This is the second time I have to tell my many friends of a passing.
Yesterday morning my wife of 48.5 years suffered a massive heart attack. She did not
experience pain and went "peacefully" ...
The experience was shattering, although there were plenty of signs that things were not good.
For some time she had been suffering, like her mother before her, from dementia, and was pretty much under 24/7 care.
She was one of the great ones;
exiled under Trujillo she excelled in her school in Boston winning a huge number of medals for academic excellence.
Upon her return to the DR, I met her on 15 August 1963. We became "novios" on Oct 10 and we were married on 26 December 1965..
I insisted on her studying at the university, since she had a full scholarship to Trinity College in Washington, DC. However, her mother would never let her go there, alone, so she applied to the UCMM (now PUCMM) in Santiago, which had just started classes in 1962.
She was one of 75 students admitted to Electro-Mechanical Engineering and was the only female. She graduated together with 12 companions in 1969.
She taught math at the Superior Agricultural Institute and in 1970 became a professor i n the UCMM...40 years later, somewhat affected by the onset of a type of dementia that features vertigo....She retired for active teaching.
During those 40 years she served a term in the Santiago city Council, she was the administrator of the government's tobacco company (CAT) a monster company back then that went toe to toe with Marlboro. In fact she brought in RJ REynolds to be able to compete...The first time that Leon Jimenes was scared..
She also did a Master of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, headed the Admissions office of UCMM, and several other positions...All in all a pretty fair haul for a gal from Mao.
According to UNESCO she was the first female electro-mechanical engineer in Latin America!
Oh yeah...all the while she had four c-sections, three boys and a girl, and we also raised 7 foster kids. including a doctor (known to more than a few DR1ers), three dentists, a computer engineer, a social worker and a housewife!...just to keep busy...again, a very Dominican thing to do.
Yesterday, after she was pronounced, she was prepared and then sent to the Blandino Funeral Home in Santiago.
Public viewing began at 7:00 and lasted until 11o p.m. I was amazed at the number of persons from all walks of life that appeared.
This morning at 8:00 viewing was renewed and at nine, my departmental director Diego Lopez, was kind enough to have a prayer session, again to a packed room...people continued to come and go, some for a long time and some just to "be seen" but all with nice sentiments.
At 3:00 we had a Mass by one of our colleagues, a Jesuit who was a particular friend of ours, and a 4:00 we took her to the cemetery of El Ingenio where she was placed in a family pantheon. I can't tell you how many tears flowed. (They are flowing as I write this)...losing a companion of 48 years is tough...no matter what. None of the brave front crap...they just flowed...
That was the end of the major trauma of death in the Dominican Republic. There are still nine days of masses at the Female Polytechnic Institute where people who could not make the public viewings will show up to pay their respects.
Intense two days Gut wrenching Loss, grief, sadness, exhaustion, resignation.