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A letter to my mom,

Hi mom, hope you are doing well. In my heart and my mind, today is the anniversary of your departure to the heavens. You left on a day like today and yet everything has changed. Years have flown by, I’ve grown up,  I became a woman, a mother, and a spouse; but the pain of having lost you, that feeling is still the same.

Every April 19, I think of your life, also of your loss. If I’m being honest, no matter how hard I try, there are things that I don’t remember about you, about us. There are fresh memories, of course, but so many empty spaces as well. One of the times that I miss you the most is when I try to find logic in my present moment, based on my childhood memories. In those times, I would like nothing more than to run to you and ask you how I used to be.

I need your words of empowerment and encouragement. I miss your voice, your advice, and your strength. Thousands of times over the years, I´ve tried to recreate the things you would think or what you would say to me. By using my logic and a box full of memories, I´ve many times pretended to know what your words would have been in those moments when nothing else I’ve come up with seems to work. But mom, you´re not here, and I may never know what your words or your advice for me was supposed to be.

On April 19, 1994, I thought I was okay that you had gained the ticket to heaven. Cancer is such a jerk, mom and no one deserves to suffer the way you did, but I thought I understood it was your time to leave this life and rest. But throughout the years I’ve learned that actually, I never really accepted you were leaving me and I will forever grieve.

When a mother is gone forever, there is a time when you realize and accept that no one else cares about you in the way she did. You get used to living for yourself and by yourself, and after a while, you have in your heart that feeling that love is not worth it, and it’s okay to feel that way. But everything changes when love is born again.

Mom, your grandson, Emir; he’ll be 10 years old in a couple of days. His age means to me the number of years that it took me to believe in love again. Love is such an incredible feeling that despite the challenges and risks that it brings, it’s worth it to be lived. Can you see? Unconsciously I’m repeating your words again, I think I learned from you more than I can realize. Mom, you live in my heart.

Let me tell you about Ayelén, she’s already 7 years old. She looks so much like you, in the same ways she looks like me. I’m 36 years old, mom, and many times when I look at my reflection in the mirror, I can see you. Every day I look more like you. We are not as different as we used to believe. I’ll be forever your daughter, mom.

The illusion of once being able to give you a hug and a kiss is still alive. I guess I’ll treasure forever the fantasy of seeing you once again. I would like to touch your face. I feel as if I lost the blessing of seeing your hair turning white with age and skin wrinkle with time. For you, life took away the gift of hearing your grandchildren call you “grandma.” And that makes me sad.

You have been missing for the majority of my life! I had you only for 16 years, a period of time that is never going to change, increase or decrease; but instead, every year I lose a little more of you, this year I’ve missed you for 20, and every year is one more.

When you left, mom, memories got stuck. Sometimes I open the memories to realize that is all that I have of you. There was still so much to come, but our life together stopped 20 years ago. You are there, and here I am. All that I have left from you is the hope that tempers my thoughts as I have to believe that you’re watching us even we can’t see you and that you love us, and take care of us even when we’re unaware.

I’m 36 years old now and you left when you were only 41. Now, I finally understand how it feels to be scared. I can’t imagine life without my children, and I can’t imagine their lives without me. From a mother to mother, mom.. today I can understand your pain. From a daughter’s eyes, I’m always going to be a child when I think of you just as my daughter will be when she thinks of me. You’ll always be to me, the most beautiful, smart and wise person in the world. You’ll always be my mother, your love my guide, and your memory, my forever companion.

Love you always, mom.


Eliana Tardio

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5 Comments on “Letter to My Mom 20 Years After Her Death”

  1. Muy bellamente escrito Eliana! Gracias por compartir esta carta abierta a tu madre. Un abrazo a la distancia y gracias por el honor de permitirnos ser tus amigos…. Yo AZQ

  2. This is the most beautiful tribute. Your mother must have been as amazing as you. What a blessing to the world you are!

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