Thinking of mamá and the meaning of life

Estimated read time 4 min read

These days I feel more like a grownup than what I usually do; that feeling of life just going too fast and trying to catch up with it, to do more, to accomplish more. Questioning what’s the meaning of life in those moments when it seems that I will not make it, that I will be defeated by time. Then, luckily, I go back to my senses and breathe, embracing that Caribbean layback person I truly am, and I take time to enjoy it all: my children, my husband, my mother, my life. Yes, my life.


When I get into the grownup feeling of trying to do too much and questioning the meaning of life, I often search for answers in books, the Internet and/or documentaries that will make me feel hopeful and inspired to continue moving forward while always being present in the moment, not seeking the next one. Like the old saying goes: life is what’s happening while you are making other plans. I do my best to be aware of life itself, right now.

I always think of mamá, Mamá Amparo, my paternal grandmother who raised me since birth and whom I lost two years ago today. This past week I have been thinking about her so much more as the date of her passing was getting closer and, as usual, I was searching Netflix for some inspiration, for hope, for understanding what’s the meaning of life, what’s the point to it all. While browsing documentaries, I found one named Holes in My Shoes, about the amazingly inspiring life of Jack Beer.

This man, a newyorker who accomplished so many things in his long life, was particularly known for his enthusiasm. When they shoot the documentary he was 94, and it is really contagious to see how he talks and interacts with the interviewer. I love it when I see older people that are happy and enthusiastic. It reminds me of mamá, who before her seventies was like that. Sadly due to illness and aging, depression got the best of her and, while she still had her happy moments, there was a sadness in her that never seemed to leave her.

I hope I get to age as Jack Beer. I’m not afraid of being old, you see, I have been around old people all my life. My maternal grandmother, Fela, died at 95 and Mamá Amparo was 88 when she passed, I feel I know what is like. I just wish I inherited the clarity of mind my maternal grandmother had.

Going back to Jack Beer, I really recommend you look for the documentary, I was so impressed and uplifted by his outlook, and his definition of the meaning of life, despite having had struggles like we all do. The lowest point of his life was when he lost his second wife, he felt destroyed and with nothing else to live for.

Then, after mourning for a long time and thinking about her, he decided to write a letter and part of that letter was so moving and inspirational that gave me peace to think that my mother loved, she loved and was loved. She was kind, giving and a warrior. And that, as per Jack Beer words is the meaning of life.

I choose to embrace his words and be content that my mother, grandmother, Mamá Amparo, had a long meaningful life and I can only wish to do the same.

Here, I leave you with his thoughts:

“What is it all about? What is the meaning of our lives? What is the real purpose of our struggle and spiritual hunger, our victories and achievements, our sacrifices, and our suffering? What are we living for? I believe you will discover as I did, that love is what is all about. The love of God and men, and when you have found out what is all about, you will know that the object of life is not to be smart, but wise. Not to be rich, but generous. Not to be a racist or a bigot, but tolerant. Not to be powerful, but loving. Not to serve yourself, but to serve humanity with courage and charity” ~ Jack Beer


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