For those of you who are wondering… I didn’t post anything last week because I was saving the next post for this very special one.
“It always seems impossible, until it’s done.” is a quote famously attributed to many and it is one I try to live by. As you’ll read in my upcoming book The Third Return, so much seemed impossible that became possible in both my life and my mother’s life. In the years before and after her passing, much happened that, in my wildest dreams, I never saw coming. Good and bad.
The worst of everything was the losing Mom at 45 years old to the man who was suppose to care for her in sickness and in health.
The Third Return is a memoir about my life with Mom and how, with the best and worst of events, gave me strength and happiness I never had. Above every lesson I’ve had thrown my way, the most important I’ve been able to digest is that Good and Bad exist in everything that happens in life, it’s simply a matter of how you choose to perceive it.
But today, this isn’t about me. Today is May 31st and, with great sadness, it marks 9 years since Mom was taken from my life. See, I grew up knowing my mother as a quiet, obedient woman, but this is not the woman she became in her last years. Nowhere close.
Instead, she was fierce, vocal and even disagreeable at times- this was a good thing, I promise. She radiated with beauty, a vibrant smile and shed her sweet heart everywhere she walked- in heels might I add.
Because I’m an optimistic person to the core in the same way she was, I can find some good in just about anything. So, today though seeming contrary, I’m celebrating because it is the 1st year since her passing that I can recall her memory with JUSTICE.
For the 8 years prior, I worried that she would never have it. Worried that she might not be able to rest in peace and an evil man would have gotten away with years and years of torment. But to have JUSTICE means that she has eternal peace. I no longer have to worry.
I’ve included something especially personal; below is a preview of my victim impact statement I presented in court. I had the opportunity to speak in court to my stepfather for the first time after 8 years with our judge and family present as well.
Many of you following my story might have very strong not-so-nice words you know you’d like to have said, trust me I definitely did, but when I actually came to the paper and tried to write, I couldn’t. I didn’t want to write just anything, but something that had the power, passion and riveting emotion to make even the smallest world of difference. I thought nothing, NOTHING, was going to come close to making the impact I really, REALLY wanted.
As my mother’s voice, nothing seemed good enough. But, in trying to find the good again in everything I do, I wrote something I thought said exactly what needed to be said:
“Good Afternoon your Honor. My name is Monica Medina, I’m the daughter of our beloved mother, Irma Arroyo. To stand before you today is a dream, it doesn’t feel real and it may not for a long time. To stand before you today means something of truly, great significance in my life. A day so significant, no words come close to capturing its importance. Nonetheless, it’s a day that we’ve been waiting for for far too long.
I never imagined we would ever make it to this point, to imagine it felt like wishful thinking. But now to finally be here, is simply without words. I stand here knowing that the life of terror and fear I have lived my whole life, since a young child is finally over. To know that a horrible life I have lived and endured, is finally at its end and will no longer keep me in its grasp. I feel I can finally break free from an evil past.
Though my heart is happy for this day of justice, we’ve made it here without our mother. When she past, I lost a huge part of life. I know for as long as I live, I will never be whole again. I will forever miss a love I will never have. A relationship, I will never have nor will I ever have the chance to live it fully. As a result of this senseless evil, I have lost the opportunity for many memories.
Though for years I have cried immense amount of tears and experienced much pain, I have finally come to a point where I hold no hate in my heart. No hate towards this spineless person sitting here with us today. Because I know that he was not lucky enough to experience a life with the same person I did. That we all did. I know that when she was with us, we were fortunate enough to have enjoyed the best of her. The true and honest person she was. We experienced time with her when she was truly able to be herself and take all her guards down to experience the joy and freedom that life offers. We were able to spend time with her when she could think and speak freely, relax and enjoy herself, having peace for a moment of time. We were blessed to have felt special, protected and greatly loved by her…”
♥ In memory of Mom, Irma R. Arroyo ♥
Thank you for reading.
The rest will be featured in The Third Return.