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My mother died a week ago today. Here is an obituary.

I’m posting about this because, after 16 years as part of this community, it feels strange not to mention it, as I’ve come to know a number of you, in the cyber-world and beyond.

My mother was not an especially political person, but she and her family suffered under the nascent fascism of Franco’s treasonous civil war, which turned them into refugees. (I told the beginning of that story here). Later she emigrated from Mexico to this country, a few months before I was born, and she and her husband spent their first six years here under the constant threat of losing their temporary legal status, as this was at the tail end of the extremely restrictive immigration laws in force from the mid-1920s until the mid-1960s.

Indeed, my parents almost moved to Switzerland when I was five, which makes me contemplate the contingencies of identity, since I suppose that means I came very close to being Swiss today. My mother remained keenly aware of the struggles of immigrants and refugees, and she was horrified by this aspect of Trumpism above all others. I believe she chose this gospel reading for her funeral Mass very much in that context:

The Judgment of the Nations.*

31f “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,

32g and all the nations* will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.

33He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35h For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,

36naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’

37Then the righteous* will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

38When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

39When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’

40i And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’

41* j Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

42k For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

43a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’

44* Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’

45He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’

46l And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

I’ve also been thinking lately about what to the best of my recollection is the only time my mother hit me, which was during the Six Day War. There was an Egyptian girl in my first grade class, and she made a little statement to the class about how Egypt was going to win the war, because of the bravery of it soldiers. I told my mother about this, and then said I didn’t like that girl. She asked me why, and I said because her skin was dark. She slapped me, and said with great intensity, “My skin is darker than yours; does that mean you don’t like me?

My mother read this blog every day, and I would like to believe that whatever work we continue to do here to oppose fascism and racism is among other things a tribute to her remarkable 92-year journey.

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