When Others Leave: June 12, 2013 (A phone conversation with Mama)

Papa's Teddy Bear

She asked me if I knew what happened to her mother, Nana.

She wants to sell everything and never return to Mexico, not without her mother and father being there.

I ask her if she had forgotten about them dying (my grandmother in 1988 and grandfather in 1970, right after I was born). Emphatically she says, “No! How can I forget something like losing my parents? Nana was in Mexico taking care of other sick people while I was in the states doing the same!”

She pauses for a moment. “How ugly,” she says in a much calmer voice, “and here people complain for no reason. People have to learn.”

She goes on about having to take care of things, nothing specific, just things.

She calls me Janie, my sister, and, after a few general questions (“Have you eaten? Have you rested?”), asks again when her Nana died.

“Several years ago,” I said.

She is shocked, again saying that she can’t remember them dying.

Suddenly, she remembers the small crypt she had built in the Espinoza family plot, at the cemetery near her hometown, Burgos, Tamaulipas.

“Oh Jesus, bless us,” she says. “I don’t like it one bit. Perhaps I should just go and stay there.”

I tell her that Steve and I are coming for a visit, which makes her very happy.

“How about that,” she says. “Everyone has their things. I am alone. “

To see if she can recall other events, I ask if she remembers when she and Papa took me to the university in San Marcos, for the fall semester of 1987. She remembers leaving me behind, but that is all. I remember them driving away; she had tears running down her face, as did I.

I ask her what year it is. “I have no idea,” she says dismissively. “I don’t know anything.”

She keeps referring to me as Janie.

“I only wish he would come and find me,” she says plaintively, speaking of my father (who had passed away in 2009), of which I am fairly sure. I can imagine her staring at his side of the bed, where his stuffed red teddy bear sits propped on his fluffy pillow.

“He is always with you, walking beside you, protecting you in your dreams,” I said.

“When others leave… you have to keep moving forward,” she says quietly.

Then, as if bothered by too many thoughts or unpleasantness, she pronounces in a comical voice, “Oh well, why do I want a new person, all ugly and smelly!”

3 thoughts on “When Others Leave: June 12, 2013 (A phone conversation with Mama)

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