“What use are they to me now?” my mother said on her deathbed about her treasured jewelry. In October of 2020, after an endoscopy she found out she had a stomach tumor, stage 4 cancer and not much long to live. the doctor apologized for having to share these upsetting news with us. I felt like in a nightmare but my main concern was her and I reminded her that God has the last word.
Things went down from there and as she laid in bed one day she expressed concern for us her four daughters and our sharing the beautiful jewelry she had collected throughout the years. She said she did not want us to argue or fight over something so insignificant she said for “look at me – what use are they to me now?”
Lovingly I reminded her of the many cherished memories we had of her jewelry. Memories of my dad gifting them to her so many years ago when he was with us, memories of our weddings, of birthdays and priceless memories of family gatherings. I wrote a poem in Spanish for her about her being the real jewel. She said the poem made her look very good and smiled.
She passed away on January 26, 2021 and since then I feel empty and lonely. She strongly believed in the power of a mother’s prayer for her family, and she reminded me that she would be praying for us in heaven where she hoped to be with my father, Robert her second husband, and her sisters. She reminded me to pray each day for my family and to value what is real – and jewelry, she said, has no real value.
She spoke softly for cancer weakened her fast. I imagined an octopus like creature living inside her devouring her guts. She did not seek any treatment. “I’ve lived a good life,” she told the doctor and I want to die in peace. Hopefully soon she added.
Few people I know love life more than she did. Always looking her best – a fashionista- even when going grocery shopping. She was a devoted housewife until 1979 when she took over my father’s business and turned out to be a better manager than he ever was.
She was 89 years old and never spent a single day in a hospital. She was our strength and our light. I was barely getting used to the idea of her helplessness and frailness when she passed away. We had some good talks that I will always cherish. One of them especially when she said jewels are worthless.
“Be grateful for your family, your health, your home and your friends. Appreciate your job, but don’t die for it. Only die for God; He is the true treasure,” she said.
I don’t have memories of hugs and kisses from her other than the usual hello kiss – she was not that type of mom, but she constantly called and prayed. Before any trip, I’d call her and ask her to light her candle and pray. Seldom can I say we had problems. I’ve always attributed blessings to her prayers.
And now she is gone. No more calls asking me to seek shelter during storms or to drive carefully in the rain. No more calls asking about my grandkids and her grandkids, my sons. Always wanting to know if we needed anything.
She lived at a Country Club and waiters say nobody as pretty as her and such a great tipper! nobody treated them as kindly as she did they said. She loved requesting her favorite melody during live piano nights and never missed a live music event. She almost begged me to join her and offered to pay my tickets. She was full of life.
And now she is gone and the lifeless, cold, jewelry is still here. Useless for they don’t bring comfort to my sorrow, they don’t heal my pain. They only remind me of the real jewel that was her.
Cherish your family and loved ones always.
Feature Photograph is of my mom walking on the beach in South Padre Island, Texas near her home.