Happy Birthday to the strongest, funniest, and wildest woman I ever knew. Happy Birthday to the woman who taught me how to walk, laugh & listen with my heart. Happy Birthday to my best friend, my reason for living, & my source of strength. I love you with every single part of me – from my toes to my lungs. Happy 50th Birthday Mommy, Tovoia, Tinka! 💕💕💕 We’ll see eachother again one day.
I had a mother. Sometimes I can’t remember her looks
To spark my brain, I look thru her bins of Polaroids and unfinished photo-books
Her smile presents flashes of times, distorted, but shared
Slender hands, big laugh and coiled dark hair
Time passes, my eyes close, and her face leaves again
In darkness, I see her nose, more distinct now than it was then.
Large, to the point of cartoonish, I know it’s only in my mind’s eye.
It’s shiny, sharp, and Latin and death-defyingly high.
My brain forgets a face, but remembers a nose that stands tall.
I’d rather have this piece of her than nothing at all.
Now, hope clings tight for memories to come.
What’s next to find? An eyebrow? A thumb?
Any reminder of her presence will satisfy me now.
Until the ache of loss is overcome by all the joy the universe will allow.
I have a mother and she has me too.
Time steals memories, but Angels can make them new.
Up there the sun is warmer
the air more soothing
whispering, no, shouting joyous songs
I’ve never heard.
Up there it is brighter.
The clouds, not floors
more like birds, lighter.
You soar higher still.
On earth, you soared higher still.
The wonderous mass of flesh
could no longer contain the
wonderous spirit that could no longer be restrained.
Down here, the sand scorched your soles.
The pavement too rough;
The grass too harsh.
Naturally, you jumped high,
Leapt, and reached for home.
Now, I find comfort in the
haven you found.
Now I find joy in the heart you
squeeze to beat
You live and I live.
Because you gave me
all you are and still
give me more than I deserve,
I honor you.
Not only for what you give,
but for who you are.
Now, you do the impossible for you live in many homes
You live in our hearts.
There is a piece of you
in all of our souls.
On this day, I honor you
and thank you for your time.
Now be on your way, Mommy,
spread your wings and fly.
Up there, it’s warmer, for
your smile fills the sky.
Up there, joy abounds,
and we all know why.
Your new and old friends sing
that the day is new!
“It’s a beautiful morning, Tovoia.
Happy Birthday to you!”
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” -Dr. Seuss
I intended to post this on 2.24.12 to mark the first year since my Mom passed, but I didn’t. So why not the first day of my Mom’s favorite Month?
The thing that I found to be eerie and inspiring about this is that I wrote it around Midnight on February 24th, 2011 and I felt a strong emotional connection to something I did not understand. Later that same day my Mom passed away. I remember before I knew that she passed that I was excited to share this with her because I wrote it for my creative writing class. I always loved my mother, but writing this made me feel an appreciation for her that was deeper than I felt before.
One thing that I am proud to say is that I feel no regrets. I always let my Mom know that I loved her and we never hid anything from each-other. She was the most open and kindhearted person I know. I know people speak kindly of those who have passed but are only saying it to fluff up an image of that person. But I can say genuinely 100% that my Mother was the most amazing, open, and funniest person I’ve had the honor of knowing. The funny thing is I no longer feel a feeling of “loss” because I will see her again. I don’t feel whole, but I feel a contentment that only she could have taught me and that she continues to give me. I don’t like to talk about whats going on in my life, but I felt the need to share.
Tell the people you love that you love them. Share with them. Be open. Live your life with no regrets. Do it now. Don’t put it off. We don’t like to talk about it, but we never know when our time to go is coming. While you are still here living, breathing and laughing…Share your laughter with others. I’m speaking on a simple level without regard to your religion, race, political affiliation or gender. No matter who you are, “Show” your love. When things don’t go the way you planned, you’ll wish you did.
So here it is:
Cradled by a dark-caramel colored frame, etched with hand drawn manufactured words of “Peace, Nature, Live,and Freedom” around it, sits a photo of my Mom, sister, and me. My Mom is at least 24 years old, Samaya is barely alive at 4 days, and I am 2. My Mother is sitting high on the end of a bed scattered with floral patterns, holding both of us. A tan backrest pillow un-purposely leans against Mommy at the moment. No one’s eyes notice the camera-holder, or focus on the lightning flash of the disposable camera. No eyes can be seen.
All eyes are on Samaya. I sit with my back to the camera, my diaper hanging proudly out of my light baby blue pajama pants, supporting her head with my hand. Mommy’s arms are wrapped around the both of us. Her right hand meets her left fist, which is cradled awkwardly around Samaya to support her entire body. Samaya’s shoulder blades rest in the nook of her elbow. She doesn’t seem to mind. In this moment, her eyes look completely shut, but they are consumed in the new born. In this moment, we are supporting each other. Mommy is keeping me from tumbling from her lap and I am attempting to keep Samaya’s head upright. Her arms, wrapped around the both of us, are continuous in life and in spirit.
Samaya’s hair clings to her like it’s been smoothed down in perfect black waves around her scalp. Her skin is bright yellow; the sun’s second cousin. Just bright enough to handle, but not too bright to go unnoticed. She’s newly-shriveled and soft, her face formed into a frozen scowl that shows some discomfort. Mommy bought a white blanket that snugly envelopes her from neck to toe, wrapping Samaya in warmth. My head is covered in four large plaits marked with individual barrettes. My hair neatly shoots off in different directions divided by carefully greased and separated parts. My head, turned away from the camera, blocks the mouth of my smiling Mother, only indicated by the rise in her upper cheek-bones. Mommy’s bright orange-and green head band pushes back her hair in a mass of thick dyed almond and blackness that carries down to the tops of her earlobes. Her hair is has been tediously parted down the middle, sending fluffs of thickness on either side of her head. Below, a bright orange t-shirt accompanies her head band, highlighted against the white of my t-shirt and Samaya’s blanket.
We are in my Mommy’s room, so the room must have a smell that you can’t quite identify, you just know it must smell good. It’s probably something flowery, but not overwhelming so that it lightly touches your nostrils, rather than send it into a fiery pit of stink. Mommy looks like the great pumpkin against the brown floral patterning on the wall, thoughtlessly scattered against a white background. She sticks out like a accidental Queen amongst these dead things. Everything is haphazardly tossed this way and that: the phone, the covers, the baby brush, and the bottle, but all within reach. I, myself, look like I’m on the brink of collapsing, but only forward, into Mommy.
A tell-tale sign that we are all one in the same is the peak that breaches our hair lines, Mommy’s is the most defiant. It highlights either side of her face, this time her right. You see her long “roman” nose that I always dared to grab, her high eyebrows, the roundness of her face. When she was younger, she always tried to shave it off, finding it to be unattractive. I did the same thing, but I discovered that without it I feel bare. I feel that I am not only denying, but I am erasing a part of what makes me who I am. I know it’s a simple hairline, but it goes beyond that. I am my Mother’s daughter, and I am proud of everything that makes me. The little things that we forget are the big things that make us who we are, and for me it’s a hairline.