Honoring a Cuban mother

To some, she was Rosaura, Nena, or Nenita.

To me, she was my mother, my world.

She was my first piano teacher, instilling in me a life-long passion for music.

She was Mother Courage, defying Castro’s regime and committing the ultimate sacrifice: sending her children away so they would be safe from communism.

She was Florence Nightingale, helping to care for others’ ailing children while taking care of her own.

She was Mother Teresa, helping the poor before it became fashionable to do so.

My image of her organizing the first food drive in our town, and canvassing poor neighborhoods to determine the health need of people who could not afford to pay for health services, served as inspiration for work I performed as an adult, helping impoverished communities across Latin America and Africa.

From her I learned the meaning of compassion. Although I still struggle to find the right words when trying to soothe a hurting soul.  At this she was masterful–she was always able to deliver the perfect message weather the receiver was an adult or a child.

In Cuba, on Mothers Day, it was customary to wear a white flower if your mother was deceased or red if she was alive.  I remember once when I was around five, holding onto her hand and crying because the woman we had just met was wearing a white rose on her blouse. “She doesn’t have a mami.”

“Yes, she does. Her mami is an angel, watching over her from heaven. Let’s wish her  Happy Mothers Day.”

On this Mothers Day, I will wear a white flower knowing that my mother is my angel, protecting me from above as I walk through life remembering all the lessons she taught me.

Mami, I love you and miss you every day.

To everyone who’s wearing a red or white flower, and to all the mothers in the world, Happy Mothers Day.

8 thoughts on “Honoring a Cuban mother

  1. Bellas palabras para tu mama, Lorenzo. EL amor de nuestras madres para nosotros fue un amor incondicional por eso es imposible olvidarlas.

  2. Lorenzo, very nice and loving tribute to your mother. As we get older and contemplate our mortality, we often remember our parents and their impact in our lives. Then we realize how much we miss them and if we could turn back the hands of time, just to spend more time with mami and papi. I still see my mami waving her hands frantically as my brother and I boarded a plane to leave Cuba in 1962. She was a woman of steel who shed not one tear as we departed..it was all about us…she wanted us to leave as emotionally intact as possible, although internally she was heartbroken. Only after we were out of sight did she break down and drown in her tears, embracing another woman for comfort. How did I know? I was watching her unravel from my seat, this loving, caring strong woman. Happy Mother’s Day mami, I love you! Thank you Lorenzo, I appreciate your post.

  3. Fernando, Thanks for your words. As I get older I understand more the pain our parents suffered when they put us on a plane to America. It was a selfless gesture of love that tore them apart but were willing to do for the sake of their children. Enjoy Mothers Day with Josie and your
    family.

  4. Loren: Lo primero que hice al entrar hoy a FB es venir a este lugar para decirte que me gustó mucho lo que escribiste sobre Nenita, como todo el pueblo de Antilla la conoció. Eres un ser muy especial y sé que donde ella esté siempre velará por ti. Es muy agradable para todas las madres ver que los hijos buenos como tu hacen derroche de muestras de cariño por ese ser tan especial que tantos hijos llevamos en nuestros corazones. Un abrazo buen amigo. Siempre en mi corazon.Marielena….

    1. Marielena, las madres son seres especiales que nunca se olvidan. Es difícil poder expresar con certeza la abnegación y el amor que las madres les ofrecen a sus hijos. Gracias por tus palabras. Siempre me has apoyado y te tengo a ti y a toda tu familia en un lugar muy especial en mi corazón. Loren.

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