It should come of no surprise that 2008 was one of the worst years of my life. Starting in January, when Mami had her colostomy surgery that signaled the end, '08 will forever be The Year My Mother Died. Or The Year I Became An Orphan, take your pick.
Mami's death will certainly overshadow almost everything else that happened last year -- almost, because in March of 2008 I gave birth to my third (and final! -- better give that an extra exclamation point: !) child. Despite the sorrow, I can't deny that Baby J a.k.a the Schmoopadoo is a little bundle of joy. I have many a time called him my personal anti-depressant. And he brought quite a few smiles to my mother's face in the final months of her life. That's a memory I shall treasure forever -- seeing her bony arms still able to embrace this baby boy of mine.
Thank you, sweet baby, for being my constant companion, for cooing at your dying Abuela, for being such a joy.
Yesterday I sat next to a mother at the Schmoop's tae-kwan-do class. She had a gorgeous sapphire ring, and I complimented her on it. That simple compliment led to a 20-minute-long conversation about being motherless daughters. It was a profound connection, made amidst a sea of chirpy "Ai Yas!" and restless younger siblings wondering when the class would end. The new, instant friend told me I should feel blessed. Her mother died when she was 27, not even married yet, and Mami got to see get married and hold all my children.
What a beautiful perspective.
Thank you, Mami, for walking me down the aisle, for cradling and loving my three babies.
If my grieving heart allows, let me not focus on all that Mami will miss, but instead delight in everything she was present for, everything she experienced.
Thank you, new friend, for your wisdom, and for welcoming me into this awful club of motherless daughters.