Upstate — New York

It’s been almost a year. As I hike the path we have so often when we’d take our trips upstate, I think about how time has moved so fast and so slow all at once. I miss you, Mami. More than I can fathom, sometimes. And that’s putting it mildly. 

\Now that’s a word that never made it into your vocabulary. You did everything to the max, whether it was gardening, cooking, climbing the corporate ladder, or cheering for Argentina on the soccer field. They won the World Cup last year, but of course you know that. We all wished you’d been there with us. It was a tradition you started—all of us coming together to watch sports. That was your gift to us. 

Well, one of them.

You taught us—my siblings, Melissa, and me—to be determined, to work hard, and to give everything our all. You led by example, too. When I was laid off a few years ago, I remembered back to when you sold the restaurant and were submitting job applications. I told myself that if you could start over in your late fifties, then I could in my thirties. 

Your spontaneity and fun-loving nature were gifts in and of themselves. You never cared what anyone thought. If there was an excuse to dress up in a costume, you were doing it. If you wanted to pose with Melissa’s swim medal to show off your “award winning” zucchini, you did it. And if there was a meteor shower at 4 A.M., we were all out on the beach watching it. Nona, too. 

That will forever be one of my favorite memories, by the way. 

Remember when we were at the hospital, looking out at the East River? You asked what I was going to do with your ashes. It was a conversation I didn’t want to have, because even after they’d told us there was no cure, I couldn’t imagine my life without you in it. 

I didn’t speak, I don’t think. Or if I did, it was something noncommittal, me wishing the conversation would go in another direction. I’ll never forget what you said next, though. You didn’t turn to me. You just kept looking out at the water. “You know, you could make me a Diamond.” 

After all you’ve done for me, it’s the least I can do for you. I sent a half cup of your ashes to Eterneva, and we’re in the process of growing a gorgeous, blue, emerald-cut Diamond. And right before it comes home, I’m going to have them engrave “Always my rock” on it. 

You didn’t always have the best of everything, but you always made the best of everything. Thank you for being my mother, my best friend, my rock. I can’t wait to have a piece of you with me again. 

Love, Vane