martes, 29 de octubre de 2013

Lando Hayes, el biznieto de la Tia Eloi ya tiene dos meses

Y sonrie, gorgojea y sonrie de nuevo.

Y nuestra Savannah ya habla con oraciones completas en ambos idiomas.

sábado, 24 de agosto de 2013

THERE IS A NEW MAN IN MY LIFE - La Tía Eloi didn't get to meet him.

I want to announce the arrival of my new love, this little man named Lando Hayes came into this world today August 24, at 8:02 PM weighing 7 lbs 9 oz. and 54 cm. long….....

He is my first grandchild. I wish my mom would have made it until his birth.

Although we haven't met yet, the bond that exists between us is already there, at least on my part when I fell in love the moment I received the phone call

I think that his parents picked a very classy name; why, I can imagine him running as a candidate for President or being a famous movie actor

sábado, 6 de julio de 2013


This is the question that has been

 nagging me since my mother's passing

 last January 31.

Mind you, it is purely speculative and not motivated by any kind of guilt. I tried my best to make those last years of her life the best she ever had. I took her to France on one trip, then on another to Spain; I bought her an apartment in Santo Domingo when she decided to move there and take care of her younger sister.

She was a finicky eater, so I often would prepare something different and separate than what the rest of the household ate, I pampered her and would not allow her to do any my mind, she had been a maid when she worked and now in her later years should be a maid no longer.

But something peculiar happened a couple of nights ago that has left me baffled...Sometime around midnight I heard her steps...they were typically hers as she minced and shuffled her plastic slippers on the tile floor. I am sure it had to be someone in our household but when I asked nobody claimed to be up at that hour.

A couple of weeks after her passing I saw her in a dream and she was a bit agitated and said: “I don't even know how I got here”...that was the extent of the dream albeit she looked much younger.

My question is really this: If our essence, our intellect, our it our soul, somehow transcends that event of losing its physical body...are we then in the shape we were at the time of passing to the other side or are we younger, spry and a bit more cogent?

Of course, I don't have the answer for that and neither does anybody else. I sense there is something beyond because when I was a passenger in a car involved in a head on collision I went through the proverbial tunnel and felt elated...I was devoid of pain and welcomed the transition...only as I travelled at breakneck speed there was a voice I heard saying: “you're too young to die” and I woke up after being unconscious.

But that one experience did have some significant and profound for me and my life. For one, I knew then that all religions were false, fabricated. For another, I knew that we have to live our lives to the fullest without hurting others. I also acquired a new outlook: It is my duty as a human being to leave a better place than I found it.

The NDE and the Tunnel
Kevin Williams' Research Conclusions

One theory used to explain the near-death phenomenon has nothing to do with death at all. It states that NDEs are actually memories of birth. A baby being born leaves the womb to travel down a tunnel towards a light, and what waits for it in the light is usually a great deal of love and warmth. What happens at the point of death is only a stored memory of what happened when life began. Yet again there are a lot of points that don't match: a baby being born does not exactly float at high speed down a tunnel, but is buffeted along with difficulty by its mother's contractions. And how does this model explain the meeting with friends and relatives who have died? The Being of Light is supposed to be the midwife or the doctor who rules the delivery room - but many babies are born without a midwife or doctor present, or perhaps with many people present. On a purely practical level, a baby's nervous system is not sufficiently developed to allow it to assimilate and store memories of the birth process.

Those who argue this theory say that the feelings of peace and bliss are a memory of the peace of the womb when all physical needs were met by the mother and there were no stresses and strains. Why should this be any more likely than the feelings of peace and bliss are relief from the pain of illness and injury at the point of death? However, being born is often not a pleasant experience for babies which leaves them crying as if in agony. In contrast, NDEs are more often described as the most pleasurable experience a person can have. The birth process is not pleasant.”

What may surprise most everyone, is that I am actually looking forward to that transition, to my demise. After all, I have lived a very full life, filled with love and a lot of moments of happiness. I have actually lived five lifetimes it seems while most people only live one.

This website offers a whole bunch of Extraordinary NDE Tunnel Experiences:

Seen from another perspective, that of an Atheist, there are significant differences and contradictions. I will not refute either one but suggest that you visit this website and draw your own conclusions:


jueves, 4 de julio de 2013


The day a great nation was born , that calls for a drink...let's toast to this nation of ours and also thank all those brave men and women in uniform.

lunes, 1 de abril de 2013

jueves, 31 de enero de 2013


When she was learning to walk men were learning to fly, when she was learning to talk, men stopped talking to each other altogether and started World War I.
With great trepidation and foreboding I write this about my mom. Yes, she’s gone and I will miss her and her smile which was rare due to her cantankerous nature; but just because it wasn’t frequent it was just what made it so special, I will miss having become the parent and her the child.
La Gran Dama Eloi, which inspired me to write a book and then make it into a blog; telling her story, compiling her account of events and her experiences during her very long life. Mom made it to see her 97th birthday and somehow I had the feeling it was her last as she blew the 9 and 7 candles on the cake my partner’s mother baked for her. 
My mom (right) and her sister Nina (left)
My mom traveled often to her birthplace in Cuba; sometimes even more than twice a year and even before it was legal to do so prior to the U.S. Government allowing Cuban-Americans permission to visit relatives.
 She had a brother 17 years younger whom she raised and who she regaled the status of son. There was also the only other surviving Valiente sibling: my aunt Nina, ten years younger and in poor health. My mom was so attached to these two that she managed to get my aunt out of Cuba and have her go to the Dominican Republic where she cared for her until just a couple of years ago when she became very sick and returned to Cuba for free medical care.
After my aunt’s passing I brought her to live with me and my partner’s extended family and all seven of us lived harmoniously with a sprinkle of drama provided by mom who was by all accounts the epitome of the Cuban drama queen.
During one of my mom’s earlier visit to Cuba, at the time the Cuban government was more than happy to have the exiles visit and bring American dollars…but there was a catch: they had to take a “tour” where they were shown the supposedly great accomplishments of the Revolution. My mom arrived in Cuba just about the time the funeral procession for her sister was departing for the cemetery, the eldest of the Valiente family died and mom did not get to see her as she was only able to witness the closed casket as it was lowered into the family vault.
Our hometown – Bejucal – town center
But mom’s grief made her forget everything and in the process skipped the “tour” offered by the Cuban government which was supposed to be “voluntary” but as she was departing on her return to America she was questioned about not taking the “tour” and she told the first Cuban Immigration official that she almost missed her sister’s funeral; then one very arrogant Cuban Immigration official said to her: “Señora, I see here that you didn’t take advantage of the generosity of our great revolution in the offering of a free tour to show you traitor exiles how we have progressed and made such great accomplishments” 
The street where we lived,
taken from the front porch
My mom responded to him with a litany of profanities and insults to which the poor man was so humiliated that the only reaction he could muster was to slap her in the face and threaten her to not allowing her to get on the plane until she took the tour. Somehow, there was a supervisor who may have overheard the man’s arrogance and allowed my mom to board the plane and when she did, the flight that was being delayed because of her incident…all the passengers applauded when they saw her come in the door.
I think that is the one incident that defined my mom best: a fighter, a progressive liberal, who voted not for Democrats but against any and all Republicans, one who loved her adopted country – America with the great passion and patriotism as she did her native land. She was a combative and antagonistic person who was unflappable and not easily silenced; after all, she had to be that and more to be able to have been married to my father for more than 55 years.
My mom, just like most Cuban women employed the guilt technique on family and friends and if the Jewish moms are said to use this to the hilt; I think my mom would give them a run for their money. Once such incident I found amusing was when she gave me two shirts for my birthday. I of course had to say I liked them and thanked her and then wore one for the first time. She saw me, looked at the shirt and said: “I see you’re wearing the shirt I gave you as a gift for your birthday…what’s the matter, you didn’t like the other one?”
My mom’s cigar table may have 
looked like this after a day’s labor
My mom started working making cigars in our hometown tobacco factory when she was 11 and never stopped working even after she retired at age 89 and did so only because she went to take care of her sister in Santo Domingo; to her work was not a burden but a pleasure and one of the few people I have known who actually looked forward to the next day in order to go to work…even when the work she did was strenuous or demeaning…she did it all, from making cigars to supervising the Cuban Lottery’s weekly drawings, from domestic servant to factory work. She also returned to trade school in her fifties and learned to sew and that provided her with a skill to secure a loftier better paying job as a seamstress which is what she did until she retired.
She is survived by me, the only son and two grand-daughters: Diurys Olivia Murphy and Darlyn Odette Rodriguez-Hayes both of Seattle, Washington.
I want to thank each and everyone who has been so gracious and kind by offering me support and get well wishes. 
Cuentos de la Tía Eloi -
My mom as a 20 year old, her nickname 
was “El Merenguito” (the cream puff)
Por Raúl Rodríguez Valiente Copyright 2008, 1-94170031 Estos cuentos cubren un periodo de aproximadamente 100 años, visto tras los grises ojos de Eloina Valiente, nonagenaria dama que nos relata y obsequia con una ojeada a la Cuba de ayer al igual que las observaciones de Eloi de sucesos y temas contemporáneos. Es una tajada de la cultura, del pueblo, la historia de Cuba y en especial el pueblito de Bejucal.

martes, 29 de enero de 2013


La Gran Dama Eloi is one tough customer
Yesterday, even though her heart beat was extremely high and they can’t stabilize it…she was in good spirits and coherent. I tell you, the woman even looked radiant. I don’t know how she manages but for a 97 year old she has less wrinkles than I do.

She survived the hip operation which kills most people twenty years younger.

The physical therapist got her out of bed yesterday morning and was able to make her stand and take a few steps albeit with a bit of pain which she will not show. She is such a trooper.

Thanks everyone for your concern and your get well wishes.