Sunday, February 21, 2016

A letter to my mother... Una carta para mi mamá...

Feb. 21, 2016

I found this draft... written four years ago, in St. Louis, MO.

Now, on the eve of 29 years after your departure, I feel you closer than ever...  GRACIAS, por iluminarme y aclararme las dudas que he tenido, através de tu mamá, nuestra Abuela Irma, tu hermana, Surama... y todos los demás que fueron parte de tu historia, y han sido parte de la mia.. Thank you for always being with me, and through so many people, feelings and hunches, even dreams, speak to me so I know you are never far.  When I wrote the letter below, I had just outlived you, recently turned 37.  Now, older and happier than ever with the woman that I am, I hope and pray you see that you did good... These days you are one with your parents, together after Abuela, so tired of a long life and many years without you, finally went your way in November. I am sure you and your awesome Papi, Abuelo Eddie, are all happy to be together...

Feb 21, 2012 

Dear Mama,

Eventhough we "talk" often, in dreams, in memories, in prayers, you know I like to write so I wrote you this letter on the eve of the day that changed my life 25 years ago. Feb. 22, 1987 is a date I will never forget.  We both know what happened, so I won't dwell on it- Jerry and I were at school, Papa was out of town. We were called in to talk to Padre Vela, where he told us you were gone. I remember it all very clearly and the days that followed.
But this letter is more to say thank you. While you might think I am still angry at you for leaving us, for not sticking around to see us grow, por tirar la toalla, the answer is no. I am not angry at anyone, for I have grown up and I thank you. For your life, as short as it was, was part of what has defined mine.  It has not been easy, especially recent years, but I never doubted your presence and support. I felt your hand on my shoulder as I faced unpleasant news, acts of injustice and challenging obstacles. I felt your hand on my shoulder. I felt your presence and a sense of peace and calmness came over me. I did it. I faced what I had to face with strength, a strength I had no idea I had. Perhaps you gave me the strength you couldn't find yourself to speak up, to say no, enough, that's not right, that is not the life I want to live. Perhaps...

I love to hear stories about you. EVERYONE I have met that knew you, loved you and said you were the life of the party. Sure, there were problems. Nobody is perfect. You were not. I certainly am not, but your imperfection has helped me become a stronger woman, a better mother. No one can take away MY memories of you. I remember the bad, but I also remember the good, and it sure outweighs the bad. You loved us dearly, you were fun. Alcahueta! You'd be lovin' and spoilin' Luis as often as your ability to get off the phone allowed. LOL Yes, like my friend Frankie often says "If your mother were around when they invented cell phones, she'd be on it all day!"

In your own way you have answered many questions I have had for 25 years. Thank you for that. I don't expect people to understand. This is my relationship with you. How different would it be if you were alive, I wonder? I hope, I have dreamed it pretty good. Like I dreamed last September of having girl talk in the kitchen, I was 36 (your age 25 years ago) and YOU were 36. I told you what someone had said to me and you said "tell them to f-off!" yeah! That's my mom, don't mess with her. You were there for me, like when you were there when Luis Enrique was born... I can count with one hand the people that know of Nurse Angie. Nurse Angie was the nurse that was with me during labor when Luis was born. I was in pain, medicated and couldn't take it anymore. Angie was awesome, held my hand, supported me, stayed until Luis came into this world... then she was gone. After an hour or so I asked where she went because I wanted to say thank her. The nurse on duty looked at me and said "there's no Angie working here." And just like that, there was no Angie, ever. Really? Who knows. I was NOT that out of it from the epidural... :) Anyway, thank you for sending Angie to help me out. I honestly couldn't have done it without her... or you.

You were beautiful, young and until the last year, full of life.  Your skin darkened, your hair thinned out even more than it had over the years.  You weighed less than 100 lbs. and mentally, well, you were in and out. When your tiny body gave in, you gave up. I know now you couldn't take the pressures of the demons that troubled you, the self inflicted pain and the pain others caused in you. I understand. I see you everyday in the mirror. No, I am not you, but I am part of you and you are part of me. Thank you for Abuela Irma, who I talked to a couple of weeks ago. She misses you so. I am sure Abuelo is so happy to be with you. He loved you more! I miss him dearly and think of him everyday.

I could mention others but that's not the point of this letter. This is for you, about you and me, from me. I have not enjoyed being a mother-less daughter, a mother-less mother, but I have enjoyed saying I was, I am your daughter and of memories created when I was little. How you loved Christmas, hosting Abuela y Abuelo every other weekend it felt like. That was the good, outweighing the bad. I am sorry I couldn't help you. What I can do for you is continue to love you, respect you as my mother and defend you with all that love and strength since you are not here to defend yourself, or your memory.  You were and are beautiful, smart, talented and I miss you more now than 25 years ago. You will always be my mother and no one can take that away. For that, I am grateful.

Know that your portrait hangs in Luis' room. He sees you every day and knows you are also a guardian angel watching over him. Cuidamelo siempre, como me has cuidado a mi.
Gracias Mama...
Jessica, Gatita... Tata.

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