It’s been one month since Tia Valdiza passed away. It’s been one really tough month. Aunt Val had been living with my family for over 30 years. She never married or had kids. We were her family and her commitment to raising me, my brother, and my sister, was beyond words. She was not only my dear aunt, but my first grade teacher, who taught me to read and write, my roommate for 15 years, who read to me and tucked me in every night, and, most of all, one of the biggest inspirations in my life.
October just kept getting worse: my purse got stolen, with my phone and several important items inside, and a girl rear-ended me, giving me a concussion that left me tired and dizzy for days. All of that made my life suck even more, but none of it could be compared to the loss of my aunt, from which I’m still recovering.
In the midst of all the craziness, I started a yoga teacher training course. We have been reading this yoga philosophy book called “The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali” that talks about how to live in a more meaningful way and I realized that’s what my aunt was trying to teach us all along. She was selfless. She lived for us, giving us everything she had, and she was by far the happiest person in my family. She lived in the moment. One of the advice she gave the boyfriend when he was in Brazil this summer was to stop worrying about a job he would have to take care of in the future and enjoy the present time with my family. She was strong, positive, and not easily overwhelmed by life. She took what life gave her, threw away what didn’t serve her, didn’t dwell on mistakes, and only kept the good, always keeping her calm and grace along the way.
On my first reading of this yoga book, I kept thinking about how unattainable that kind of philosophy was for a regular human being, but now, thinking about my aunt’s life, I can see she was the best example of how to live your life with a peaceful mind. Right now, with all the lemons life has been throwing at me, it’s been hard putting what she was trying to teach us into practice, but I’m working on making her proud. I am unbelievably grateful I got to know Aunt Val, my greatest teacher.