The Legacy of Women

Me with (L to R) Marisol, my mom, and Ivelisse

Me with (L to R) Marisol, my mom, and Ivelisse

You can be around people and not even realize how much power they hold…all the stories of their lives, the love and tragedies, the overcoming and enjoying. I got to spend an amazing weekend and more with three amazing women. Now that we are all off to our own parts of the world, I am realizing the amazing legacy I am a part of because of them and what a gift I have in each of them. This female counter-part to the three musketeers are my mother, Angelines Del Riego, and her two best friends from high school, Alma Olalla (known as Marisol), and Ivelisse de la Cruz. All three are Dominican women, born and raised in the mountains of the Dominican Republic. Today, they each live in different parts of the world, yet…I recently enjoyed their company and even now, weeks later, am still feeling their powerfully, loving presence. 

These three women went to high school together. Since then, decades have passed. Marriages have taken place, children have been born (me included of course), and divorces have happened and new loves have been found. My first weekend back to the Dominican Republic included a long weekend on private beaches in Samana with these three women and my two younger brothers. Marisol works in real estate and rents out amazing apartments in great locations on the islands. She put together an amazing time for us, which was such a gift. Thanks Marisol! She lives in Miami currently, but goes back and forth between there and Santo Domingo often. Her spirit is kind and positive, with a constant drive to serve and help others. She is down-right inspiring and encouraging.

Mama and me with Marisol and her husband and son.

Mama and me with Marisol and her husband and son.

Ivelisse is the shortest of all of us, yet has a heart and soul that stand so tall. She is a mighty woman with her intuition. When she feels something and knows something, she also knows the moment to share it and how to share her insight. Right now she lives in La Vega, which is in the mountains of the Dominican Republic, but she travels often to the capital city, Santo Domingo. She is helping our family with the establishment of a foundation in my grandfather’s name, which is a non-profit that is to oversee the management of projects in the land we have in the Dominican Republic. Not only is her help related to business, but her insightful gifts of intuition have been an encouragement to our family for as long as I’ve been alive. Over a year ago, she learned that she had breast cancer and had to have one breast removed. Today, she is in remission but continues the battle on behalf of others who are in need of better medical aid in the Dominican Republic. Her resolve and dedication is evident in her relationships with others and her commitment to herself and her health.

Me with Ivelisse

Me with Ivelisse

And, last but certainly not least (or in other words because she simply is the most special to me)…there is my mother, Angelines Maria Del Riego. Oh mama…what a woman you are. An artist with passion and excitement that continues to amaze and inspire me. I am so much like my mom even while I naturally have my differences. Painter, singer, guitar player…art is in her blood. Born and raised in Jarabaco, Dominican Republic, she embarked on the adventure of marrying an American, living thirty-some years in the United States, having three kids (me being the first) and now lives in Spain.  Whew…what a trip! And that’s not even all the details. To this day, I continue to be amazed and so touched at how much she loves my brothers and me and our family. No matter what she is going through, she wants to be there for us and she is. My mom loves to help people and to live life with such gusto, such passion and enjoyment. Her energy of love and perseverance seem to be bottomless. There’s really no words that can do justice or description to the woman that she is.

Mama looks like one of us kids!

Mama looks like one of us kids!

All three women have the following Dominican traits in common that my brothers and I know all too well from spending over a week with the three of them together…talking extremely fast, talking extremely loud, loving great music and loving to dance. Not to mention that they all still dance great and can dance the entire night away. I know…I tell people all the time that my mother can still out-dance me. Aside from being Dominican and growing up together through high school, they each love their children with an endless dedication and they each have their amazing stories and lessons. I see now how I have been so gifted by getting to have them in my life and for the legacy they leave to me. They are some of the most powerful women in my life. It is because of their love and their spirits combined,  that their love and dedication to themselves is now carried on in my life. I see now that this is what legacy is all about. How grateful I am, that these legacies, among several others in my life, come with that great, passionate Dominican flavor! Muchas gracias!

Then...(surprise party they threw my mom when she went to Wisconsin for a year of high school)

Then…(surprise party they threw my mom when she went to Wisconsin for a year of high school)

...and now!

…and now!

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6 responses to “The Legacy of Women

  1. Thank you for making this legacy come alive in your writings!
    I am proud to be your mother and a part of that legacy in your life.

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