My mom died the day after Thanksgiving. Imagine the holidays without your mother, without her voice, without her embraces, without her kisses, without her bendiciones, just without. When I gathered the strength to post a social media update about her passing, I realized I wasn’t alone in my pain. A friend had lost her mother a year ago, another his father, and so on, and so on. The pain never heals they wrote, you just learn to deal with it over time.
Dealing with loss during the holidays is painful. It’s as if you’re in a bubble without oxygen and everyone else is laughing and cheering. Yet, one of the beaming lights I’ve witnessed during this dark time is the warmth of my family and friends. Lean on the beings close to you, they’ll help you get through it all. My closest friends, Carl, Brandon and Chris, have always been like brothers to me and their recent gestures further cemented my thoughts. Carl couldn’t make it to my mom’s services because he lives in Los Angeles, so he sent his cousin, Tony, in his place to represent his family. Brandon and I haven’t seen each other in almost two years but when I asked him to be a pallbearer he said, “It would be my honor.” Chris, a true gentleman, and his wife, Stephanie, a fellow Gemini, have been exceptional as well. My wife’s co-workers sent food, my Latina family sent warm texts and came to the services, my mentor, Tony, sent me one of the most eloquent emails I’ve ever received. My sister-in-law, Diana, and brother-in-law, Charles stepped up as if we were bonded by the same blood that ran through my mother’s veins. Even my brother-in-law, Sammy, who’s a hard nosed blue collar fella, has shown his tender side—and it’s as soft as a Care Bear.
And my wife, Yvette, I can’t begin to explain the impact she’s had on myself and my sisters. The pain hit her just as hard, but she gathered herself and took charge to be the one to handle the services. Lately, the moments when I can’t sleep at night, she’ll stay up with me to reminisce about the good times with my mom. She loved her as much as her own mother and my mother loved her as if she had carried her for nine months.
CAPTION: At my wedding, I danced with my mom to Julio Jaramillo's "Para Ti Madrecita."
You start thinking about the things you never got to do with her. For me, it was becoming a father while she was still here, she didn’t get to see me put the lessons she instilled in me into action. But my solace is knowing that my future children will have a guardian angel waiting for them.
Coping with death is hard enough but add the holidays (and her birthday which is today) and you’re in for quite an emotional ride. I cried myself to sleep last night, so much so that my eyelashes hurt upon awakening this morning. But I won’t let sadness overtake me. I’ll rely on my loved ones and move forward. What other option do I have? She’s not here anymore. But I am and I need to carry out her dreams for me.