Words from Sara

100 Days of Momma

I have lots of memories of my beloved Momma. Well, I don’t know if you could call most of them memories, per se. They’re more like moments frozen in time, vivid snapshots with no noticeable sound, or hyperspecific details that stick out among the blur for some odd, unknown reason. These pictures have always been in my head, yet there is no written account, no journal entry, and no recording. Rarely have I shared the memories with others. But as I reach the ten year anniversary of my dear mother’s death, however, I feel compelled to remember, reflect, and reevaluate what my six-year-old self remembers about the whole ordeal, both for myself and for those who choose to read and listen. So, as I embark on this 100-day (or so) journey of healing, I’d be honored if you’d join me.

God Bless,

Sara Joy

Day #1: S is for Star

There are a couple of reasons this particular memory comes to mind today. It’s the first day of Advent, which means the family Christmas traditions are in full swing. Yesterday, my boyfriend told me all about his family’s holiday season rituals. It brought a bittersweet smile to my face and took me back to a certain Espiritu family tradition that my Momma upheld amidst all that was going on around her.

Momma ignited and fueled her daughters’ love for reading. She always had new books for us to explore, and the Christmas season was no exception. Every year, she’d carefully wrap up a series of Christmas books. Some were classics; some were brand new additions to the collection. She’d label them 1-25, and each day of December leading up to Christmas, the sisters would tear through the paper to reveal the cover, open it up, and read it aloud.

I have a picture in my head of my sister, Priscilla and I opening up the first book of the 2009 Christmas season while outside a hospital room. The other sisters must have been at school. Momma told Priscilla to read the book to me while we waited patiently for her and Dad to be done. We tore away the festive wrapping and began to read: S Is For Star.

Looking back on this memory ten years later, it occurs to me that while this was happening, my parents were most likely receiving the worst news of their lives. I’ve learned from my sister, Grace, that on November 30th, Momma had collapsed in the middle of Kroger and had to be hospitalized. While I can’t know for certain, I can only guess that perhaps that first day of Advent, while two little girls were happily reading season’s greetings, the doctors were telling my Momma that she had some form of cancer, and that it would be a miracle if she lived to see the next three months. I can only imagine the strength it took for her to walk out of that room to see her two youngest daughters sitting and reading with smiles on their faces, full of life and oblivious to the fact that the life was being drained from the loving mother standing above them.

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