When I think life is hard, I think about this remarkable woman. Her name, Irma Lepe, otherwise know as Tia Irma.
And conversations with Tia Irma, also, reminds me of reading a history textbook in high school, her head full of knowledge. I always wish Col. Reynolds (my own personal war hero) and Tia Irma would met, I'm sure that they would talk for days about history.
Tia Irma had many tragedies and triumphs in her life.
Here are a few:
Tia Irma lost both her mother and sister in a car accident in her early 20's, she was the only survivor.
Tia Irma was a teacher and a school administrator in her mid 20's. In fact, she became a true professional in her field of education before she got married and in Mexico that is huge.
Tia Irma had emergency, life saving surgery in her late 20's.
And most important to her, she became a wife to Javier Lepe (Tio Javier) in her early 30's (that was old in Mexican standards). She and Tio Javier were married for nearly 30 years. Tio Javier passed away in 2002.
Tia Irma and Tio Javier never had children, however they did see the world. Ask her about her travels, she had plenty of stories to tell. In fact, I asked if saw Vladimir Lenin's embalmed body while she was in Russia, she did. I thought, wow, how lucky to see that. I believe the only countries that Tia Irma and Tio Javier didn't travel to were Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.
When I decided to accompany my good friend, Diane, to Vera Cruz, Mexico. I had no idea what a lovely, delightful woman she would be. She was generous with her time and home. Tia Irma showed us the beauty and the rich history that is Mexico, information that you don't hear about or see on T.V. She was the ultimate tour guide. She's the only person I know that had visited every single state in Mexico. She's one person that is up to do anything and she's in her 60's. She's a free spirit and so funny! In Tia Irma's little, red car, Diane, Tia Irma and myself were off to sight see. I especially loved Vera Cruz's oldest coffee house (El Grand Café de la Parroquia). It was the best!!! Rain or shine, we all were in the coffee house every single night, drinking our "lechero" (their version of a latte, but better)!
I'm so blessed to have known this remarkable woman. Tia Irma lost her battle with cancer on November 13th, 2007 in Vera Cruz, Mexico. She passed away quietly in her beloved house, the one she once shared with the love of her life (Tio Javier).
Tia Irma had many tragedies in her life, but that didn't stop her from living life to the fullest. Tia Irma appreciated everything she had, this included her relationships with friends and family. She's an example of what life gives you when you give to life. Tia Irma enriched my life in many ways for this I THANK HER!!!
And remember, "It's about living life with integrity, being honest with people that come across "your" path. Ask "yourself" these hard questions at the end of every day, 'Did you live life with integrity today? Did you move closer to your dreams and goals? Did you say 'I love you' to the ones you love? Did you smile a lot, did you laugh a lot? Did you meet someone new along the way? If the answer is yes, then that's a good day. And that's what I believe life is all about."
— 1985 hijacking victim Jackie Pflug
I hope her story inspires you to remember to appreciate life.