An Autism Pause

Why a pause? Because I am affected by something else that is greater than the way I feel towards autism.
My thoughts are consumed by the greatest loss of my life, the death of my mother.  Autism ties into my relationship with her, but for now, I'll be weaving in and out of it.  For right now, without her, there is no me.

In memory of

My mom was a funny petite little person wrapped up in your average traditional version of what a Latin mother is supposed to represent.  She loved her family, she liked a clean home, she loved to cook for her family, and she loved to garden. And April Fools. Seriously. Same joke every year. For years.

I see her legacy in the flowers and trees she planted. It was her biggest accomplishment to date, so personal and so therapeutic for her. When I see all she has done in her garden, it is hard to believe that she created such beauty with her bare hands. Pictures can never do it justice. It is a sight to behold. Many times when we spoke, she would be in her garden, in the hot Florida sun, taking care of her babies.  She had such a gift.

                                Just a snapshot of her creations

I've always been very protective of my mother.  Being her youngest and a female, I felt closer to her even though she had love for all.  But in my mind, she was all mine. (And it just clicked where Chloe gets it from.) Growing up, my dad worked nights and on the weekends, she would let one of my brothers and I stay up late watching SNL.  I can remember that he and I would do our own skits featuring people in our family and she would laugh hysterically.   During the day while my dad slept, she and I would spend our afternoons shopping in the local boulevard and having lunch in its eateries.  She was always being stopped by someone who I never recognized.  She was loved even then.

Everyday while living at home, I watched her as she cooked many meals but I wasn't into following her footsteps until I met my husband and had my own family.  Then, as my kids came along, my mother emerged in my cooking hands.  We'd go back and forth giving each other cooking tips on how to make a better meal for our families.  I never thought that I would enjoy that part of taking care of a family but it is how today, I feel closest to her.  

As I got older, I truly appreciated the type of woman my mother was and I try to live in her memory.  However, if she is somehow listening, "Mom, I really am trying. Please send me strength."

I learned how to be ferocious and protective in my marriage by watching her with my dad.  She was fiercely protective of him. I can tell you how she embodied the "ride or die" attitude but I will keep that to myself for now.  Now those are great memories! Let's just say sometimes my dad had to hold her back, literally.  She was sweet, kind, and all things love but she was no one's pushover. My dad and I had several "yikes" moments with her. "¡Mamí, pero que tu hace!" was a phrase I could say I used often.

Clara y Raul

                                The last picture I took of them, August 2015

So when Daniel was first diagnosed and I fell into a deep depression, she was the one that pulled me out. She educated herself on the topic, with no help from me, and started to give me the best advice about autism and parenting in general.

Only a mother can do that, and she did that for me. And anytime that I felt lonely and lost, she was the one to find me and keep me company. We would speak everyday since probably the day I was born, until the day before she passed.  

40 years, 3 months and 29 days I knew her every move, I heard her voice everyday.  And now she's gone and I don't know who going to find me now.

                           Man, oh, man. She was so mad at me in this picture!

                              My mom and I. My mom and Adriana. #twinning


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