I have a friend who is a very important person in my life. I always tell her that she made me become a real person because before her I was like a little "wild animal". Debra and I met in 1993 when I was very young living in a "hole" in Camaguey, Cuba. With her help I came out of the hole and started learning things that changed my life in deep ways.
With Debra's help I traveled to Italy (first time ever going out of Cuba at age 23). Traveling out of island was hard, the whole process was complicated with lots of paper work. I didn't have the money or stamina for going through all the frustrations but she helped me be patient and the trip became a reality. I loved Italy! Being there was a real school, but as the day of my return approached I got nervous. I didn't want to go back to the hole in Camaguey. Then, Debra stopped me from doing a stupidity. I called her to say: "please Debra send me a copy of my birth certificate. I am going to stay over here with my new boyfriend. Some people I know are going to find me a job cleaning houses". Debra stopped me from doing so. She asked me to come back to Havana and offered me to live in her place. I knew that she was always right so I listened. That happened in 1995.
Living with my friend was one of the most important experiences of my life. With her I learned to believe in myself. I never thought that I was going to sell my art but she took my pieces to the USA while I was in Cuba and found ways to sell them with her friend's help. I never thought that I was going to be able to have a solo show of my work, but she made it possible for the first time in Havana. She found my first gallery ever in the USA. She made possible for me to visit the Art Institute of Chicago where I learned so much. She took me to New York City so I could see the city for the first time.
Debra introduced me to Marguerite (Bill's sister) who eventually introduced me to Bill, who married me a short time after we met and with whom I had my 2 beautiful children. Debra is behind anything good that ever happened to me. More than friends we consider ourselves sisters. We have spent long periods of time without seeing each other because of her work and my busy life, but we have always felt connected, we have always known that we're in each others hearts.
She came to visit me last December and it was wonderful. We reconnected and spent quality time catching up with each other's lives. Every time I see Debra is so special, because I put everything in perspective. I remember where I come from and how much I have accomplished because of her. She puts me in touch with my essence.
Imagine the shock when I found out that she had been diagnosed with cancer a few weeks after she left. I was devastated. But knowing how strong she is I saw later on that she had taken the news with such calm. Debra has the quality of being calm and thoughtful whenever there is a problem. I think that problems are afraid of her because she scares them. I have a deep faith that the cancer treatment is going to work great as it happened with my brother Rene. She's doing everything right, plus she has lots of support from relatives and friends. Debra has always been extremely healthy and physically active. I am sure that her body is going to do a great job helping itself recover and her mind is already in the right place.
With this post I wanted to share this treasure of friend that I have with you. I feel so lucky to have Debra in my life. Isn't it amazing how much a good friend can literally change us? She helped me find the right direction whenever I was wrong, she could always see beyond what I saw, she has always been understanding, never judgemental, she's modest and gentle and so smart.
I have said several times that before I had my children, there are 3 main people that have shaped me in deep ways and they are: My Mom, my friend Debra and my husband Bill. I feel really lucky.
I love you so much hermanita! And I send you tons of positive energy with this post!