Today marks the first year anniversary of our mother’s passing. I’m still trying to grasp my head around the fact that a whole year has come and gone; our lives haven’t been the same without her—nothing will ever be the same without her. 

The last days of her life were torturous and excruciatingly painful for her, and her passing is still an open wound to me. Despite the fact that both my brother and I deeply miss her we should rejoice that she’s finally resting in peace, she’s no longer in pain, no more chemo, no more blood tests, no more nasty side effects—this is something that a handful of people have remarked to me over the course of this past year and reiterated over the past couple of days.

Bittersweet, but that’s the only solace I can get after all the thing she had to go through in her life, as well as those two and a half years that spanned her uphill battle against cancer with every card stacked against her. Whether you attribute it to cultural peculiarities or simply because I’m a mommy’s boy, I deeply miss her regardless.

This past week was quite the emotional roller coaster, I kept going through the events of March 2018 like it was just yesterday. If that wasn’t enough, five long and drawn out blackouts have done nothing but exacerbate said negative thoughts; my mind tends to do that when it’s idle, and with all these blackouts well—it’s been quite idle. 

This morning I had plans to visit her grave and leave flowers to her as well as my other relatives that have passed away, but I was unable to due to a friend’s car woes and yet another blackout. This is something I will do as soon as things stabilize in this collapsing socialist utopia.

The promise I made her hours before she passed away continues to be my major driving force: I promised her that I would take care of my brother and that I will do anything and everything so that he’s happy and has a good future. 

Those are things that I simply don’t see happening in this country, not with the ongoing collapse of everything around us. I’ve taken care of my brother to the best of my ability over the past year, we’re both socially inept but we’ve made a good team over this past twelve months—and we’ll continue to do so.

Starting a new life abroad was a goal we three shared before she was diagnosed with cancer in 2015; nonetheless, she remained optimistic that we’d achieve this goal until the very end. Getting my brother out of this country and migrating within a legal context and framework has been a journey I embarked upon as soon as I recovered from the chickenpox that hit me shortly after her burial. 

It certainly has proven to be more difficult than I originally thought, it’s been a journey filled with way more obstacles than I originally anticipated, and it’s not like the country’s political instability has made it any easier for us. Embassies continue to be closed or are only providing emergency services to their respective citizens, and my legal options continue to be reduced.

However, I’ve finally established a viable (albeit not ideal) plan towards this goal, this is something I’ve been working on for the past weeks but the blackouts have slowed things up, much to my dismay. Still, we’re closer than ever before now—only a series of paperwork and formalities stand in our way.

For all my flaws, regrets, mistakes, and past misdeeds, not being able to save my mom is (and will always be) my greatest failure in life. Here I am, a year after she passed away, still lamenting that I wasn’t able to find the treatment she needed to properly fight against cancer.

I now hold the second draft of the first stage of what I hope will soon become my magnum opus; from the moment I told her about this project in 2016 I longed for the day that I could present it to her.

I really wished with all my heart that I could present the finished product to her, alas, fate hat other things in store—we can’t always get what we want.

I can’t change the past, but I can carve a good future for the two of us, and that’s exactly what I’ve been working on over the past months. With the renewed hope and optimism that I’ve managed to accrue lately, I will achieve all of my current goals and plans that will ultimately lay the foundations for a bright and fantastic future for my brother, I’ll see through that he manages to unleash his potential once we’re out of these borders. 

At the same time, I will continue my efforts towards becoming the son that she deserved to have. The fact that I haven’t accomplished much in three decades and that quite frankly, I’ve been an underachiever—specially compared to all of her accolades, is something I’m very much conscious about and something that I’m actively trying to fix.

I cannot and will not rest until I’ve fulfilled my promise, which I renewed today when I prayed at church. I won’t rest until both my brother and I begin a new life within the next weeks/months, we’ll start a new life, one where we can employ her teachings and all the things she imparted upon us towards becoming a force of good in this world.

Certainly so, neither of us will ever be doctors worthy of her caliber. I will never be able to save lives in a similar manner than she did in her professional career, but if I can find my own way to do so with these hands and brain of mine, then I suppose that I’d be one step closer towards becoming the son that she deserved to have.

I owe her so much, she wasn’t wealthy, but she gave us something that money can’t buy: a set of morals and principles that when properly employed, become powerful tools towards becoming a decent human being. 

She always did everything in her power to make sure that we’d be properly fed, that we attended school because she knew the importance of education—I didn’t saw the importance of her insistence regarding proper education when I was younger but now I do. 

She deserved better, much better than the cards life dealt her—but that’s how life goes.

Before today’s afternoon Mass started I prayed to the Lord and to her, I renewed my promises and sharpened my resolve. A great future lies ahead for Christopher and for me—all I have to do is finish building it, and after today’s Mass I’m more determined than ever before.

The good deeds I’ve done, the mistakes I’ve made in the past, my vices, my virtues, my sins, my shortcomings, my peculiarities, my regrets, my extols, all that I am—I’ll embrace it all as I carve a fantastic future for the two of us, I’ll become a force of good in this world just like she was in life.

Our last real vacation, back in 1998.

I love you, mom. Even when I’m nothing but dust and ashes in this world I’ll still love her.

I’ll make her proud.