A Pillar of Strength: Remembering my Mama

My Mama
Hello Pittsburgh!
It's been a while. I hope you all are doing well.  This is probably the hardest post I've ever written.

2013 has been quite a year for me (so far).  As some of you may know, my Mom was fighting breast cancer for the past 4 years.  Her struggle came to stop on July 8th of this year.  It's been exactly one month, to the day,  since she's been gone and I still can't believe it. She was the best mom, friend, and role model a girl could have.

My mom at about 5 years old

She had the most vivid imagination of anyone I have ever known.  The way she used to describe things, her stories, the ideas she would come up with, were all given such thought and detail that you felt as though she could transport you to the exact place and time she was talking about. She had amazing taste in food, music, movies, and just a general love for anything beautiful and interesting.  She was a woman of many hats.  She danced ballet her entire childhood until she was about 15, was a pure California surfer girl hanging out with her brothers at Dana Point as a preteen, a chola in high school, a club hopper in the late 70's, and a punk rocker in the 80's hanging out with the likes of The Cramps and Anthony Kiedis at Madame Wong's.  I guess you can say she was rather well rounded when it came to her taste.  That never left her and I could listen to her for hours talking about her adventures in L.A.

Me and my mom (I was maybe 3)
My mom and I had a special connection; she was my best friend.  From the time I was born until I was about 4 years old, she and I lived with my Granny in California.  She was a very hard working hair stylist, with clients such as Heather Locklear and Belinda Carlisle.  And on the weekends we ventured to the LA Children's Museum and fed the pigeons in the courtyard the rest of our Carl's Jr french toast sticks. Thanks to her, the first song I ever knew the words to, was "Holiday" by Madonna. We were inseparable and stayed that way until the day she died.

(from left: My grandpa, me, my brother Mikey, my sister Taylor, and my Mom)
We grew up in Las Vegas where she climbed the corporate ladder for Starbucks and my Dad dealt blackjack on The Strip.  She loved living in Vegas; the lights, the cleanliness (in Henderson), the sunsets, the people, her job, she loved it.  At night while my Dad was working, she built us forts out of dinner chairs and blankets, we'd have movie nights and make funny videos of us singing and dancing for my Dad to see when he came home.  She always made our Halloween costumes and made our birthdays extra personal and special.  She always took the time to make things if she could; she was very crafty.  I'm sure my Dad still has a stack of homemade Valentine's Day cards somewhere.

She was the hardest worker I've ever known.  She loved to be busy, the chaos of a busy work environment got her going.  I still can't go into a Starbucks without getting choked up.  We shared a cup of coffee together every morning before I went to school.  We would take the first sip together and she would look at me and say "Ahh....runs through your veins."  Thanks to her, if I don't have coffee by 10am I am miserable for the rest of the day.  Later on when she became a chef, she taught me how to cook, how to keep a clean kitchen, and the importance how not to cross contaminate.  I always feel the closest to her when I'm in the kitchen.

At the Miss Oktoberfest competition in 2010

When she became sick, she would always say "I'm going to be ok, because I have to be." And she meant it.  She held on through stage 3 to stage 4 for four years.  When she lost her hair for the first time, it was like nothing to her, "I've had this hairstyle before," she said referring to her punker days. It was her eyelashes that she was devastated about; she had the longest eyelashes of anyone I (and most people) had known.  But she was always strong.  She always kept the most positive outlook that she could; she had her days, but for the most part she stayed very strong and always reassured us that she was going to fight as hard as she could, and she did.  She wanted (and needed) to be strong for her kids.

Our last picture together
This year was different, she was getting weaker and weaker by the day, two more spots of cancer showed up on her spine, and she wasn't eating as much.  When the doctor told her she couldn't go back to work, she was heartbroken.  I think deep down inside I knew what was coming.  I tried to spend as much time with her as I could.  I painted her nails, told her about all my adventures, and just tried to soak in as much of her as I could.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, there was nothing I could about the situation.  So, I just had to tell her how much I loved her, reassure her that I was ok, that I was going to be ok, and that I would continue to live my life.

In our last conversation together, we sat alone in the hospital room and I had no idea what to say to her. What do you say to the person who knows absolutely everything about you?  Our bond was so strong that I could feel her pain and I'm certain she could feel mine.  So I brought out my iPod and played her "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure, which was (is) our song.  We mouthed the words together, I held her hand, and just cried.  She told me that I had to keep going on, to keep doing what I do.  And that is why I've decided to reach out to you dear reader.  Thank you for listening.

It's good to blog again, I look forward to getting back into it.  Words of advice: Life is short, so love with all your heart, be good to those who love you, and love yourself enough to live a life you know you deserve.

In Loving Memory of Yvonne Janine Ramirez-Trenski
June 1, 1963 - July 8, 2013
Love you Mama! I know you're watching me!  Rest In Peace!
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