Here in My Heart

It has been 6 months since I lost my Mama. I have been trying to write something about her, about her life, her strength, her light, her influence on so many people, but it has been impossible. I’ve written before about the difficulties we face in adequately expressing love with words. I’ve never felt more right about my own thoughts. I am pretty good at writing physical descriptions of settings and people. I can fabricate a fairy tale plot to entertain my kids. I but now when I try to really memorialize the most influential person in my life, the woman who taught me everything truly important, the person I most want to emulate, I come up blank. I sat here for God knows how long just looking at the phrase “it has been 6 months since I lost my Mama.” The words did not fly from my fingertips. It has been just me staring here. Blank. “Lost.”

As I finally start writing this I realize how lost it really feels without Mama here. She was the rational one. The one who always loved. The one with a guiding voice. The one who always saw the best in people. The one who could teach herself to crochet the most intricate patterns just by looking at an example. The one who could easily grow an over abundance of vegetables just to give away whatever she could to anyone who smiled as she walked through the neighborhood. The one who could bring back to life the most wilted flower, propagate it, then replant it in it’s new home. The one who could cook anything. The only one whose sauce the finicky five year old me would eat. The one who loved to laugh because her thick accent hid her sarcasm enough to confuse its recipient. The one who could sing any infant to sleep. The one who stood strong in her faith, even when everything around her was crumbling. The one with folksy remedies. The one with ancient fairy tales. The one who our whole world centered around. Who we orbited for every occasion, event, and holiday. The only one whose judgment really mattered. The rational one. The one who always loved.

I know I am not the only one who feels so lost without my Mama. But we all have to try to find our way in our own way. I have been trying my best to be more and more like her every day. I am trying to be patient.  Am trying to think the best in people. I dug out my old knitting needles and crochet hooks, and while I can’t copy patterns by sight, I am almost finished with a whole blanket.

I planted some herbs, fruits, and vegetables outside. The birds keep eating my strawberries and the rabbits are eating the parsley and squash blossoms, but the basil and sage are abundant, there are several green tomatoes budding, and one green pepper! I started walking through my own neighborhood, and maybe one day I’ll also grow enough tomatoes to give out.

I planted some flowers and shrubs and potted a few succulents. Some of my shrubs were not supposed to be in full sun, but the others are thriving and my roses are blooming. I overwatered about half of my succulents, but am attempting to propagate from some leaves.

I am trying to cook, and pray, and laugh as she would. I found a book about Italian folklore and another about Italian folk magic and am trying to remember where old stories are crossing into our family traditions.

I’m trying. I’m hoping. I’m sad. But every time I feel a connection when learn a new stitch, or grow a new plant, read one of the old stories, or hear some old Italian music, I feel one step closer to being just a little more like the woman who has always been our “Queen Bee.” I hope my baby steps are making her proud.

Moana always reminded me of my relationship with my Grandmother. Having someone with such kindness, love, encouragement and faith in you (while cracking a few jokes) was the best thing my and Moana’s grandmother could give. I felt the pain Moana felt when saying goodbye, and took comfort in knowing there is nowhere I could be where she will not. My sweet friend Bridget knew how I felt about the movie and my Mama, and she gave me this beautiful print of Moana and her Gramma Tala. I keep it here next to one of my favorite pictures of her with me and my sisters, where it reminds me to carry her “here in my heart.”

7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lucretia Lord
    Jul 03, 2021 @ 22:22:49

    I remember walks with my mom and sister to Wright Avenue. I used to love to listen to your grandmother tell stories and laugh! I don’t know if you knew she was my brother’s godmother and that always made her special to me ❤️❤️

    Reply

  2. Pasqualina Bikoff
    Jul 03, 2021 @ 21:16:11

    Maria you are like your grandmother , you have her heart ❤️ her kindness 🙏What you wrote was so beautiful, I’m sure she is smiling 🙏❤️ You are incredibly 😘

    Reply

  3. Desi
    Jul 03, 2021 @ 20:36:50

    Beautifully stated Angela. Thank you for sharing her with us. We miss and love her too and the words sometimes get stuck. It’s so hard to articulate just what she meant. She was just goodness. Even when people didn’t deserve it at times and even when she had every right to be sad or angry. She was just pure goodness. Miss you Mama. Xoxo

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