Uncategorized

Fast Healing

There is something resilient about me, and it is a quality that I like about myself. When I decide I’m going to do accomplish something, I do it. Sometimes it might take me awhile but I do what I say I’m going to do. I also don’t dwell on negativity, bad energy, or the mistakes I’ve made in my past. I just get on with my life. We should always put ourselves first before anyone, so that we can enjoy healthy relationships with others. To love oneself, to respect oneself, and to achieve respect from others are great gifts in life. I have suffered, but through my suffering I have become very wise.

I have realized since I started writing my book that I cared too much about what others thought, and not enough about  what I need. Now, when I encounter situations that are unexpected, I figure out ways to fix the problem if there is one, or to embrace good news wholeheartedly with joy in my heart. I also have found what real friendship is since moving to Colombia. My friends in my tiny little pueblo have been contacting me every single day to see how I am. Some of the people who have contacted me I didn’t even know they knew I was having surgery.  I love this quote “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time” Maya Angelou. I believe that I have people who truly care for me here in Colombia and I also believe I’ve earned the respect of many with what I have accomplished and continue to accomplish.

I don’t necessarily believe that the goal in life is to have unconditional happiness. I believe that life is about learning and growing. I don’t seek out anyone with persistence, in fact I like being alone with my contemplations. I allow myself to have space and time when I’ve made mistakes to ponder what I can do differently the next time. Oftentimes, it is listening to yourself and not letting others influence you in decisions that should be yours alone.

I wrote about being afraid before my hip surgery in my last blog. There is one thing I’ve counted on all of my life and that is exercise. I envisioned not being able to hike  nor do Yoga because of the rare hip condition I developed. Exercise is sanity to me. It is healing to me. Exercise is a habit I can’t imagine being without. As I write my book, l realize it is integral to everything that is part of my history, both good and bad. So I had a basis for my fear. Once again, I needlessly worried and my results have been spectacular. I have steadfastly done what the doctors have asked, including taking a lot of medication that makes me sleepy, and exercises that physical therapists showed me while I was in the hospital. I’m free of the pain in my hips and I have not even started my 20 days of special therapy ordered by my surgeon.

Yesterday l walked two blocks down the road to the hairdresser with my crutches, and of course Jazmine was with me. I was slow, it was a bit nerve wracking because I thought maybe I’m doing too much, then I walked back up the hilly road. Today, I could walk without crutches if I wanted to, but I’m not going to. I’m following instructions. I’m certainly surprised by my progress. I am hoping that perhaps I won’t have to stay as long in Cali, Colombia when my surgeon sees me next week. That perhaps he will release me after a short time of therapy here to finish physical therapy in Palmira and I can be back to my Paradise and my animals. If he won’t I am ok with that too. Oh, and this morning a hummingbird came to the feeder I put outside on the patio. If that isn’t a good sign I don’t know what is.

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My quiet little neighborhood 
Posted in child death, Colombia, Devastating sadness, Disappointment, family, Grief, life lessons, love, Nature Symbolism, parents of deceased children, Spiritual Presence, Uncategorized

A Dream

The cover photo is Villa Migelita Ecolodge the very first time I visited. I had been looking at many properties and I knew immediately when I saw this Villa it was the place I had been waiting to find.

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This photo was also taken on my first visit, look at the Orb. Misha is with me here. She is in a parallel universe, but she shows up sometimes and I cannot ignore the signs. A definite angel in the light of my photo.

I loved the Italian style look of this old Villa, I loved the wildness and the mountain views. I wanted to live in a climate that had no need for air conditioning. I enjoy the tranquility of my Villa which is now a legal hotel in the rain forest of Colombia. I could see it was just in need of some loving attention. Butterfly video and photos 008

The American and Colombian flags fly high

Today Misha would be 29 years old. Yesterday I went to where she is buried in her special garden to talk to her. I don’t do this often because I see her special resting area all the time, and I feel her presence. Today, I felt her drawing me to the garden where a simple angel marks her resting place. The angel was turned on its side. I sat it upright and thought she wanted me to do this. She is around me in her soul presence. When I feel especially sad she sends me a hummingbird, and always the same kind. She sent one on Friday. It is the Long billed hermit hummingbird of Colombia. My housekeeper called me because she found it in my office. Always they enter my office, and always the same species. Misha knows this is my place to write and to watch all of my hummingbirds. The interesting part is this species do not ever use the feeders, I rarely see them from the window of my office: except one comes almost every morning and looks at me through the window for a moment and leaves.

I recently wrote a blog about a time when Misha and I were having problems. All these times seem so long ago. But they exist and need to be written down so that many who were cruel to me during the time of her death know how cruel they actually were. I am writing for my healing.  It is not true that one gets over a death of a beloved person as years pass. It is also not the truth that even if the person who has died did horrible things to you, your love didn’t exist. What is true is you feel confusion about the grief you carry inside for the rest of your life. I still have my memories of all the wonderful times from my life with her, but I have awful memories too. That is why I’m writing these blogs in preparation for the book that I’m writing simultaneously. I want to be clear about how a child that took me to the depths of despair was also one who took me to the heights of love.

Recently I had a dream where she came to me. It has been so long since this has happened. I was back in time, the time when I was preparing for my move to Colombia. I was in her room, and I was boxing things and they were from many years of redecorating her room. Remember, this is a dream and actually the room had been empty of her personal possessions for a long time, but in my dream it was the way her room looked the last time it had been redecorated. I felt deep and unrelenting sadness as I picked up items that brought memories with them. I could see the colors of sheets, the stripes in these floor cushions she had, the curtains that covered her closet. It was all so detailed. Then she appeared and was just watching. Tears were falling from her eyes, and we made eye contact. Her hair was blond like in high school. She gave me her lips together half-smile as the tears fell. Then the tears became snowflakes frozen on her face and I woke up.

As I lay in the darkness on my bed I tried to go back to sleep and to the dream, just to see her again. I wanted to understand why the snowflakes? I understood the tears, as I had them falling down my face when I awoke. She feels badly about how she left this world and me. We had a love that transcended the bad times, a love that was flawed but real. A love that no one can take from me with gossip or lies about the actual reality of our relationship. The reality she knew and the truth of the last years of her life when she changed so dramatically.

The significance of this dream is something I will never know, but I realize she is sad for me. She is also in my sphere of the Universe still. This dream makes me realize that my dream of having a hotel and continuing on with my life as best I can is the best way to deal with such deep rooted memories of another lifetime. A situation I carry inside me. Until I write everything down, I will feel incomplete.

Maybe the snowflakes mean she is frozen in time, somewhat like myself. Even though I have accomplished so much, I continue to transmit to those around me, pieces of myself that Misha shattered and left me to deal with. By writing this on the day she was born 29 years ago, I am committing myself to telling the truth, the good and the bad. The joy that I felt  that day when she entered this world was transcendent, the sadness I felt when she left this world was transcendent.

Her birthday holds more significance than her death day, because she had the world and life before her. She made wrong choices as she grew into her teen years. She left me alone to deal with all of it after she was killed. My way of getting on with my life is certainly controversial to some, and maybe to others quite impressive. Whatever may be in anyone’s minds is not of importance to me. What is important is that Misha didn’t have the chance to grow into the woman she should have become and live her life as a mother, sister, and a daughter. With that I wish her a Happy Birthday and can only hope she is still actually with me, because she came to me in a dream.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Awakening, child death, Colombia, Devastating sadness, Disappointment, Entreprenuer, expat life, freedom, friendship, Grief, happiness, love, Uncategorized

Sadness

Sad.  The word used to describe me recently was correct. To be honest that’s how I live inside my mind often, but I usually never give in to it. Even when I awake in the morning feeling deep heaviness of heart. I get up and get going, my mornings include watching my birds and hummingbirds: photographing and viewing them here at Villa Migelita Ecolodge. It is not always about Misha,  although she is certainly part of this sadness. This feeling is something different. It has been pushed back, hidden deep inside my being. Like a child who has been abused and has no recall until years later. As I’ve written before I get through this life after her death because I try not to think about what has happened in my life since she changed at the age of fifteen. I’ve questioned whether it is healthy to just not think about it. I certainly have found out others pick up on this side of me of which I am not aware is being projected. I let myself feel grief when I didn’t see Amaya recently and I found out the true character of someone. I was hit twice in the gut. After a few weeks of searching for why, I realized what really hit me so hard. First of all it has been almost nine years since my daughter was murdered. Why is there this constant need by those who are part of Amaya’s life to continue to persecute me about what Misha decided to do with her life? She had free will. I was her parent who did not believe the choices she was making were correct. That is being a parent! Now these same people are hurting a child. I’m used to feelings of despair, I can handle it because despite all the negativity towards me I’ve gone on to create a lovely hotel and lifestyle. Amaya is a child, she should have nothing but love around her. All love is good love, from anyone who is part of her life. Amaya is not a reason to hurt others through revenge. Again, because all of the decisions Misha made in her short life were hers, albeit she was surrounded by really bad influences in high school.  I just tried to parent her as best as I could parent a rebellious child who was doing really bad things. Look for it all in my book, and believe me I will be sharing every single detail. It is a movie in the making.

So back to this new self discovery. I discovered I am mourning happiness. Moving to Colombia was a good move for me to get away from those who continued to harass me despite what they knew about Misha. I was their person to bully. I am no longer going to allow it. I am going to tell the truth to the world, and I know there are many families who have a Misha in their lives. Hopefully, you can let yourself let go of what you had no control over. When I let myself  feel sadness after I was not allowed to see Amaya  recently I let myself cry. I don’t cry much since Misha passed. Not because I’m embarrassed or trying not to. I just don’t cry.  I can watch a really sad show and not cry, I can see awful news about children being taken from their parents over immigration, I even lost my dog Bruno Mars while I was on my homeless tour of the United States and I didn’t cry. I realize this is not normal, but this is how I cope. I have become immune to a lot of bad things. I do react when confronted with wrong, but I never confront anyone, it is really hard for me to do.

So when I cried recently about being kept from Amaya it wasn’t this hysterical crying, it was  a day of sad tears and a day of talking out loud. Just needing to speak about the positive and negative things. I talked to those closest to me during that time, and I was also very silent and reflective. I then get myself back to the place I keep my sadness inside my mind. That place of not thinking about how horrible the human race is. This is why I love my place in Colombia, I am surrounded by animals and nature. They don’t do bad things on purpose. To hurt someone without reason.

Since I’ve returned to Colombia I’m back to moving forward. I’m doing my normal routine and feeling content. The thing that is missing is that happiness I felt after so many years. My book editor wrote me I’m mourning the loss of affection, because I’ve become my own best friend after so many years. Such wise words. I haven’t felt much happiness for a long time. I have felt contentment, I have felt love from my extended family here in Colombia, I am loved by my animals. But happiness is elusive. My other mother called me last night and she said “Michele, you have never allowed yourself to grieve properly, you keep looking for that happiness, it might never be there for you again.” She is right. I might never have it again, but I will have peace and beauty. I will have the love of the people I know are by my side. That is a wonderful thing. I can live with that. So my homeless tour was filled with lessons, and my other mother Laverne  said to me what I needed to hear. “Michele let yourself grieve, you never have. You have always been defending yourself against things you had no control over. You left and that was good, but now you need to let yourself feel that grief.”

She is right. I am writing it down in my book. It is hard. I have been remembering and discovering memories that cause me a lot of pain. I will get through this phase in my life, just like I get through everything, with grace and with patience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Alternative Lifestyle, Awakening, child death, Colombia, Devastating sadness, Disappointment, Entreprenuer, expat life, family, freedom, friendship, Grief, happiness, Order, parents of deceased children, Perfection and Peace, Uncategorized

Without a Roof

What a week, a week of self discovery and a week of acknowledgement about the reality of my life. I’m on a journey that I didn’t expect to take. As I look in the mirrors of the various places I have stayed I’ve found a resilience that is ingrained inside the makeup of the person I am.  I myself didn’t even know how strong I am until this week of wandering from place to place, like a homeless person. I’ve rediscovered that grief I felt when Misha passed. I am right here where my granddaughter is, and I haven’t seen her. I’m her link to her deceased mother, and she is my link to my deceased daughter. We need each other.

One of my dearest friends had some people over when I stayed at her house while on this “homeless tour of friend’s houses ” and she point-blank asked me “how do you survive all of these things that are so gut wrenching awful?” She made me think about my innate character. What does get me through such pain, while others would curl up and leave life by escaping through drugs, alcohol or depressive  behavior? As I’ve moved from place to place I’ve been finding answers.

I’m really loved by a lot of people. Funny thing is they are people I’ve collected along the way on this voyage of life. The list of true friends seemed to grow smaller as I’ve grown older: while in actual fact it has grown larger. I just didn’t know because my focus was on my survival. I refuse to let the actions of other people change me. I know the difference between right and wrong, I know that it sometimes takes a lot of patience to achieve a goal, whatever that goal may be. Such as my own hotel, it is still growing and I might never see it succeed completely but I won’t give up.  I know it is wrong to give a child away, no matter your life circumstances, and I might not have seen my granddaughter Amaya this time, but when I do I will explain to her this is not normal behavior.

I’ve found out I don’t like being a vagabond, I’m a person who likes order even when traveling. I’ve been dragging my suitcases  into many homes this trip. I didn’t expect this, and because I needed to hire an attorney in this emergency situation I had to ask people for help. They all stepped up and I have reconnected with people I was long overdue to see, including my son. As I met up with everyone I was discovering they all have advice for me, and I have listened. I’ve laughed more than I have in a long time, and I’ve talked and have been given validation for my concerns. I’ve snuggled with my mother’s former caregiver who embraced me like she always did when she was at my house all the time. She made me smile with stories of CJ and Misha. Her son made the best fried chicken I’ve ever had and she pressed my shirt before I left because she didn’t want me to have on a wrinkled shirt. Little acts of love, and kindness that have brought joy back to my shattered heart.

My friend who asked me the question about how I get through life, made me giggle with memories too. Reminiscing about those memories of my children’s childhood was so wonderful. I realized and told her the same, I suppress my grief by not thinking about these bad things I can’t change. I also try not to think much about how I have a murdered daughter, and now a granddaughter who is being alienated against me. I have patience and I feel my lawyer Howard Friedman will prevail. It’s that simple and it works for me. I’m not sure if it’s healthy, but I’ve accomplished a lot even in all the adversity. So I guess my advice to others is, do what helps you. Because if you are not healthy, you will not be able to help anyone else.

My former nanny’s and my daughter’s best friend Destiny hold such special significance to me. Maybe it is my destiny that they are my children, along with my Jazmine who lives with me in Colombia. I’m certainly treated as if I’m their mother along with being given advice and a bit of typical behavior as I’ve watched them grow into lovely and loving young women. They delight my soul with the way they have chosen different life paths. They also give me something I really need, they let me feel like a mother to daughter’s. I was never able to complete my time with Misha, but I have them. I love them and love is truly what life is about. Especially, Gaby, and her little precious son. The last stop before I go back to my simple, minimalist life in Colombia. She has little chickens she hatched for her son. IMG_4721

If any of these wonderful young women are most like me, it would be Gaby. She has house chickens and she is as unique and free-spirited as I am. Look at her in her  boots! She never stops cleaning the house, just like I did for so many years. When I told her that I no longer need to do this in Colombia, she said good for you. You have found a life that is working for you. IMG_4722

She is right, I have found a life that works for me. Anyone who tries to demean or speak negative about my life and what I’ve accomplished are not worthy of an answer. I’m unique, I’m a survivor, and I will continue to share my thoughts because there are many of you who follow my blog that need to see you can get up and keep going even when life deals you blow after blow. I still have that smile on my face no matter what. The journey continues and at some point in time mine will be peaceful, without drama brought from others. Until that time, I am going to take in lessons that others teach me and use them to better myself.

Posted in child death, Colombia, Colombian life, Order, Perfection and Peace, photo challenge, photo challenge, Spiritual Presence, storms, Uncategorized, Waiting

The Layers of Life

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/layered/

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The sun upon the mountains in Colombia

When I hear the word layered I think of my life. If I go back through time I can actually envision in my mind peeling the layers away as it unfolded. When I look at this photo of the mountains I think of each layer as representing portions of my life. The green foliage in the front portion is me starting to grow and move in different directions, as do the lines of the trees. Which way will shape my future, which path did I choose? The sun hitting the front row of trees points directly to a path of beauty and more sunshine. You can follow that path all around the picture and see the sun illuminates it. The right side shows the trees ending in a shadow, cut short from completion. The left side is cut off and we the observer’s are left without knowledge of where the trees end up.

When I think of all I have lived through, the good and the bad, one of the hardest parts of life is deciding to walk away or try harder. As we get older memories encompass us, thus making us question our choices and decisions in life. Normal thoughts because our younger selves think we will be young forever.

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A  small rainstorm in the Valle del Cauca
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Storm clouds completely cover the landscape of the Colombian mountains

So which path is my life story ending? Am I going to walk the straight path that follows the mountain around bathing in the sunshine? Am I going to go to the left which leads me to an unknown future waiting to be discovered? Am I going to turn to the right that is in the shade and then just stop and stay forever in obscurity, questioning all the memories that find me, thinking about what could have been?

Maybe I will be the second photo where small storms enter but exit quickly. Sunshine appears again and I am happy for a while and then another downpour erupts which I deal with; then the sun comes out again. This scenario makes the most sense and is what most people encounter as we live our lives.

Hopefully, I won’t peel my layers back on life and find the last photo. Dark, disturbing clouds full and ready to burst with a torrential downpour.  Because I am tired of the copious rain in my life. I  have had these layers in my life before, when my daughter was murdered, when her murderer was let to go free. I have more resilience in all aspects of my life because of her death, I am wise like I never was before, I am forgiving and thoughtful about many things that happen to me.

Since I have moved to Colombia I have had these dark clouds appear and deluge me with situations that seem impossible, but I have been able to get my life back to the second photo that is just a quick storm passing through. In reality the first photo where the trees go off to the left and we don’t know where they will end up is probably my route. Preemptively the direction most of us take. Because as much as we want the passage through the mountains with all of the sunshine and the happiness this is not reality. It is the movie you watch that has the perfect ending.

So I will continue to peel those layers that are actually years in my life and let each day help me discover a new beginning. One that is the mountain path of sunshine, but I will accept those storms that trail me sometimes and I will conquer them.

 

 

 

Posted in animal death, animal rights, Colombian life, expat life, Grief, photo challenge, Spiritual Presence

That Rainbow Bridge

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/bridge/

michele and Yuki
Yuki and me

The loss of a pet is devastating. I have had too many losses here in Colombia. Life is different from what those of you who have pets in your home with a fenced yard. Especially when you have a farm. The smaller dogs know how to escape even if you have a fence. Which I do. They can squeeze through the smallest spaces. This is what happened to Yuki.

I had a change in employment here at Villa Migelita . Yuki was never really my dog. He was rescued by my former employee from the street in Palmira, Colombia. I took care of Yuki. He was fed by me, he was vaccinated by me, he was living on my farm in luxury and if he needed the Veterinarian he went. He had such a will to live. He was almost killed twice by Orion my beautiful Dogo Argentino. They never liked each other.

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Orion the King

Yuki had a warrior spirit. He was a little dog with a big attitude.

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Yuk on a tube in San Cipriano, Colombia

He was always happy, a smile on his face constantly. He actually loved swimming with Orion in my natural pool at Villa Migelita.  

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Yuk and Marley

He would get along with Orion most of the time, but sometimes he just provoked Orion and twice he almost died.  I guess his time on this Earth was ready to end when the latest situation happened. I had been keeping Yuki separated from Orion for a long time. They were fine as long as they were outside. I have a beautiful doghouse and patio area for all of my dogs on the first floor.

Yuki with his family
The whole gang

When the last employee left Yuki left too. I would go for a hike and I would see him. I would call for him to come home. He wouldn’t. He kept waiting for his rescuer to come for him. I would call for him, and sometimes he would appear and I could get him back to my house to feed him. This is the last time I was with Yuki.

Last photo of Yuki
Yuki and myself last month

He had lost so much weight. I was able to bring him back to eat. He stayed overnight, but the next day he was gone again. Then I had the veterinarian come to the house with the yearly vaccinations. I had him bring Yuki’s also. They are still in my refrigerator. I need to remove them, but I can’t. It is so final. I was always calling for Yuki when I fed the dogs. I know he heard. My pueblo is small and he knew when dinnertime and breakfast was. He would no longer come. That day I went out searching for Yuki. I knew he was now living in the street.

Yuki died of a broken heart. I know this. The last photo above is the last time I spent with him. He was sad. His eyes conveyed to me his sadness. I tried with all of my heart to get him to come home. He wouldn’t. So I feel such responsibility about this senseless death. Dogs are so loyal, they will die when they lose a person they adore and love. Yuki loved me but he loved the employee more. I couldn’t save him.

Every morning I am waking up sad. Then I remember why. Yuki. The dog that was found on the street and died on the street. Senseless. I hope he is with my other dogs in doggie heaven.

With that I say thank you again for all the wonderful messages about Yuki. I can understand a death from old age, from an accident, but this was just senseless to me. Yuki choose to die because his best friend was gone. He loved me but he loved him more.