Thursday, August 18, 2011

Attempting to see the light thru the tears....

Tita Peachy and Me :)
The month of July was supposed to be a glorious month filled with celebrations of life, love, and the pursuit of art. Unfortunately, things took a different turn with July. As much as I would want to hate July, and I have every right to, I won't. I will not survive this lifetime with hate inside me. I must be able to bring out the happiness somehow. Therefore, I will be strong and carry on...

I promise you all that I will have a cheery side to this blog at some point next week. But right now, I really need to dedicate this post to my beautiful, most wonderful aunt, May Meo-Martino, aka Tita Peachy.

Tita Peachy posing as usual :)

My aunt always had the uncanny ability to light up a room. She would saunter in, say in a loud sing-song voice, "HELLLLLLOOOOO!!!!!!" and come in with a big smile and light in her eyes. The life of any party, I always say :)

So pretty with her sunglasses on :)

When I was little she came from the Philippines to live with me and my parents. I thought she was so pretty!
My Mom, little Ro, and Tita Peachy, circa 1979 (?)

And super stylish and photogenic too! Always ready with a pose and smile :)

What a fashionista!

I seriously think that my gorgeous aunt started the Loop Rock Girl Revolution :)

Her family consisted of her husband, James, and her two kids, Kathleen and Jimmy.

Kathleen, Uncle James, Tita Peachy, and Jimmy. They clean up real good ;)

Tita Peachy has so much love and strength in her heart, soul, and body, that I seriously thought she can conquer the world..... Even cancer.....

The ever beautiful bride. This was taken when Tita Peachy and Uncle James renewed their vows.

Three years ago Tita Peachy was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. When she was told me her diagnosis I was devastated. How can this be? She was the healthiest out of all of my aunts and uncles. She was put on chemotherapy and radiation right away and her mastectomy was scheduled. I took time off of work to be with her at the hospital during her major operation.

Tita Peachy minutes before being taken away for surgery. Still with a smile on her face.

After her surgery we thought everything was over with the cancer. We all thought that she beat this awful disease and that she can start living her life again. Back to her old self. A little different, but still the same.

Her hair stated growing back in. It was so soft :)

Unfortunately it wasn't the case. The cancer kept on coming back, everywhere in her body. But my Tita Peachy still fought on. She wouldn't let this beat her. She would continue to fight this disease and fight it with all her being.

Tita Peachy and I enjoying brunch at the Signature Room in the John Handcock Building.

The best part of this is that she didn't let it discourage her. She still continued to dress up and look pretty. She still went out and traveled everywhere her little heart desired. She still walked in a room with a ready pose, the effervescent light in her eyes, and a big smile on her face.With or without her wig :P

Tita Peachy at Laura and Jerry's marriage celebration. The gracious hostess :)

Getting ready for a masquerade party :)

My aunt taking over the Grand Canyon (I think...)

I think this is Hawaii....

Wanting a laugh at Zanies in Chicago :)

Tita Peachy posing before a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

And her friends and family would stand beside her all the way.

Tita Peachy with Uncle James

Go Cubbies!!!

My cousin Kathleen and her mommy playing the slots in Vegas.

Her friends at a Breast Cancer Awareness Walk

Tita Peachy with her sister, my Aunt Beatriz... So pretty ladies :)

My aunt and her friend at the Botannical Garden.

The Desperate Housewives of Kenosha ;)

My aunt with her son, my cousin Jimmy

the happy family during Christmas 2010

My aunt with my adorable nieces and nephew

Tita Peachy with her baby sister, my Aunt Miriam

Tita Peachy with her brother, my Uncle Jim
My aunt and 3 of her 5 siblings :)

She was such an inspiration with her fight against this awful disease. I've learned a lot from her during this time. Never hold a grudge. Smile no matter what. Love with all your heart. Always look pretty no matter where you are or what you do. Appreciate every day. And most importantly, just be kind. Kindness is key to all happiness. Even when you feel like it's not worth it, or that it goes unappreciated. You feel a sense of a happy release and you will end up feeling better.

One of the last days I got a chance to spend with Tita Peachy we were at the hospital. With her liver failing from all the radiation and pain meds she still had a smile on her face and weathered the storm. I stayed as late as I could because I wanted to spend as much precious time I had with her. Before I left, she wanted to was get all dolled up and have an impromptu photo shoot. She asked if I had a camera, and of course I ALWAYS HAVE A CAMERA.... So I waited patiently while my Aunt Miriam fixed her wig and put on make up. She was already dressed in a snazzy velour jumpsuit. I took photos of her and with her family and friends with her. She was still oh so beautiful.

A week later, on my 35th birthday, Tita Peachy's amazing spirit left her tired body. She died peacefully in her home surrounded by her family.  According to my Aunt Miriam, she had a little smile on her face when she breathed her last breath.

The next day I had my monthly art show with Escapism at Maya Essence. I decided to put a little memorial for Tita Peachy with a few photos of her and I along with a small little blurb about the dedication piece.

"This is my aunt, May Meo-Martino. I call her Tita Peachy. She was the light in our eyes, the smile on our face, and gave us so much love. Sadly, she passed away on my birthday yesterday. She fought super hard to beat breast cancer. She desperately wanted that one extra day. My birthday wish was for her to no longer suffer from pain ever again. Happily, my wish was granted. Rest In Paradise, Tita Peachy.

<3 - Ro   AKA Weng :)"

I love you!