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  • I said goodbye to my mom today. In her diminished capacity, she is no longer the woman who embraced my first breath, who nursed me, and who brushed my hair each day, admiring its near blue color.

    I said goodbye to the woman I once knew, who set out to conquer the world, and did.

    I said goodbye to her scones, which she carefully and cheerfully made for us, for the grandkids, and for friends. The butter melting softly on the top, lots of butter, as the scones were served straight from the oven. Your grandmother, she would tell us, said that the scones must be made and ready in the time the tea brews. And they were: ten minutes flat.

    I said goodbye to the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known. The classiest dresser, always a silk scarf around her neck, discreet yet beautiful jewelry, just the right touch of make up, perfect hair.

    I said goodbye to her as she looked at me with her beautiful green eyes that were devoid of awareness, almost of life.

    Whether I name it “dementia” or it is just old age, she is gone, the mom I once knew.

    I said goodbye to the perfectionist who had a hard time accepting my imperfections, what she called my “rebellions”, while all the time admiring me. I said goodbye to her picking on me for my hair being too long, too short, too curly, too straight. For my clothes not right enough, too low cut, too conservative! I miss that, my mom looking at me with that discerning eye, and finding fault with just about everything I did. And yet, looking through her things, I find a folder containing every news paper article in which I was ever mentioned. A sure sign of her love and pride. And I say, thank you, mommy, for believing in me.

    I said goodbye to the woman who taught us love as no one has ever loved a man. I said goodbye to the woman who opened her house to all of us, no matter when, no matter how late, no matter how inconvenient. Who took care of our daddy until he was no longer. Who would take care of all of us all over again today, if only she could.

    I said goodbye even though some times, I get short glimpses of who she was. As she looks as my sneakers and tells me they’re ugly, or criticizes my pants as they are too big on me, or enjoys a cup of tea with me and tells me to put the sugar first, then the cold milk and then, the tea.

    But when I cover her face and her hair with hundreds of kisses and tell her it’s my revenge for all the kisses she ever gave me, she smiles slightly, looks vaguely into my eyes, and I know my mommy is no longer there.

    Otherwise, she’d be telling me to stop smothering her.

    So, today, I said goodbye.

    Hoy le dije adios a mami. En su disminuida capacidad, no es la mujer que vio mi primer respiro, me amamanto, y cepillo mi pelo todos los dias, admirando su color casi azul.

    Me despedi de la mujer que quiso conquistar el mundo, y lo hizo.

    Me despedi de sus scones, que nos hacia con tanto cuidado y alegria. La manteca derritiendose arriba, mucha manteca, cuando servia los scones recien sacados del horno. Nuestra abuela, nos contaba, decia que los scones se tienen que terminar mientras el te se prepare. Y asi lo hacia, en diez minutos!

    Me despedi de la mujer mas hermosa que he conocido. La mas elegante, siempre con un panuelo de seda alrededor del cuello, joyas muy discretas, un poco de maquillaje, pelo perfecto.

    Me despedi cuando me miro con sus ojos verdes hermosos, que ahora casi no tienen vida.

    Que le diga demencia o vejez, la mama que conoci en otras epocas, ya se fue.

    Le dije adios a la perfeccionista que siempre parecia luchar contra mis imperfecciones, que decia que eran mis rebeliones, mientras que me admiraba en escondidas. Me despedi de su manera de criticarme, por mi pelo, muy largo o muy corto, por mi ropa, muy salvaje o muy conservadora. Extranio a esa mama, que me miraba con un ojo critico, encontrando algun problema con todo lo que hacia. Y sin embargo, revisando sus cosas, encuentro recortes de diarios donde yo fui mencionada, muchos diarios! Una segura senial de amor y orgullo. Y me digo, gracias mommy, por creer en mi.

    Me despedi de la mujer que nos demonstro amor como nunca nadie amo a un hombre. Le dije adios a la mujer que nos abrio las puertas de su casa, a todos, sin pensar en ella, o como le podia molestar. A la mujer que nos ayudaria a todos, de nuevo, si pudiera hacerlo.

    Me despedi aunque de vez en cuando veo algo de lo que era antes. Cuando mira mi ropa y la critica, o cuando tomamos una taza de te juntas y me dice de poner primero el azucar, despues la leche FRIA, despues el te.

    Pero, cuando le cubro la cara y la cabeza con mil besos, y le digo que me estoy vengando por todos los besos que me dio ella, se sonrie levemente, mira vagamente a mis ojos, y yo me doy cuenta que mi mama, ya no esta ahi.

    Porque si estuviera, me estaria diciendo que no la moleste.
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