I am writing this multi-part piece to tell more of my mother’s story and also to highlight her struggle in that of many women in her position. I want people to see how hard my mother has struggled in life, through her resilience, see how inspirational her story can be. She has done everything in her life without ever relying on others for support.
My mother was born in Chihuahua, Mexico in 1948 and has 2 sisters and a brother. Her father died early in her life after a freak lightning storm killed him and his brother. Her mother was left to raise the family through a successful restaurant business. As luck would have it her mother lost the business after financial issues surfaced and she barely made ends meet throughout most of my mother’s childhood.
My mother moved to Chicago, IL in the mid 70s and looked to make a new life for herself. She sought to make a life free from having to worry about the next meal and knew the United States could provide that for her. She supported herself through her own hard work and determination. Her sisters remained in Mexico and her brother disappeared sometime in the early 70s after an argument with her mother.
In the late 70s an event transpired that would affect her forever—she was the victim of a very violent crime. This incident caused her to break several vertebrae in her spine, bones in her skull, and other serious injuries. She barely survived the ordeal and was only saved when she convinced her attacker that she would die without medical support. He brought her to the hospital under the condition that she not report his crime but she did so anyway, which led to his arrest.
She was hospitalized for months and still remembers how her story brought strangers to visit her in the hospital. Their compassion for a stranger helped her through the all the pain and suffering. Unfortunately, due to her not having a legal status in the United States, she was never provided the care she needed.
The individual who attacked her received 30 years in prison for his crime. Since he was an illegal alien he also received an order of deportation. Unfortunately his family reported my mother to the INS and, because protections were not in place for victims of crime, she was removed from the country.
Although injured and traumatized she made it back to Chicago and attempted to rebuild her life. She was never the same after this incident and would always suffer from back pain to the point of immobility. Most people in her situation would have given up, but my mother was able to overcome and continue trying to make a life in the U.S.