If you ever met my mom, you know she was as simple a woman as you would ever meet. Mami had the admirable quality of properly assessing the worth of things.
Mami was oblivious to brands, logos, or designers. Appearances never mattered to her. Although she always tried to look presentable and taught us to do the same, she never fixated on outward beauty. I will never forget the smell of Pond’s cream on her face all day while we did chores together. I will always remember how happy she was to show off her freshly dyed long, beautiful hair. But that was the extent of it. I never heard her complain about her looks, pick her body apart, or obsess over her wardrobe.
Her self-worth came not from what she acquired but from what she knew. She was so proud of being a Registered Nurse and a Licensed Minister. To her, achieving those titles and the knowledge, power, and influence that came with them was a source of pride. Even so, she was still herself. She was funny, sometimes to the point of making us blush with embarrassment, loud, vibrant, joyful, and tough. She was never afraid to speak her mind whether it was boldly standing up for others or making an off-the wall joke.
The only celebrities she could positively identify were Oprah and Jay Leno, but not even one hundred percent of the time. The only reason she did know of them was because my dad watched The Tonight Show and really, who doesn’t know Oprah? But bring up any Christian singers or preachers and she would light up. She knew the Bible forward and back. She could tell you all about the Kings, and Prophets, and Apostles, and places. If you began to utter a Scripture, she could quickly quote the book, chapter, and verse where it was from. People endearingly called her a Walking Concordance. This wasn’t because she was a “holier than thou” type, she genuinely loved God’s Word.
Giving was part of who my mom was. Together with my dad, they lived to serve others. They gave their time, resources, money, opened their home, went on missionary trips, sought out the lonely, and surprised the undeserving with generosity beyond measure.
At the moment of her death, the most valuable things she had were her family and her legacy. She may never have achieved what our world looks up to, but she excelled in what we ought to look up to. At her burial, there were over 200 people from all over the world in attendance at her graveside, one of the highest numbers our funeral home had ever seen. People who were not even active in her current life as most of our current friends were on Spring Break. These were people she marked so memorably over the years through her passion for God and people, they made a point to honor her and pay their respects.
In preparation for her memorial service, I asked people to describe her in one word.
Here is the list:
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What I love about this list is that the contributors are all different. Old, young, male, female, Christians, Atheists, homosexuals, wealthy, poor, professionals, uneducated, alcoholics, divorced, single moms, etc. It didn't matter to her. She was the same with everyone.
When I remember all the people at her funeral, I’m comforted in knowing her memory will live forever in so many hearts. Her extraordinary passion made her life truly a life well-lived! I love my Mami and I miss her dearly. I will always admire her for investing with eternal currency and strive to do the same.