Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

My Mama’s Loss and the Mandela Principle

I’ve tried to be around mama a lot the last few days since arriving in Los Angeles last week. She lost her sister last week. This is the first sibling she or my father have lost.

Mom, I’m happy to report, has had a good time since she arrived, cooking good food, chatting, and bossing everyone around. She’s actually even smacked me a few times, which is par for the course and usually deserved. In conversation, she only broke down once. Overall, she is taking comfort that her sister is in a better place.

More generally, however, mom does not give into despair. She possesses an indomitable spirit. Her life is an example of someone who subscribes to the Mandela Principle: “I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.” We can shorten this: “Never despair for that way lays defeat and death.”

I wish, more than anything, that I had such a spirit.


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