September 16, 2005


My mom's birthday just past. She would have been 60 which is hard to imagine. She was only 45 when she died, 21 when she had me. In my mind she is always young, although always still my mother, the adult. Her voice rings clear in my head and I'm sure it will remain so when I am an old man. The Mexican side of me holds death close.

My grandmother had 10 brothers and sisters, nine of them preceded her in death, and yet she always spoke of them as if they were guests expected at any moment. She would catalog stories of their lives, but would always end by noting their burial places often lamenting the fact that they were not together to more easily talk in the afterlife. From the age of 3 until I was in my 20's at the end of every visit she would whisper, "hug me tight because this is the last time you will see me in this world." She would often press pictures of herself in my hands so that I wouldn't forget "when I am gone."

My mother's pictures, letters, and other small things scattered around the house do not provoke melancholy, but instead remind me how much I have to live up to for my own son. It is a strange bargain knowing that the more we give of ourselves, the more open we are to pain, but the more alive we become.

Octavio Paz, one of my favorite poets writes, "To the inhabitant of New York, Paris, or London death is a word that is never uttered because it burns the lips. The Mexican, on the other hand, frequents it, mocks it, caresses it, sleeps with it, entertains it, it is one of his favourite playthings and his most enduring love."

posted at 03:19 AM by raul

Filed under: personal history

TAGS: abuelita (10) death (5) grandmother (9) olivia aurora (8) paz (1)


09/16/05 01:12 PM

raul i think it is clear through both your words and pictures that your soul is one size too large.

09/16/05 11:40 PM

".....the more open we are to pain, but the more alive we become."

Truer words were never spoken. A lesson my foster son refuses to learn. He holds love at arms length, like a dangerous beast. I fell sad for what he misses.

How wonderful you have so wonderful memories of your mother, and that you remember her birthday and celebrate her life.

09/21/05 07:13 PM

This brings tears to my eyes.

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