The Delaware River, the spot where we spread my mother’s ashes
The day my mother had open-heart surgery I was convinced she would die. As the doctor sliced her chest open, my brother Jesús and I left the hospital. We decided to shed our tears at home, privately, instead of the hospital’s cold and unwelcoming waiting room.
In the comfort of his twin bed we laid side by side, crying uncontrollably. Words were blurred as the river of pain splashed across our faces. We tried to console each other in the few seconds of freedom from our tears.
Hugging each other in that tiny bed we calculated the details: mami would be cremated. We knew this was her desire and we were ready to follow through with it.
Hours went by and we nervously made our way to the cold waiting room. There was no one in sight. “Oh no, this is not good,” we thought. We started crying as soon as we saw the doctor.
The man in scrubs delivered the news: mami had made it, the surgery had gone well. “What?! Thank heaven!” we exclaimed at the top of our lungs, as we held each other tight.
We were led through a long corridor that connected to the intensive care unit. Peaking behind a white curtain we saw our mother.
She was sleeping on a stretcher that seemed barely big enough to hold her. Wrapped tightly in white blankets, she reminded me of a newborn baby. Atop her chest was a small teddy bear clutching a heart between his paws.
“The teddy bear is for her to squeeze when she coughs,” the nurse said, explaining that it was important that the stitches along my mother’s chest didn’t come undone.
It took months for my mother to recuperate but she did it like the champion she always was.
My mother lived for seven more years. The day we lost her, none of us were prepared. But we followed the plan accordingly: she was cremated.
Her ashes were scattered in the Delaware River one lonely spring afternoon two years ago. I envision her remains traveling through the river and into the Atlantic Ocean, freely navigating the waters of the world eventually reaching every continent.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think of her blond hair, green eyes, and her beautiful freckled faced adorned with a perfect smile. She was and continues to be my inspiration.
Gracias mami por todo lo que me diste y enseñaste. Te amaré y recordaré por siempre. Bendición!