Mi Tio Favorito

my Favorite Uncle

When I think of you Tio Carmelo the image of your soft brown eyes that expressed kindness and love, along with your gentle smile that exuded compassion and warmth.

Tio Carmelo you are and will always be this humble gentle soul, your quiet presence was always welcomed by me.  You were one of my role models in our home that demonstrated kindness, compassion, love.

I watched you demonstrate your love to all of my eight siblings, along with all our extended family. 

Tio you were a man of few words, however I witness how you were present with everyone you came in contact with.  I watched you make eye contact with everyone you met, along with your soft smile. You demonstrated your love with your quiet reassurance.   

When every I would see you,

I’d hear, “Mira Jojo.” 

It wasn’t the two words that you uttered that were memorable,  but the love that exuded when you expressed them.

I have also witnessed the love you have expressed to your four children, whom you have raised as a single father. Watching you with your children and shower your grandchildren with love.

Deep down I wish I had you as my loving father.   

Tio Carmelo you have taught me what a true fathers love can look like.

You also were the one that helped me learn how to drive, even though I startled you at times.  When I would drive to close to the car in front of me and break really fast.  You would calmly tell me I shouldn’t drive so fast and break so suddenly.

I am grateful that you had calm disposition when I was starting to learn how to drive.  I can appreciate even more now that I have been in the passenger side when my oldest daughter was learning how to drive. 

What I am thankful for the most is you Tio trusting me to drive your car and supporting me with your calm deposition.

Tio Carmelo you are kind, generous and loving man and you will be greatly be missed.  I am so truly blessed that you were my uncle.

I have watched you with the relationship with your oldest sister, which is my mother.  It didn’t go unnoticed when you sat next to Mamí, when she lay on her hospice bed.  You sat next to her and held her hand. I watched you exchange a few words to one another. I wanted to sit next to the both of you or be a fly on the wall and listen in to your conversation.  I witnessed Love, Compassion, Kindness permeated the room and if  two souls that were very similar, it was the both of you. 

Your light will shine on for every and you will never be forgotten.

Here is a quote that I know to be one of your souls purpose on this earth.

“The light remain

There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone.  The light remains.”  author unknown.

Also, you are the reason I titled my book Como Coco.

When I was reading my mother’s eulogy at the church that I wrote fifteen years ago it read as follow…

I know without a doubt in my mind that you are in heaven because your purgatory was here on earth….Y ahora Mamí puedes desir ques eastas..Como Coco, and now

Mamí you can say…  Como Coco”.

I looked up after saying “Como Coco” and I locked eyes with you Tio Carmelo, and you were gently nodding your head up and down with a smile confirming exactly what she said and you know to be true.     

So, I say to you Tio Carmelo…that you are in a better place and I’m happy that you are not suffering with cancer anymore. 

I know without a drought in my mind that you are in heaven because your purgatory was here on earth.  Y ahora Tio puedes desire que estas

  “Como Coco.”

And now Tio you can say “Como Coco.”



“The light remain

There are some who bring a light so great to the world, that even after they have gone.  The light remains.”  author unknown.


Como Coco

“Como Coco.”  Two Simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying you’re strong and robust.  If the juice of the coconut is sweet inside that means life is sweet, because if it isn’t you woulds say Como Coco Rancio,” Which means the coconut juice is sour inside.

Joann DJ Ehlman,

Intuitive Life Coach, Intuitive Reiki Master Practitioner, Author & Speaker

Author of Como Coco -The Journey 



Como Coco or Como Coco Racío…. Sweet or Bitter Sweet moments in my life. I’ve had my fair share, however, the one that stands out the most, is when my mother died on my birthday. Yes, you heard me right, my mother died on my birthday. Just think about it, let that emotion sink in, so can you imagine for those that have had or have a caring and loving mother. Envision your mother dying on your birthday? Well, it sucks, just putting it mildly.

I know what you are probably thinking. That is just tragic that your mother passed away on your birthday. That you will always remember for the rest of your life, your mother died on your birthday. You will never be able to celebrate your birthday again.

After, wallowing in my grief with a double whammy. I would start to think that, I’m not the only one that has experienced something tragic. “It could be worse.”  Those thoughts “It could be worse.” somehow would ease the discomfort and lessen the pain for me. Sometimes “It could be worse” would help me lift up my spirits or I better yet, I would think. I should count my blessings because I could be living in the worst circumstances.

Yes, I do realize people have had and are experiencing far worst in their life. The notion of someone else having it worst then me… would help me get out of my funk. However, it happened just the other day someone said, “It could be worse” after hurricane Florence just recently swept through our area in N.C.  I thought of those words “I could be worse” and had an Aha moment… that is what people say to placate their emotions.  I thought how messed up is it, to think that way. You ask, Why?. Saying “It could be worse” is messed up thinking because I shamed myself into thinking that I shouldn’t feel sad about my mother’s passing and that I should get over it, and be strong.

I would then begin to think how my daughters will never get to experience my mother’s love, and the feeling of sorrow would wash over me again. I then would proceed to spiral downward into the deep rabbit hole of depression.  I would think my mother is in a better place now, she is no longer suffering in pain. I would ebb and flow and experience a roller coaster of emotions.
The thoughts of how dare I or I shouldn’t celebrate my birthday. I would shame myself into not feeling the pain of my loss. Losing my mother and the loss of not being able to celebrate my birth. It was one of my bitter-sweet moment. However, I’ve had the choice, to choose to feel the pain and let it ride its wave or I can hold on to the pain and shame myself through life.

I can attest to you, you do come out on the other side a stronger person. However, don’t shame yourself out of your emotions. Don’t say “It could be worse.” or I shouldn’t feel this way because essentially you’re shaming yourself. You have to allow yourself to go through all the stages of grief. Which are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. Not necessarily in that order.

How you experience your grief, is unique to you. You have to allow yourself to go through every emotion before the healing of grief can begin.

I thought initially, I’d never be able to celebrate my birthday because my mother died on my birthday. Well, it’s been several years since my mother has crossed over to the other side. I can honestly say I can celebrate my birthday and relish and honor my mother for giving me life. I can say if my mother’s friends were to come up to me and ask me how I was doing I can say with a resounding  “Como Coco”… the last words that my mother said, that shocked my spirit and embedded in my soul.

“Como Coco” Two simple words. A Puerto Rican expression for saying that you’re strong and robust. If the juice of the coconut is sweet inside that means life is sweet because, if it isn’t you would say “Como Coco Racio,” which means the coconut juice is sour inside.

I would say with a resounding “Como Coco.”

You can read on page 204-205 of my book Como Coco: The Journey to find out more why I titled my book Como Coco or you can get a sneak peek into my book on Amazon with the link below.