Growing up I always knew that my Mother (#MAMI) was a very special soul. She had unique qualities that were exemplified in the ways that she met and kept people around her. She had a way of making everyone feel special. Mami was the most beautiful soul that I ever met. Mami never compared us, she always encouraged and taught us how to survive in this world. I never really understood the impact Mami had in this world until she died on March 30th, 2017. I knew she was special, but after that dreadful day, I was filled with joy and comfort to hear the things that people who knew Mami well and those who barely knew her, were saying about her. Meaning that it did not take long for Mami to plant her seeds of wisdom and joy in the hearts of people that she met along her journey of life on this earth. I have always been pretty good at expressing myself in writing. I find it therapeutic. I would typically write after taking a trip and feeling the need to describe my experience by including writing and my photographs to share with others. I quickly found that my photos and my words were impacting others. I shared them through my social media pages and my following became very solid and consistent. Therefore, I continued with this task. I then began sharing pictures of Mami and me, as she visited in Stone Mountain and when we traveled together. She became an instant sensation. Any photograph of her on my pages would always get more “Likes” than anything that I ever posted. I loved it and she did too. The idea of writing this book actually came from a comment on my Facebook page from my cousin Luna F. Ramirez. She had been following my postings of Mami and she had experienced Mami also growing up in Panama. She is the daughter of my Dad’s sister Dorothea. But, the commentary that followed and the inbox messages that were sent thereafter encouraging me to write the book, proved to be what I needed to get me going. I immediately discussed with my sisters and they both gave me the greenlight to proceed. I began jotting down ideas for chapters the following day and started making phone calls to key people in Mami’s circle to let them know that I would be interviewing them. Everyone was so excited and thought it was a great idea and a great way to pay tribute to the unique, outstanding soul that Mami was. The title “#MAMI”came about because I would tag her pictures on Facebook to label any postings of Mami and the idea for the book came about via a social media suggestion. For my sisters and me, our relationship with Mami was just the norm. Little did we know, what we had with Mami was not really the norm for the rest of the world. We assumed it was. Mother/daughter relationships can be so difficult for so many people and I am finding that out now. For us, it was smooth because Mami always found a balance to ensure that nobody felt left out or less than. She spread her love evenly across. I never felt like she loved me any more or less than my siblings. She didn’t only do this with us. She did this with her godchildren, grandchildren, nieces/nephews, siblings, friends and even strangers. She had a way of connecting with people instantly and they seem to not be able to get enough of her. She was truly an angel on earth. Mami was the best example of being a daughter, she took care of her mother (Abuela) and all the elders in our family, best example of a wife as she gave up working and became a full time housewife to care for us and was faithful to Papi until the end, best example of a mother as she cared for us and showed us equal love and not allowed us to feel any more or less than each other, best example of a sister as she is referred to as that best “big sister” anyone could ever ask for by her siblings, best example of a friend as she is called “best friend” by all of her girlfriends and best example of a Godmother, as she is adored by every single one of her godchildren. I must say that Mami was always that glue that held us together. Upon her death, we became even closer. I reconnected with her godchildren, her childhood friends, my childhood friends, my cousins and we now chat almost every day, thanks to technology. We send inspiring messages and we tell each other “I love you” more often. Mami once again is doing what she did best and that is keeping us connected and faithful. I hope that the following chapters will help anyone to forge great relationships with their mother, daughter and/or friend. Relationships that will last a lifetime and be etched in your souls forever or maybe inspire you to write a book. I have to agree that writing this book has been therapeutic for me and helped me heal from my loss. Life is a gift from God and the way Mami lived life was a gift to anyone that came in contact with her on her journey on earth. For those that did not meet Mami personally, this is my gift to you. #MAMI has done it again.
Angie Ford - Stone Mountain, Georgia