On Saturday, April 12th, we had a party for my mom.
As most of you know, my mom was quite a fan of parties. When I was growing up, she had New Year’s Eve parties. Being the oldest child, I usually wound up loosely “babysitting” the younger kids, which often involved us playing in the garage or being locked in a bedroom doing something mildly entertaining. We usually wanted to see what the adults were up to. One year I remember sneaking around taking pictures during the party, and my mom caught me and took my camera away. Who knows what sorts of illicit photographs I’d innocently taken that evening…
I attended House of Colombia parties, Christmas parties, BBQs, weddings, birthdays, and various other parties for reasons I never knew. I was young – I usually sat in a corner and read. When I got a little older, I’d bring my boyfriend and we’d try to dance Latin style, and maybe sneak a drink if the adults weren’t looking (or had had a few drinks themselves).
When I told my aunt that we were going to throw a party in honor of my mother, she wasn’t that surprised. My mom didn’t want a funeral (nothing so depressing!) or a wake (those can be so drab!), but how could she refuse a party? Aunt Eucaris said, “I remember when Mary married Henry, there was a hole in my heart. Not just because Mary was going to America, but because there wouldn’t be anymore parties.”
So we had a party. And so many of you came! Some wearing clothes that you knew my mom liked, some bringing food that you knew my mom liked, everyone bringing stories and laughter and hugs. There was good music, good food, and good company, just as advertised. People from Colombia, Spain, Puerto Rico… Schoolteachers, musicians, professors and artists… Brown, white, yellow, black… My mother always encouraged the bringing together of cultures and arts, and that was definitely represented on April 12th at the Herms home in Encinitas.
At the end of the night when I finally got a chance to sit down and relax, some friends of mine said, “That was a good party, but it didn’t seem like there was a lot of memorializing going on.” I beg to differ. Perhaps it was because we didn’t do things in the traditional way, and no one silenced the room in order to make themselves heard… but every time I tuned in to a conversation, it was “Mary” this and “Mary” that. People were sharing their memories of my mom to each other, and I think that’s a brilliant memorial.
Thank you all so much for coming to our home, helping us with the food and drinks, having a good time, and bringing so much love and happiness. I know she loves the fact that she made such an impact on so many people, and as long as Mary is in your minds, and you keep telling those stories, she’ll still be with us.