Saturday, January 06, 2007

Remembering Mama

Today would have been my mom's 76th birthday if she were still alive. I see women with their moms, older than what my mom would be now, and I feel a slight pang of jealousy. I know. I wish I didn't. It's not evil jealousy. It's more like longing jealousy. Longing to have something I had once.

They say that time heals you and it's true. Yesterday my sister tells me, "Tomorrow would have been Mom's birthday. Wednesday was the anniversary of her death."

I think about this. Seven years. We reflect on how fast time has gone by and I tell her, "You know, this was the first year that I didn’t remember the date of her death."

I had forgotten. With Miranda starting back to school on the 3rd and me going back to work I never thought about it until my sister pointed it out. It made me sad that I forgot but then I remembered that time does heal and that with time you forget the pain, but never the person.

It's been eleven years since my sister died and I don't think about the dates all the time. I do remember 16 de septiembre. That was the date when I went with her to the doctor and she received the news that she had cancer. For some reason I remember that date more than August 10th. She died 11 months after being diagnosed. I miss her too but not the way I miss my mother.

I miss talking. I miss going to see a really good movie with her. I miss sharing a piece of cake or pie afterwards and drinking coffee. I miss sitting in her kitchen with her, listening to her stories. I miss hearing the one about when she went to meet my father in Phoenix. This was back when they were newly married and he had decided he needed a break from the barber shop. So he went to work in the fields in Phoenix. He told her he'd send for her once he was settled in and he did. She would tell the story with so much vivid detail about her bus trip from McAllen to Phoenix, Arizona. I miss that story.

She was a master story teller just like my dad. She loved to tell a good story but her style was different. She would get mad at my dad for "exaggerating" his stories but my dad just embellished or acted out the characters for more dramatic effect.

Her stories were straight and to the point, but she didn't leave out the human emotion. Like the time she got to Phoenix and the ladies were so eager to gossip to her about my father dancing at the dance hall with some White woman before she had arrived. She told about how she got into it with my father about it and how she wouldn't let it go. Even later when she took him lunch out in the field she was still arguing with him about it. So as she walked away from him she yelled out insults. She did it far away enough where he couldn't reach her. Not that he was going to do anything to her but she wasn't taking her chances.

I'm sure that she was really angry at the time but when she told the story she laughed at the memory and it made the story funny. I wonder if it hurt her at the time. But after 52 years of being married the bad had meshed with the good and they had all become memories of their years together.

I know that my father wasn’t the only story teller in the family. There’s a reason I feel the need to tell a good story, to get a good laugh, and to pass on our stories. I inherited it from both sides.

My father is an oral story teller. One of the last of his kind. He tells stories that he heard from his father, who heard them from his grandfather, and so on. I have a family legacy to pass on to my children and their children and their children. I have my father's stories and my mother's stories. I only hope that I can do them justice.

1 comment:

Coco said...

What can I say?
Simply, that I wish I were there to give you a hug...

Un FUERTE y CALUROSO abrazo amiga.



(i am so afraid of losing my mother. i don't want to lose her! i know that i will be a "basket case".)