She was my sister, by soul and by blood, chosen long ago. Long before we landed on Earth.
She was my second mama, my confidant, my teacher, my fix anything, my therapist, my cool compass, my model for looking young forever, my stylist, my everything tech provider, my culinary chef, my best brunch host, my philosopher, my encyclopedia, my healer, my protector, my Sisero, my C.O.
When I was a babe, her bottom lip was the only thing that would calm me down. My mom would be home with me all day going crazy in my hysteria and as soon as my sis got home from high school she handed me over and I would calm. Human valium from the go, my saving grace.
That would be her role for a long time after those baby days. She talked me off the cliff so many times, literally and figuratively. For decades, after breakups, after fights, after losing myself time after time, she was the one I went to, always. Her last lesson, deep in my postpartum depression was the one that stuck. Finally I got it. Found the medicine within she knew was always there. And now that she’s gone, her life taken too early, I’m grateful that I can find peace and grace thanks to her forever love and lessons.
She took me on my richest adventures, through the U.S., Mexico and South America. Introduced me to many of my firsts, seconds and lasts. She was the cool big sis to all my friends and then the coolest mama to all her children and their friends. She was cool for generation after generation.
We did concerts and music well. That was our sister time over the years. She took me to parties in Chicago, Mexico, El Paso. I remember landing at the airport in Mexico City, Andria running in to get me and handing me an envelope with tickets to Mana at the Azteca Stadium. We ran to the car and there was a crew of party people, my sis at the steering wheel. Our seats were on the end, 20th row and we stood the entire time, dancing and grooving, drinking and singing. Best concert of my life. Thank you C.O.
Then it was my turn, I introduced her to ACL and we rendezvoused year after year, for about a decade. We saw Bjork and Manu Chao, Lionel Richie and Red Hot Chile Peppers. My favorite was throwing down a blanket and dancing to Dwight Yoakum. She loved her some Dwight Yoakum.
As for her work, she was a force, a revolutionary in each space she played in. Her primary work was raising 4 amazing humans, pretty much on her own from a young age. That was her greatest job, her most fulfilling journey.
She worked for colleges and organizations. Started her own business and non-profit. She even had a stint on the school board. Her passion to transform the education system was her jam and she did it, while juggling the rest of life. Just three weeks ago when the home health nurse interviewed her about her life, he said “Oh you used to work for NMSU?”, “No”, she said. “I’m still the program director, I’m still working”. He was impressed. Of course.
She was more than impressive. She was a superstar.
She will be Dr. Benedicto by the end of 2020, after her graduation from Earth, she’ll graduate from school too.
She taught me about effortless mama-ing. “Just be like you were with my kids. You were fun, playful, not taking much too seriously, they’re unbreakable, resilient.”
She laughed at all the labels ‘conscious, gentle, positive parenting’ and said, “I was doing that before it became a big business, it’s called parenting”.
“Just stop reading, Cukie Monster, you know what to do.”
Another lesson that has stayed and is slowly sticking. It’s getting easier C.O., I’ll be as in flow and natural as you one day.
The last trip we took together was to Mexico, in search for a miracle cure. The chemo had not done anything and the cancer was taking over her whole body.
It was a magical and miraculous road trip. We drove through the Sonoran desert in the heat of the summer. Temps had been over 105 for weeks. As we drove, a thunderstorm came through, it was cold and rainy and we felt the breeze in our bones. She was the best DJ, playing the perfect songs for our 7 hour drive. We danced and sang. When we got out of the car, there was a rainbow on the horizon.
We even found a park, The Cancer Survivors park in Tucson. Lake in the middle, drum circle on the edge, 20 people singing and drumming, dancing and playing. She sat on the roots of an enormous tree and smiled.
Hope lives was her motto. She used it in so much of her life. It was a constant reminder for all of us.
I’m the luckiest because of you. Everyone who knew you is the luckiest, the most blessed. Some say if you come back, not to do so in our family, but I disagree. I believe we have the best family and maybe even better because we have you and dad as light workers on the spirit side. And I know when you decide to return, you’ll choose wisely as you did this time around.
You told me that I taught you what it was like to love unconditionally and that was all you needed to be a mama. From that comes everything.
And I say to you, because of your unconditional love, everything has come. Thank you, C.O., thank you for the whole wide world I got to see through you and because of you for my entire life.
Your youngest said, “When you go, you get the eternal gift of being with all four of your children at the same time, if that’s a thing”.
I say absolutely that’s a thing.
You will never leave us and as I saw sparkle water, sunshine, the most beautiful day and butterflies of all types flying by, I believe you put yourself back together after the cocoon and you’re here with me, with them, with anyone who has ever had the honor and privilege to know you Earth side.
Fly high, sister butterfly. We love you so much. Always and forever.