“23 Likes” A Photo Diary

I was looking back at my old Instagram posts and came across a picture of myself in a terribly ugly pink and blue sweater. I realized… that’s exactly what I wore when I found out my father died.

I looked at the post and below were a series of compliments. Who would have known those words would be meaningless and reread over and over as I look back on the day my father left me for the last time. After some thinking, I decided to put a collection of photos together all taken from my Instagram during the few months I went through the most grief but posed for the most “smiles.”

Each photo has a little glimpse of what was really going on behind the screen.

Picture 1, 166 Weeks Ago.png

166 Weeks Ago.

I took this picture the day my mother and I finally got the keys to our new apartment after we moved from Miami. It took 5 months for us to find a place to live in our price range. For months we both were living in a tiny apartment alongside my sister, nephew, and niece who were selfless enough to shelter us during our search. That night, mom and I had no furniture but what we did have was a frozen 10 dollar pizza from Walmart across the street and that was all we needed. It was a beautiful night, I wouldn’t have given it up for the world.

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164 Weeks Ago.

This was the fist time I saw snow in my new home, Boston. Posed, but the happiness you see in my face was completely authentic. I was scared but excited to start my new life in this city. 

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162 Weeks Ago.

Straight Hair. Picture taken after 2 and a half hours of heat applied to my hair. I straightened my hair for years to be “beautiful.” I hated my curls, especially under hats. I blamed convenience for ignorance. I wear my hair curly now. I still love this picture.

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161 Weeks Ago.

I took this picture the morning my father died.

It was ugly sweater day. I felt really pretty that morning. I was asked to be dismissed from class in the middle of my English midterm and told by my sister he was dead when we were driving back home. This was the hardest day of my life. I flew to the Dominican that night. I got 23 likes.

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159 Weeks Ago.

I took this “funny” picture in the hospital. Before flying back to the US from my father’s funeral, my mom asked if my grandmother wanted to come back with us since she wasn’t feeling well and we knew a hospital that could help her. She had a cardiac arrest the night we landed. I posted this picture so people wouldn’t know what I was actually going through. She wasn’t gone yet when we took this. I don’t think this picture is that funny. We spent New Year’s in the hospital.

The day after this picture was posted I was curled on the bathroom floor of a Boston hospital forgetting what it felt like to breathe. This picture only received 13 likes. I miss her so much. 

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159 Weeks Ago.

Baby Valentina giving us joy in the waiting room during the hardest week of our lives. I captioned it #Beautiful. No one would know exactly where this was taken until now.

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157 Week Ago.

My mom flew to the Dominican for my grandmother’s funeral. I stayed behind and too scared to sleep alone I stayed with my cousins for two months. They put this together so I wouldn’t be sad. My anxiety was unbearable. That night I woke up in the middle of the night and ended up passing out on the way to the bathroom. My head always hurt. My grief was physical. They helped me.

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157 Weeks Ago.

I took that of my cousins after church. I went with them every Sunday my mom was gone and prayed the same prayer. I remember that was the first time in a long time I laughed authentically. I love this picture… look at my nephew’s face. Priceless. 

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141 Weeks Ago

My sister, my mother, and I were laying in bed and I noticed the beautiful shadows form from our blinds. We rose our legs and I snapped a picture. Inside we were all hurting but it was Mother’s Day, we rejected the pain just for a moment. We didn’t know it then but time was healing us. 

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135 Weeks Ago.

My mother raises her arms with a huge smile on her face. She uses her light and her strength to overcome the pain from losing her mom and the father of her children. Look at her face… so beautiful. This picture represent healing. This picture only got 37 likes, but it deserved millions. Te amo mami. 

6 thoughts on ““23 Likes” A Photo Diary

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