If you’ve wondered where I’ve been lately, I have been grieving.
My beautiful, funny, wise, generous and intelligent mother left this world for a better place on October 15. She leaves behind a brokenhearted husband, a distraught son, and a devastated daughter.
I don’t even know how to express the profound sadness I feel, and in this moment I can’t form a connection between her passing and a glass of wine, except maybe that in the past two weeks, not even wine has been able to assuage the feeling of emptiness.
For those familiar with Latin American culture, this Saturday is All Saints Day, or Día de los Muertos. Traditionally, families gather at the gravesite of their lost loved ones, not to grieve but to remember the good times, to eat, drink and pray.
It was my sincere intention to set up a small Día de Los Muertos altar in my home honoring my mother, complete with a photo of her, candles, sugary candy skulls, marigold flowers, rosaries, and some of her favorite things: Chanel No. 5 perfume, Vanidades magazine, a couple of Sudoku puzzle books, and dark-chocolate-covered raisins.
But in her final months of this life, she was unable to eat or drink due to a complicated series of medical conditions.
As a Catholic, I only hope that her heavenly new abode comes fully equipped with a nonstop supply of baklava, Turkish coffee, mangoes, and Mounds candy bars. My mother was never much of a wine lover, but I do know she enjoyed the occasional glass of Champagne.
So here’s to you, mami. Sorry I couldn’t get the Día de Los Muertos altar up this year. I promise I’ll do it next year. All of us are happy that you’re no longer suffering, but for selfish reasons, I wish you were still around to hear me vent about the petty stresses of my daily life.
You made me strong, you told me to pursue my passions, and you always believed in me. For these and so many other reasons, I love you and will always carry you in my heart. Salud.