“My mother has been following me”.
If I leave that comment “as is”, it allows you to fabricate your own assumption as to it’s meaning. Is my mother a psycho sneaking about, hiding among the dark corners that parallel my life? Is she shadowing my every move? Is she the quintessential hovering parent?
Keep in mind, the following detail is of utmost importance… my mother is NOT alive. It has been nine years as of last week that she passed on.
Since I don’t believe in ghosts nor spirits, you then deserve an explanation.
For nine years my mom, (although not in the physical and not in the spiritual either), has been hugely present in my life and in those that dearly loved her. When I find myself scolding my kids, her words spill effortlessly from my lips. When I took up drinking coffee after she passed, I “feel” her presence with the soothing aroma of every freshly made cup. My eight year old asked me the other day… “Mom, what’s that wonderful smell?” I told him “That wonderful smell is coffee, one of your Abuela Lola’s favorite things in the whole world”. When I push a glass away from the dangerous edge of a counter, or ask the kids to stop jumping on the couch, or when I make sure to make my bed every morning… she’s there.
When I see another gray hair, she’s there. When I splash on Jean Nate after a shower, she’s there. When I have a fried egg over white rice, she’s there. When I wake up the kids on a school morning with a song and when I sing “Pollito Chicken” to my 4-year-old every night, she’s there. When I remember to sit up straight, she’s there. And when someone asked me the other day why I was smiling, I told them “I do so because my mom taught me that your smile is your most important accessory”, she was there.
Those first two years without my mom were truly difficult. There wasn’t a thing that didn’t make me burst out in to tears. I had to make sure to bring my sunglasses with me everywhere I went, even wearing them indoors. I was extremely “homesick” for her every second. I was what you’d call a bumbling mess. The third and fourth year were a little better. Here’s the funny thing though, I now started to feel guilty that I wasn’t crying for her every minute. One of those damned if I did, damned if I didn’t moments in my life. Once I entered my mid 40’s and became more aware of my own mortality, I self reflected on the “circle of life” that would soon come to me and my own children.
Then it hit me…we can mourn and move on… guilt free. I did so for my mom, and it’s what I desire for my own kids to do when I’m no longer physically around. I want them to “see and feel” me in the little things. I want them to recollect my silliness and my advice without feeling sad about it. I want them to hear a song that reminds them of me and feel compelled to dance, not cry. I want them to take in the aroma of a meal that I loved or made for them as children and relish in each bite. I want my stories passed on to my great-grandchildren with pride and not with sorrow.
This year on April 5th, the anniversary of her passing, I declared outwardly and promised everyone that the day would not be used to mourn my mother but to celebrate all the funny and memorable things that encompassed my mother’s past. I didn’t shed a tear. She would have been proud. That was her legacy. And all done with her most important accessory… A SMILE!
— The Pretty Platform