It’s been almost ten years since my mother died…hard for me to believe. She was a bundle of contradictions, one minute funny and easy going, the next nervous and paranoid. Although she was never diagnosed, I am sure she suffered from major depression at points in her life. She worried about everything and nothing, but she could make me laugh like nobody else.
My dad traveled a lot, and my brother and sister were a bit older than I, so my mother and I spent a lot of time alone together. We once drove from Mississippi to Connecticut together–well, I drove, she navigated…loudly–and survived to tell the tale. When I was 17, she, my dad, and I lived Brazil for 6 months. Quite an experience, to say the least. My dad was working down there, so Mom and I tagged along. I was trying to teach my mother some basic Portuguese, and we would have little lessons in the mornings. One morning it was raining, so I decided to teach her how to say, “It’s raining”. Esta chovendo. I had explained to her that “to rain” is chover, the noun is chuva, etc. I thought it had really sunk in. So a little later in the day, I asked her, “How do you say it’s raining?” She looked thoughtful for a few seconds, then said hopefully, “It’s chuving?” That makes me laugh to this day.
One night when I was in high school, we were watching “The Carol Burnett Show” or some other show like that, and they announced that next week’s guest would be Elton John. My mom looked over at me and said, in all seriousness, “I thought it was Elton Newton John.” Another time, I was studying for an English test while my mom ironed. I said, “Hey, Mom, I bet you don’t know what onomatopoeia means.” Her reply? “I bet I don’t speak Spanish, either!!”
She worked hard to make a good home for her family, and she always questioned herself. She never felt like she measured up to others, so she always made sure to remind me that, while I was no better than anyone else, I certainly was no worse. She made me know to be thankful for what I have and to strive to be a good person. She gave me a wicked sense of humor, and for that I am eternally grateful. I was an uh-oh baby, I like to think I was a pleasant surprise. There were times when it made me feel sad to think that my mother wasn’t overwhelmed with happiness when she found out she was pregnant with me, but I’ve gotten over that. I know that she loved me with all her heart, and did all she could to raise me right. I love her from the bottom of my heart and always will. I miss her every day of my life and always will. I hope that wherever she is, she knows that, and that if there is indeed a heaven, I will see her there one day.