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The Wild Bird, in Memorandum of Mom

black and white photo, Mom, late teens, late 1960's, photo booth picture
My mom late teens, late 1960s, photo booth picture

It’s a funny thing to reflect on the loss of a family member. Especially a parent. It’s been a few weeks now and I am amazed how we – as humans – immediately continue with daily living and how our periphery friends and family go on after the void of an entire life is experienced. Or that we are expected to. And, the reality of how necessary it is that we do, go on, that is.

The relationship I had with my mom was complicated. Sometimes I felt it was hard to be a wild bird raised by a wild bird. Other times it felt on purpose. We each had our flight paths, independent nature, and ability to intuit, survive, thrive, and create uniquely. Perhaps the best way to honor her is to share the eulogy with you – some of whom are here because you are curious, because you knew her (or me), or perhaps because you’ve lost someone close to you.

During the week my family was going through Mom's things and while we had an estate sale, two dragonflies, a Blue-Eyed Darner (click the arrow to see the slideshow pic of this one), and a red Varigated Meadowhawk showed up two days in a row. They were the two favorite colors Mom would gravitate toward, deep blues and red-burgundy. We believe Mom sent them. Dragonflies represent, among many things, when you need "fresh air in regard to something emotional" and to help alter "the perspective around change". They "allow one to see through any illusions and allow light to shine forth." (Animal Speak, 340).

We also believe Mom created a playlist via Alexa that was all about heaven, angels, being on the other side, etc. when we asked for music for breakfast. And we all felt a distinct presence of someone in the house, the feeling one gets if someone were in another room, perhaps in the bathroom or bedroom...a presence we felt, but never saw. She may be gone, but she's found her way to communicate with us.

However you found this blog, may you gather your own inspiration from a life that left an impact on all those she met.

My mom was a Force of Nature. She was the wind in the sails, the rise of a flame, and the wild bird that led our flock.

And now, the breeze is still. The embers are low and the desert is hushed. The world bows its head and softens its heart in a gentle acknowledgment of a spark that has now turned to glitter and gold to shine upon us all.

She was adventure, the creator of experiences, a lover of music, the splash of color in a dull room and I’m pretty sure the story in an unwritten epic opera.

She was your biggest and loudest fan in any big-city stadium or small-town ball game. She was a lover and a fighter, with a tender, thoughtful heart and a sense of humor that could make snarky hyenas cackle and angels blush. She certainly could make me blush.

She was a strong woman who demanded respect and pushed the limits with her BS-detecting skills. Don’t worry, I won’t ask you to raise your hands if you were on the receiving end of that (we’ll save that for the reception).

Mom was intuitive, a creative lifelong pianist, a woman with incredible style who could make any space in a home feel inviting and beautiful.

She grew up in Arizona surrounded by many aunts, uncles, and cousins, which developed a deep sense of family that she carried to her life in Nevada.

My siblings and I tease that we all had very different mothers. In the moments of comparison, it seemed unfair. And in retrospect, it was a gift.

She understood each of us to be our own people. And even though we may have wanted something different in a moment, her legacy is her family.

In allowing us to be our own people, my mom threaded golden nuggets into our life tapestries that are our greatest assets.

Each one of us, including Mom’s sons-in-law, grandchildren, and their significant others through my mom knows appreciation of art and music, beauty, nature and animals, trusting our intuition, following our hearts, quick wit and humor, love, fighting for what we believe in, persistence, and seizing a moment when it presents itself.

Mom rarely let an opportunity pass to experience something magical, whether that be stopping somewhere on a road trip, observing an underdog finally win, or seeing something small in a store, and getting it for someone just because she thought of the person. Even if we didn’t see it at the time Mom showed us how to be in a divine moment.

As the years changed and shifted Mom’s adventures, she had three anchors in life.

One was her brother, whom she was always so proud of. He and my aunt were cherished by Mom for all the reasons there is family.

And second, my brother. He gave her the gift of loving and raising a son that she did not have with my sister and me. And thank goodness because he filled her heart with her love of action-packed sports games as he grew up. But always know, she was not just rooting for the team, she was always rooting for you. You were the rainbow at the end of any stormy day for her.

Thirdly, her faith. She said her rosary every morning as part of her way of connecting and grounding to the place where she is now. It was how she connected to her “roots,” she would say. She came from a long line of strong, intuitive, and spiritual women who used prayer.

My mom had a very special place in her heart for my sister, her husband, and the grandchildren in Nevada. I don’t think she would have ever left Nevada because of her connection and love of this family. Now, this connection was spicy, salty, and passionate, and what better love is that for a Latin heart?

And while my kiddos in Texas didn’t have the growing-up experiences like the Nevada kids, we certainly knew the passion of “Nani” as her powerful beingness reached across state lines in small and big ways.

My mom often presented challenges and gentle “free passes” with each of us who knew her – perhaps it was her purpose to expand our experience with one another or to gain insight into who we are on the inside after an encounter with her.

However you met her, knew her, and loved her, she was and always will be a Force of Nature.

I had a vision of my grandmother, my mom, and my stepdad saying that “they’d be at the party.” So, we’d like to invite you to share your stories with us at the Celebration of Life in the hall after the mass at the reception.

We want to hear how Mom colored your life and the impact she made on you.

And to Mom, you always signed off your phone calls, cards, and texts to all of us with three words. And now we get to say that to you, “Love you more.”

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