Monday, January 20, 2014

I knew....

Josephine Martinez Molina
January 20, 1935 - June 15, 1975 

It's so true when they say your life can change in an instant. I've always believed things happen for a reason, that there's a purpose for why or when. Events in your life, good or bad, build the person you become. You just don't realize it until later if they made you better or stronger.
My mom died on Father's Day, 1975, two days before my thirteenth birthday. I remember the day vividly; waking up at eight in the morning and seeing my oldest sister climbing into my aunt's car. My first thought, before I fell back asleep was, "she must be going to the hospital because mom died." Yeah, pretty morbid thought to have, but I just had that gut feeling. In fact, several months before, when my brothers and sisters and I gathered on the floor around my mom's easy chair and she told us she had to go into the hospital my first question to her was, "are you going to die?" She spent a lot of weeks in the hospital and in that time I mourned her loss. I just knew she wasn't going to come home. And, a couple of hours later, when my cousin came to the house and ushered us into our Suburban without caring if we'd had breakfast, I knew. When he dropped us at the entrance and said to go to the nurse's station. I knew. When we rode up into the elevator to the fourth floor, my younger brother and sister chattering and laughing, I knew. When the floor nurse told us to go to the room opposite the one our mother was in, I knew. And when I opened the door and found it full of my family, tears streaming down their cheeks, my brother standing still against the window, his expression blank...I knew.
Over the years, as I got older, I thought a lot about what it must have been like for her, raising seven children, alone, widowed at the age of 36. As a child, I didn't give her the respect she deserved--children rarely do when they're young. But, I was number 5 in the bunch (of 7), and I didn't feel like she cared about me as much as the others. I now know, with that many children, it's hard to give time to just one. Especially when all they do is fight...yeah, we fought often...not physically, verbally. I used to wonder if maybe she begged God to take her away.

When I started having children I used to think: don't let me be like her.  When, in fact, I want to be like her. She was strong and caring and loving and she didn't let anything break her.
I don't know what kind of relationship we would have had if she lived, but I like to believe we would have been close.

I think about her often, especially during the holidays when my children are gathered around me.  I wonder if she knows how much I love her and miss her. And I hope I've made her proud.

There's a song by Christina Aguilera called Hurt, that resonates with me and sums up a lot of what I would say if she were here today. The lyrics are below.

But, most of all, I would tell her, Thank you. 

Happy Birthday.

Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face
You told me how proud you were but I walked away
If only I knew what I know today
Ooh ooh
 I would hold you in my arms
I would take the pain away
Thank you for all you've done
Forgive all your mistakes.
There's nothing I wouldn't do
To hear your voice again.
Sometimes I wanna call you but I know you won't be there
Oh, I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself by hurting you
Some days I feel broke inside but I won't admit
Sometimes I just wanna hide 'cause it's you I miss
And it's so hard to say goodbye when it comes to this, ooh, whoa
Would you tell me I was wrong?
Would you help me understand?
Are you looking down upon me?
Are you proud of who I am?
 There's nothing I wouldn't do
To have just one more chance
To look into your eyes and see you looking back
Oh, I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself, oh, oh, oh.
If I had just one more day
I would tell you how much that I've missed you since you've been away
Oh, it's dangerous
It's so out of line
To try and turn back time
I'm sorry for blaming you for everything I just couldn't do
And I've hurt myself by hurting you

Oh, and, in honor of mom's birthday,  from now (January 20) thru Wednesday (the 22nd) my novel House of Cards will be on sale for just .99 cents. 


rozdennyfox said...

Such a heart-wrenching post, but a cathartic song you chose. It's hard to lose a parent at any age, but I think it would be so very difficult to go through that as a girl in your teen years.

christie craig said...

Wow. Very touching. Got tears in my eyes girl. Thanks for the reminder.


Anonymous said...

What a lovely, honest, and touching essay. Thanks for sharing. Lots of food for thought here . . .

Marina Myles said...

What a touching, heart-felt, and heart-wrenching post, Terri. It gives people lots to think about...

Terri Molina said...

Thank you all for reading and the lovely comments.

llankford said...

To me this is much more than just a post or and essay. I guess maybe because we were raised more like sisters than cousins. I was so young when aunt Josephine died but I do remember her. I do remember the day she died. I never really understood how deep the hurt You, your sisters, and brothers felt until I lost my own parents difference being I was an adult. I can remember hugging you at the funeral home and saying so. I love you Terri Mo and you are a wonderful mother and as much as I enjoyed reading your books I think this short little blurb about yourself was my favorite! Love you cuz!!

Fe Adamsonn said...

There are really things in life that we cant see the value at the moment and realize it on the later part. But the important thing is we were able to see it then even if its on the later part. I love your post and the poem.

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Joan Reeves said...

Terri, your post touched me. I lost my mom 4 years ago this week. Rarely does a day goes by that I don't think about her.

I guess we never really get over losing our parents.

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