Today would’ve been my mother’s 77th birthday.
My mother, Nole, was an amazing and strong individual with a lot of heart, and drive. She was an awesome cook, an incredibly talented artist and crafter, had a goofy sense of humour, and was very generous to those she cared about. She survived the annihilation of her village in the Philippines by the Japanese in WWII, as well as a sexist, patriarchal, and sometimes abusive life in PI.
She came to America to wed my father in 1961 in Alabama, when it was still illegal to have an interracial marriage, but they were married by a judge and then later in a Catholic church. My mother became a US citizen and then eventually helped bring her parents and siblings to the states in the 1970s. She went to college to become a cosmetologist and worked the last 13 years of her life at a salon in JC Penny’s. The money she made was often sent back home to help her deceased brother’s children go to school.
She was diagnosed with cancer the first time in 1972, shortly after her brother passed away. She was diagnosed with cancer again in 1974 and survived both instances. In 1987 she was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She fought hard and survived for 4 years, but she passed away on June 13, 1991.
My mom was an incredible person. I love her and miss her so very much every single day.