Gustavo Arellano’s Weekly, Canto LX: A Eulogy for My Mami, Maria de la Luz Arellano Miranda

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Gentle cabrones:

We buried my Mami yesterday, in a beautiful ceremony that started with over 800 people at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Anaheim on Thursday night for a rosary and will end in nine days after we finish our novena for her.

On the one-year anniversary of Mami’s death from ovarian cancer, I will unload a thousands-words canto sharing all the pain and lessons I’ve learned. It’s just too painful right now to share.

For now, I will share two things — a canto next week about community, and the eulogy I was supposed to read at my Mami’s funeral.

I originally wasn’t planning to read anything — I said what I needed to say a couple of weeks ago in a Los Angeles Times essay about her capirotada. But my siblings insisted I write something short, and so I did.

And then, I didn’t have a chance to read it at Mass. Damn mariachi.

It’s all good. My sister brought down the house the night before with a magnificent off-the-cuff speech in Español and English about our Mom that was the best mic drop since Don Rickles told Frank Sinatra to hit someone.

Seriously: I’m the least-talented of the Arellano kids.

But following is my eulogy. Gracias to ustedes who have sent kind words to my family during these trying times. Mami was wonderful…

**

Program for my mom’s funeral. Photo was when she was in her early 20s — yet she was more beautiful in her final days…

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Solo tengo cinco minutos para dar este elogio, aunque necesito toda una vida. Así que todo lo que puedo hacer es dar gracias.

Gracias a todos los que están aquí hoy para dar honor a mi Mami.

Gracias a Dios por darnos 67 años de María de la Luz Arellano Miranda. Gracias a mis abuelitos, José Miranda Bermudez — mi Papá Je — y Marcela Fernández Martinez — mi Mamá Chela –, por criar a una hija tan amable. Gracias a mi padre, Lorenzo, por casarse con una mujer increíble.

Gracias a todas las tías, tíos y primos de la familia Miranda por amar siempre a mi madre. A las tías, tíos y primos Arellanos por aceptarla como una de ustedes. Gracias a todas sus amigas y compañeras de trabajo, que se han comunicado con nuestra familia para compartir historias sobre la generosidad y el valor de Mami.

Gracias al Dr. Noah Rodriguez, por hacer todo lo posible para ayudar a mi madre a superar su enfermedad. A mi cuñado, Bernie, por ser como un tercer hijo para mi madre. Mi esposa, Delilah, por ofrecer el pozole de mi Mamá en su restaurante.

Gracias a mi hermana Alejandrina, por tomar la iniciativa y ayudar a mi Mamá el año pasado. Gracias a mi hermana Elsa, por manejar todo lo relacionado con este funeral y por darle a mi madre un nieto. Gracias a mi hermano Gabriel, por hacerle compañía a Mami cuando más lo necesitaba.

Y finalmente, gracias a usted, Mami. Usted fue la madre perfecta: cariñosa pero estricta, reservada y orgullosa, y la mejor cocinera de todas. El epítome de una zacatecana: trabajadora, humilde y santa.

La queremos, Mami.

Now, in English:

I only have five minutes to give this eulogy, even though I need a lifetime. So all I can do is give thanks.

Thank you to all of you who are here today to honor my Mami. Thank you to God for giving us 67 years of María de la Luz Arellano Miranda. Thank you to my grandparents, Jose Miranda and Marcela Fernandez, for raising such a kind daughter. Thank you to my father, Lorenzo, for marrying an amazing woman.

Thank you to all the Miranda aunts, uncles, and cousins for always loving my Mami. To the Arellano aunts, uncles and cousins for accepting her as one of your own. Thank you to all her friends and coworkers, who have reached out to our family to share stories of Mami’s generosity and spirit.

Thank you to Dr. Noah Rodriguez, for doing everything possible to help my mother through her illness. To my brother-in-law, Bernie, for being like a third son to my mom. My wife, Delilah, for offering my mom’s pozole at her restaurant.

Thank you to my sister Alejandrina, for taking the lead to help my mom this past year. Thank you to my sister Elsa, for handling everything associated with this funeral and giving my mom a grandchild. Thank you to my brother Gabriel, for keeping Mami company when she needed it the most.

And finally, gracias a usted, Mami. You were the perfect mother: loving but stern, quiet yet proud, and the best cook of them all. The epitome of a Zacatecana: hard-working, humble, and holy.

We love you, Mami.

GRÍTALE A GUTI

This is the feature where I take your questions about ANYTHING. And away we go…

…actually, we don’t. I had a question from a reader about ranchera legend Miguel Aceves Mejia, his trademark squeals, and what it all meant. And I deleted it — sorry! My short response to the phantom question: Mejia is severely underrated, something I’ve said a couple of time in my cantos, and is slowly getting forgotten. We played some of “El Rey del Falsete” at Mami’s funeral. His squeals were his version of a grito, but he went high-pitch because of his falsetto. And if you want an AMAZING song, go with “Los Aguaceros de Mayo” — trust me. Finally, I promise not to randomly delete your question next time — disculpe, y perdóneme.

Got a caliente question? Grítale a Guti here.

**Enough ranting. This was the semana that was:

IMAGE OF THE WEEK: My parents’ dog, Canelo, sad like the rest of us 🙁

LISTENING: “Por El Amor a mi Madre,” Los Relampagos Del Norte. Out of all the mom songs in English and Spanish, I think this one is the best: a wayward son vows to give up partying, drinking, friends, vice AND “happy women” for his dear Mami. With a hell of a beat and lyrics by the legendary conjunto norteño group with one of the best band names EVER — The Lightning Bolts of the North.

READING: A Journey Down the Ganges in the Age of Modi”: River stories always fascinate me, and this one by the ever-great Bloomberg travels India’s holy waterway to tackle the problems the country’s prime minister promised to fix but never did.

Gustavo in the News

Artifact: The Sleeping Mexican”: My work on this most notorious (and misunderstood) of Southwestern stereotypes gets a shoutout by the Southwest Folklore Alliance.

Recollections and reconnections: Cuban nicknames and insults”: My eternal Twitter fascination with #MexicanNicknames inspired my pal Michael Calienes to pen a GREAT article about #CubanNicknames

Busted: Brash Stories from Texas and New Mexico”:  A conversation I had a couple of weeks ago at the Huntington Library with authors Joshua Wheeler and Bryan Mealer gets turned into a transcript — BOOM.

Circling Back…….To The Plaza”: A columnist at my former paper gives me a shoutout.

For the Love of Breakfast Burritos”: And I get a shoutout on this week’s cover story!

Real Mexican Food Doesn’t Get Any Respect In NYC, But It Should”: The homie profe Steven Alvarez credits me with getting him interested in teaching and writing about Mexican food.

You made it this far down? Gracias! Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram while you’re down here. Buy me a Paypal taco here. Venmo: @gustavo-arellano-oc. And don’t forget to forward this newsletter to your compadres y comadres!