My mom passed away from leukemia when I was 9 and she was only 27. It was her decision to not allow me to see her in the final months when she was at her worst, so all my memories of her are happy ones. I didn’t understand that for a long time and I was upset that she never let me say goodbye. But everything she did, even in her dying, she was thinking of me.
Every Mother’s Day since I was 9 has been a little awkward for me, but as I get older it has become more important for me to honour my mom’s memory in some way.
Until the age of 9 my childhood was happy and ideal. In retrospect, I strongly believe her upbringing is what gave me the strength to deal with the disasters that would follow in my life. My mom taught me to be a mom to my younger sisters. She taught me to read before I was in school. It’s because of her that I can write and read and speak fluent Spanish.
My mom taught me to memorize stuff. We didn’t eat junk food and we didn’t own a TV. Instead, I played outside and read obsessively. She birthed my loves of learning and nature, which drive me to this day.
My mom instilled in me my love for food, allowing me to be around stove and knives as early as 5, touching food and creating meals. She would dress me up in pretty dresses, then immediately allow me to run outside and play in the mud. Never once in my life did she ever complain about me getting dirty.
Today I have pictures of me climbing fences with perfect ponytails and scraped knees. She let me run barefoot. My mom would never sit and watch at the playground like other moms. She was right in there with me. Climbing stuff or chasing me. Before the age of 9, I don’t even remember my dad being in my life. My mom was my entire world.
I know she loved me. And I know that after everything, she would be proud of who I am today. I only had her for a short time, but her influence was strong. And now I’m also strong. Just like her.
Happy Mother’s Day.