On April 26, 1997 my mother died very suddenly when I was 10 years old. It was just a month and a half from my 11th birthday. I only remember snippets of that day. Fifteen years later I still miss her very much, but I have also healed very much. It hasn't been easy to live my life without her. To continue accomplishing goals and overcoming obstacles without her by my side. But I know that I will see her again.
This is exactly how a remember her. She was an amazing woman and a perfect mother to me and my younger sister, Chanelle. Once she put together a block party to raise money for cameras to be put up in our building. Her cooking was amazing and she loved to dance. Oh, how she loved to dance! She took ballet when she was a girl, I have pictures of her in her tutu and leotard. She was loved by many people.
Even though I have lost my biological mother, God has placed a few very special women in my life. Although they can't ever replace what has been lost, they have, in their own ways, poured into my life just as any mother would for their child.
Leida, posing here with her daughter and one of my closest friends Diana, has been instrumental in keeping me rooted in my culture and heritage. She has shown me over the years what a strong Hispanic woman does for her family. No matter what happens we stick together and we move forward. I know that she is always there for me when I need her. She keeps it real and she always feeds me when I come over (Yummy!). And she is always so happy!! I was never away from home when I was with her and her family. Thank you, Leida, for your love, support, encouragement, and welcoming me into your family as one of your own.
Aimee has mothered me since we met in my Freshman year of college. Her daughter, Emily, is also one of my closest friends. Aimee has taught me many things and opened my eyes to a world I didn't know of growing up in the Bronx. She showered me in tender love that I didn't receive after my mother died. There are things she told me about years ago that I still do today. I was such a wild child when we met, but she loved me anyway. The last piece of advice she gave me that I still hold on to is "Be in the moment". She didn't want me to wish the girls into another age or stage. She wants me to be with them right where they are. Thank you, Aimee, for the countless talks, encouragement, love, and welcoming me into your family as one of your own.
Enid has been my step-mother since I was 12 years old. We didn't always see eye-to-eye, but she has made the biggest impact in my life. She taught me how to be a wife and mother on a daily basis. She taught me how to have grace and patience while dealing with an extremely rude teenager, aka me. She taught me how to cook and clean. She was mediator between my father and I. We has some rough patches, but I'm happy to say that today we have a very good relationship and I know I can come to her with anything. Thank you, Enid, for being brave enough to take two girls on as your own to raise and for being strong enough to never give up on me. Thank you for joining our family.
All of these women have shown me love and kindness over the years and I am so blessed to have them in my life. Thank you for being there for me when my mother couldn't be.
I love you.